4 March 2019, New York, USA - The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) New York Office, in collaboration with Columbia Law School hosted the first lecture of a four-part series with Columbia Law School on Leadership & Self-Awareness at the United Nations Headquarter. This popular bi-annual lecture series is sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations, as a part of the programme “Levelling the Playing Field to support the Least Developed Countries’ (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States’ (SIDS) Diplomats.”

UNITAR New York Head of Office Mr. Marco Suazo opened the session by welcoming the participants of the training session and introducing the presenters: Professor Alexandra Carter, Director of the Mediation Clinic, Columbia Law School; Professor Shawn Watts, Associate Director of the Mediation Clinic, Columbia Law School; and law students of Columbia Law School.


Upon welcoming diplomats and delegates to the interactive training, Professor Alexandra Carter and Professor Shawn Watts spoke on understanding the connection of leadership and self-awareness. The goals of this workshop were to discover the importance of self-awareness, how to give effective feedback, and how these are important for leadership. The workshop also discussed the four leadership archetypes and allowing the participants to figure out and understand their leadership styles. The presenters reminded the audience that regardless of one’s leadership styles, at the center is one’s well-being. The participations were then led on an exercise activity to highlight how to be mindful of different cultural values and dynamics and how this plays a crucial role in the negotiation process. The next exercise was on BARNGA that required the audience not to use verbal communication to get their point across.


After lunch, the topic became on cultural intelligence, the ability to adapt to people that are from different cultural regions based on three components, physical, emotional, and cognitive. The presenters reminded the audience that to adapt to different cultural norms, one needs to be internally and externally self-aware. The workshop also touched on the importance of positive feedback in the form of a “sandwich method”. The top layer being praise for strengths and areas of good performance, the middle being constructive criticism and then bottom layer praising and giving examples of where the person has adapted and modified the past successfully. This allows to not only motivate but also boost confidence and identity areas of improvement to create an overall environment of trust. Participants worked to foster a deepened conception of internal and external self-awareness, (see image for presentation example) with a focus on expanding an understanding of their personal values, passions, and aspirations, as well as how others see view them.


At the completion of the training, Professor Carter, and Professor Watts thanked delegates for attending, and remarked on the continued success of the Columbia Law School Lecture Series, with its next anticipated reiteration returning in the Spring. The overall workshop was highly interactive, and participants were highly engaged in asking questions and participating in small group activities.  UNITAR is looking forward to the second part of the series taking place in a week.

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