Transformational Leadership
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Soon after leaving Dubai, the pilot spoke through the intercom saying, “We have left Dubai 50 minutes ago–and still we are flying!” That was good news. We arrived safely and felt secure the entire week. This is what happened in short:


This was the third and final conference for the class of 2007. The atmosphere was very receptive, friendships went deeper, and our team of teachers meaningfully connected with the Afghan leaders.


Our translator, Nazif, led the “Survival Project” as the exercise of the “Creative Problem Solving” seminar I taught.


The class designed a permanent leadership insititute for Afghanistan as their final project. They called it “New Leadership, New Afghanistan.”


The conference ended with a graduation ceremony and a banquet. Participants brought friends, family members, work associates and bosses. One participant relayed a comment from his sister-in-law. She said, “These Americans are unselfish. Afghans need to be more like them. We do everything for ourselves.”


We also conducted an Advanced Leadership class based on the book, “Death by Meeting.” Not knowing how that would translate into Dari, we called it, “Leading Effective Meetings.”

I want to close with a special thanks to the very generous partners who make equipping leaders in developing nations possible. I am grateful for the privilege of connecting with these leaders. One of the news stories that continues to be under-reported is how warm and relational the average Afghan is.


One of the early goals in the establishment of the GHNI Leadership Institute was equipping business and government leaders in Iraq. This could become a reality as we partner with friends who are able to assist in business development.

Kurdish Family

As business development possibilities are being pursued, we are keeping our timetable on hold. Leadership training could begin as soon as next summer.



I left Africa to join the Leadership Afghanistan team in Kabul. We were there for several reasons: conducting the 2nd Leadership Conference for the Class of 2007, the third meeting of Advanced Leadership for 2007, and inaugurating training for business leaders.

Instead of giving a detailed account of the week, I want to hit the high points:

1. Teaching: I can’t say enough about the quality of teaching (I’m not commenting on my times at the podium). I was personally impacted by all the instructors.

2. Security: The #1 question asked most, “Were you safe?” The answer is “Yes!” We were careful, but we were in no way restricted from doing what we went there to do. It is not as bad as reported. I talked to a lady from Mombassa on the flight from Nairobi to Dubai who was convinced that America is too dangerous for her to visit. Believing the news made it impossible to convince her otherwise.

I sat next to an Afghan as I left my first leadership conference in 2005. When he found out what we were doing, he said, “Please don’t stop coming to Afghanistan. We need you!” That need and desire is still there. Please don’t let fear keep your compassion from being expressed if you are considering a humanitarian trip.

3. Relationships: The highlight of this visit was the depth of relationships and personal conversations we experienced. We heard unbelievable stories of survival, bravery, loss, changed-life, near-death experiences, and protection as we listened to the history and hearts of these wonderful people. The Afghans hold to a Persian proverb that says: “The first time we meet we are friends. The second time we meet we are brothers.” Since everyone on the team had been multiple times, we experienced deep appreciation in the connections that were made.
I’ll limit the rest to these comments:

The best relationship building activity is food–relationships were built at an Iranian Restaurant, the Intercontinental Hotel, an Indian Restaurant in a Mall, The Serena Hotel, home-cooking with friends (twice), steak and shrimp on the base, Pizza delivery with a box labeled “Probably the Best Pizza in the Whole World in Kabul”, peach cobbler at a friend’s home, and the guesthouse food was wonderful.

I can’t say enough about how much I love these people, how much I enjoy what I am doing, and how I feel at home in Kabul and I miss it when I’m away.

And to the many friends who live in Afghanistan–they are my heroes.


I arrived in Addis Ababa, Saturday, August 25.

Saturday: I was whisked off to a leadership banquet for government leaders my first night.

Sunday: We traveled several hours to Walisoo, a nearby town.
• On the way, I saw my first car/donkey accident. I wonder if they do chalk outlines for donkeys?
• Homes were mud & stick walls with either thatch or tin roofs.
• I can’t describe the poverty I saw—one room shacks with dirt floors, roofs with holes, no bathroom or outhouses (no facilities whatsoever), and it seemed like thousands were living in this area. In one home lived a widowed grandmother who lost her three adult children to AIDS. Water was lying in puddles on the floor, where she slept. The devastation of AIDS to this continent is unimaginable.
• The children were beautiful

• Monday morning: I had the opportunity to talk with new friends about equipping government leaders.
• Monday afternoon—Wednesday: I focused on Leadership Ethiopia. Where do you start in a country you have never been before? Imagine flying to Washington D.C. with the purpose of bringing lasting change to America through equipping government leaders (sounds like a good idea). Where would you begin? More to come . . .

Thursday: Traveled to Nairobi, Kenya

Friday: We traveled to Masai Mara National Wildlife Reserve in the Rift Valley. “Amazing!” is all I can say.

Saturday: After seeing Masai Mara once more, we returned to Nairobi. In our guesthouse, I ran into an attorney from Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) who volunteered his services in helping GHN become recognized in Ethiopia and connecting with leaders. The vision of Leadership Ethiopia is taking baby-steps toward becoming a reality.