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Friday, Jan. 14th

What does success mean to you? This question was brought to us from Patrick, one of two Canadians changing our mindset today. He is a great negotiator, teaching bankers, managers, and even the prosecutors in The Haag. He knows his business very well. This became obvious as everybody was at least questioning his personal definition of success in a context of interaction and litigation, when we were finished today. It is not about winning and losing, or positions. It is about interests, understanding one another, and maximizing the mutual outcome.

The other Canadian, Francois, was talking about global citizenry and challenges of tomorrow. He is a really funny guy and he challenged many of our daily absurdities. However, he did this in a very charismatic and self-depreciating way … probably the secret of his convincing character. Finally, he encouraged us to leave our personal comfort zone. We should go out and get to know the world. There is so much diversity and inspiration that we have to get in touch with. Otherwise we will be outperformed very likely.

Finally, we were reflecting the entire curriculum and shared our view on the learnings. Everybody admitted that his personal mindset got incredibly challenged and also questioned this week. Every single speaker was such a big inspiration and offered us great perspectives. Personally, I got the feeling that the biggest mistake we could do in our lives, would be to underestimate the impact we can have. Every life bears so much potential that we cannot just live in our personal micro cosmos. At the end of the day, I want to have the feeling that my live was not useless, but promoted relevant and positive change. According to my understanding this is what the YGL forum is about. The cool thing is that there seem to be more people out there who share this view, and even if every single life can make a change, together one can still achieve more.


Thursday, Jan. 13th

Have you every had the feeling that you are facing an invincible enemy? The feeling of being helpless? Sure you had, almost everybody had. But when you listen top Orzala or Christian, two extraordinary YGLs, you will get the impression that out there, there is no challenge that cannot be handled. Orzala is fighting the unrighteousness that several people bring to her home country … Afghanistan. She is fighting in particular for education, female education mostly. According to the current situation in Afghanistan, this is a very dangerous task but she seems absolutely fearless, and if you get to know her, you get to know why that is: She believes in her cause. This reminded me to a quote, I read once: Bravery is not the absence of fear, but the understanding that something else is even more important. This statement is absolutely true for Orzala, a truly extraordinary woman.

The second story that incredibly impressed me today, was told by Christian Wenk. He had a promising future, studying medicine, successful at sports and very talented at the piano. Then he had to face a horrible accident that changed his life completely. Ever since, he is sitting in a wheel chair. However, this guy is absolutely crazy and he is sending so much vitality. First, he finished his studies and became a doctor, even though people were doubting his ability. He proved them wrong. Moreover, he kept playing piano and even did a great charity event in order to fundraise a school in Afghanistan, a collaborative project together with Orzala. This guy is quite a good role for what it means never to give up … ever!


Wednesday, Jan. 12th

The title of the first YGL curriculum is “Lifelines” and I think they could not have found a better title for this event. Today we had the chance to listen Dr. Immanuel Hermreck and Caroline Müller-Möhl. Hermreck is a really charismatic guy and Head of HR at Bertelsmann. His story was quite interesting as he reflected his personal lifeline with all his ups and downs. I think everybody felt kind of inspired by this guy. Carolina Müller-Möhl is the president of the Müller-Möhl Group and as such, a really good example for all the girls in the room as she is a strong woman, heading a big multinational company and at the same time having the role of a mother and a loving wife. Her topic was education, and even if was always aware of the importance and also the flaws of education, this was still quite interesting and gave me some new perspectives.

Afterwards we had a big feedback session with Immanuel, Carolina, Prof. Jahns and our Prof. for Philosophy, Richard Raatzsch. Although we are all very happy with the curriculum, I think, we had some great ideas to further improve the concept, topic and format wise, for the upcoming years. We emphasized that one thing we do really like about the curriculum, is the discussions and the get-together with all the other participants. There should be more of it next year!


Tuesday, Jan. 11th

Today we started a little earlier than yesterday, but it was worth it. Henrik Naujoks, a really cool guy from Bain & Company, told us about his way of engaging and giving back to society. He realized once, that most social organizations have wonderful and creative heads with many ideas, a lot of energy and the categorical will to improve our world. However, oftentimes they are lacking business skills to make their businesses really successful, growing and exploiting the full potential of their core business model. That is where he comes into play: He and other "Bainies", how he calls them, are doing several pro bono projects to help those people becoming really, really good in what they are doing. He says, he feels an inner obligation to do so, and to give back to society. On the other hand he sense it enriching.

Afterwards we could listen to Yair Goldfinger, and Dennis Karpes, both of them also very successful in what they were doing. Yair was co-founder of ICQ and Dennis was working as marketing director for Levi's. Today, both of them are using their skills to promote social change and, in Dennis case, fighting against HIV/AIDS with his marvelous project Dance 4 Life.

All of them were really good examples for totally different ways of engaging and getting involved. The important thing is impact, it's the only thing that counts ... and it is amazing with how little effort one can achieve great things. I am looking for tomorrow but it will be quite hard to outperform these guys!


Monday, Jan. 10th

Prof. Christopher Jahns, today, opened the 1st YGL Curriculum. He told us about the World Economic Forum and the Young Global Leaders. Moreover he introduced all the promising keynote speakers for the next five days. I think it was a good choice to apply for the 1st YGL Curriculum, having the chance to meet all those astonishing people with their great ideas.

The first of them was Felicitas von Peter who came right after our president. Her topic was "New Philanthropy", a topic that was not quite new to the most of us, as Yunus has already emphasized it when he visited Wiesbaden and also when he came to EBS to open up the Chair of Social Business. But I think one cannot mention it often enough: Every dollar donated is gone, but every dollar invested into a social business generates new dollars that can be reinvested. This thought fascinated her so much, that she founded her own social business called "Active Philantrophy" to promote the idea of such businesses that are not depending on grants and charity but on sustainable business models. Moreover she was reporting about some really cool companies she is working with.

Altogether a great start, I am looking forward to get to know more YGLs!

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