"The test of this training is whether
we achieve peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo... If we don't,
Tony is going to be very upset."
- His Excellency Azarias Ruberwa, Secretary General (Prime Minister) of the R.C.D. (The ruling Government of Eastern DRC), referring to the training provided by Tony Lenart - Executive Chairman, Institute of Advanced Leadership (International).
Tony Lenart, Chairman-Institute of Advanced Leadership (International) awarding a certificate to
Azarias Ruberwa, General Secretary (Prime Minister) of the RCD at the completion of the training in Conflict Resolution, Reconciliation and Leadership
provided to their 178 most senior officials.
Two years ago, Tony Lenart was busy teaching many of the top executives from leading companies such as IBM, Cisco Systems, Oracle Systems, Commonwealth, State & Macquarie Banks, AMP, ATO, CUB, CSR, ICI, SVDP, RAAF, Virgin, Qantas, and many others. He earned a very high income, lived in comfort, and was greatly in demand for his skills in helping rich executives become richer.
However, these days you're more likely to find Tony living in a slum area, buying an egg for lunch from a street-seller who's shop recently melted in a volcano, or chatting with the leader of a rebel government. Things aren't quite so comfortable for him any more - but he says he's never felt more fulfilled in his life.
In the last two years he's set up his organisation: The Institute of Advanced Leadership, in Uganda and Rwanda, trained the top managers from over 100 Charities, as well as numerous Government Departments including those of Presidents and Prime Ministers, and also trained some of Africa's business leaders. Many people have told him that the training is transforming the way that organisations are managed in Africa. And some people have estimated that each of his trainings will result in over 10,000 lives being saved.
He believes this is probably an exaggeration, but he is hopeful that his last training might save hundreds of thousands of lives. Tony has just returned from training the entire government of Eastern Congo: 178 people including Ministers, Department Heads, Governors, Chiefs of the Army and Police - in fact everyone except those attending high level talks in Geneva, or visiting Heads of State in other African countries.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been plagued with corruption and wars for over 3 decades, and in the last few years over 2 million people have died in a war that has sometimes been described as Africa's World War 1. Of the groups fighting within the DRC, the two main groups are the Government of Joseph Kabila which controls some of Western DRC - and who are backed by Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia; and the Rebel RCD Government (Rally for Congolese Democracry) which controls most of Eastern DRC and which is backed by Rwanda. And there are also smaller groups fighting for or against these groups, and Uganda have supported another group know as MLC (Movement for the Liberation of Congo).
Tony's vision is to transform leadership throughout Africa in order to bring about the type of leadership that will end wars and bring prosperity to their countries. He believes that as wars and poverty are caused by the behaviours, attitudes, beliefs and approaches of its current leaders, then it must be possible to overcome these through teaching people to achieve what they want in a way that is better for themselves - and everyone else.
The Government asked Tony to train them in Conflict Resolution, Reconciliation and Leadership Skills, because they wanted to learn how best to bring about the end of the war, while also maximising their chances of achieving their own personal aims through the Inter-Congolese Dialogue - a type of Peace Talk which begins on Monday 25th February in Sun City, South Africa, and which is scheduled to last for 45 days.
Originally the training was scheduled for the 23rd January, to be held at the RCD's command centre in Goma. The RCD cabinet then requested Tony to come over on the 17th January but Tony was unable to come this early. This proved quite fortunate as the Nyiragongo volcano erupted on the 17th and melted many of Goma's training venues as well as destroying 70% of the town. As a result they had to postpone the training. But they were so keen to do the training that barely two weeks after the catastrophe they told all the senior members of the Government to make sure they could attend. The plan was to run two 3-day seminars for about 35 people each. But after the first half-day (Sat 2/2/02) they put out a large number of broadcasts over the radio and television saying that everyone who plays a senior role in the Government must attend - even if they need to fly in.
On Monday (4/2/02), armed guards at the entrance to the seminar were telling people that it was now full and they couldn't attend. But people argued back saying that they had travelled from far to attend and they wouldn't be turned away. So we ended up, not with 35 people, but with 178 people. And we ran the seminar for 5 days (plus the original half-day).
"Many of the participants weren't too sure whether peace would help them personally. And while they were experts on war, they wanted to learn more about making peace." said Tony. "We taught them how to see things from their adversary's viewpoint; how to be flexible; how to see the good in their opponent while being prepared to work with the worst. We taught them a variety of conflict resolution and mediation techniques. And I even developed some new models for them on how best to resolve conflict with people you don't trust at all. And we also looked at the tremendous opportunity that was opening up for them and their country; we looked at how they could contribute, and benefit themselves; and at what new skills, attitudes and approaches would be needed for a peace-time government.".
"They were also very keen to learn how to be better leaders so they could step into a new leadership role in a future Government of National Unity. So we taught them a number of leadership skills. And we've been invited back to do Advanced Leadership training for 2 weeks at the end of April."
It seems the participants appreciated the program. When they were asked to rate the program on how it compared to their expectations in terms of its usefulness, they gave it 363%. Another way to phrase this is that the participants said the course exceeded their expectations by 263% (on average) in terms of its usefulness in helping them to end the war, achieve reconciliation, and improve their leadership skills.
The Institute of Advanced Leadership's partner in America is World University (WorldUni.com). Knowing that over 42 of Goma's Universities, Colleges and Schools were destroyed in the volcano, World University will do their part, and as requested by the Prime Minister, are currently in the process of setting up a University and a number of branches across D.R.C.
Another interesting element is that all of the participants suggested that Tony also train their enemy: the Kinshasa Government headed by Joseph Kabila. They recognised that it takes at least 2 participants to have a dialogue - and they realised that the skills they had learnt would also help Kinshasa and them to find a solution that would meet both of their needs.
The training was covered by the BBC, French Media, and was aired on Goma Television for 30 minutes each day of the (5 day) seminar as well as regular reporting on the radio. Some comments made by participants to the media include the following:
"This training is a first. It will help enormously in the Peace Process."
"This will change the life of our population."
"Very Very Impressed. Very Very Happy.
The Conflict Resolution Techniques will help us end the conflict that
is taking so many lives."
- The Deputy Governor of Goma
"Excellent. Many many people will be changed."
"There are many extremists. But with the methods we've learnt we can create peace with them."
"Wonderful. I have advised the Government
that they must apply your advice, particularly on being
- Political Advisor to the RCD President. (And former Vice President of Mobutu's Party)
DRC Youths on scooters survey the devastion caused by the volcano.
Working One-on-One with the "Prime Minister" at his residence - on Lake Kivu.
Pictured are Azarias Ruberwa, General Secretary (Prime Minister) of the RCD; Tony Lenart, Chairman-Institute of Advanced Leadership (International) and Dr Kitembo - a senior Advisor who has held the posts of Minister of Agriculture and Development; Finance; and Social Affairs.
Seismograph showing the Volcano
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UPDATE re our International Chairman, Tony Lenart
© Copyright 2002, The Institute of Advanced Leadership (www.ioal.org). All rights reserved. Last updated 23 February 2002