By Leah Lundquist
Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, has a passion for tigers. As soon as the topic was brought up in his presentation at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs recently, he became animated and even from where I sat in the back of the auditorium I could see his eyes light up.
It's great that a man with that much influence is taking action on a passion of his. But the really interesting aspect, and the piece that relates to our mission here at CIL, is that Mr. Zoellick isn't just writing a check to the World Wildlife Federation and calling it a day. He's using his passion for tigers as an impetus for the World Bank to reach out across boundaries, rallying multinational businesses, global NGOs, and many governments to form The Tiger Conservation Initiative.
Mr. Zoellick has crafted a career along the intersection of politics and the private sector. Navigating that line, he has developed some interesting insights about how people too narrowly focused in their own industrial or global niche can lose a sense of balance and responsibility (think financial crisis).
Now, as President of the World Bank, he is trying to modernize the World Bank to function effectively in a networked world. He asks questions like: How can the World Bank function effectively as a network? How can the World Bank draw in the UN, governments from around the world, the private and nonprofit sectors, and civil society to impact global development?
I find his example to be an inspiration. If an international organization dealing with development issues and global politics as messy as they come is attempting the hard work of integrative leadership, why aren't we all attempting it in our own local communities? What passions do we each have that can motivate us to engage in the hard work of reaching across boundaries for a solution?
Jackie Chan WildAid Public Service Announcement produced as a part of The Tiger Conservation Initiative: