23rd Annual Global Conference

20-25 October 2021

Onsite in Geneva, Switzerland & Live Online

About the Conference Design

Reimagining Leadership is a process best done Together. In a world characterized by a rapidly changing climate, shifts in populations, the consequences of pandemics, and exponential technological advances, we need the best thinking and practices from all disciplines, sectors, organization types, cultures, and corners of the world.

To reimagine leadership together, we are planning for an extended conference from 20-25 October 2021. The beginning of the conference will take place in Geneva, Switzerland and the end of the conference will take place online.

As the world builds back better in 2021, ILA is committed to leading the field in creating an impactful, inclusive conference. Coming off of the success of our 2020 live online, 100% virtual conference, we are eager to create:

  1. A memorable in-person component that emphasizes face-to-face networking, serendipitous connections, and an immersive experience as we share and learn from each other in the international city of Geneva, Switzerland.

  2. A meaningful and content-rich live, virtual component that emphasizes continued learning and conversation with those who attended in person and with those presenters and attendees who prefer to only participate virtually.

We don't know what the world will look like in eight months, but we're pleased that our conference blueprint provides the added benefit of giving us the flexibility to quickly shift to a 100% virtual event if necessitated by global health conditions. We will keep you informed throughout the year as we continue to refine our plans.

The past year has reshaped how we live, how we interact, and how we work in ways we are only beginning to understand and imagine.

We hope you'll submit your best work to Reimagining Leadership Together and we look forward to seeing you onsite in Geneva and online!

The deadline to submit is 28 February 2021.

About ILA

The ILA is the largest worldwide community committed to leadership scholarship, practice, development, and education. We accomplish our mission to advance leadership knowledge and practice for a better world by creating a trusted space for leadership learning and by providing trusted leadership resources. For over twenty years the ILA has convened extraordinary talent across sectors, cultures, disciplines, and generations.

Call for Proposals & Reviewers Now Open

Conference Theme
Reimagining Leadership Together

Together, how can we more fully unleash the abundant potential of people, including ourselves, to collaborate across today’s many multi-faceted opportunities and complex issues? How can leadership be a greater catalyst for societal and eco-systemic advancement? How can leadership create the conditions for more equitable relationships across divides, even across lines of conflict?

We are experiencing a fast-changing climate, shifts in populations and in geo-political power, the consequences of pandemics, and exponential technology advances. These factors combined are reshaping how we live, how we interact, and how we work at a rapid pace and in ways we are yet to even imagine. A global pandemic like the Corona virus has presented us with unprecedented leadership challenges and through it we are learning we can adapt, more than we imagined was possible.

At the same time, we face growing inequalities. Freedom from fear and indignity, having a voice or a seat at the table are still far from being a shared reality. Our interdependent societies, industries and economies continue to offer opportunities for advancement, while also exposing vulnerabilities to disruption. Tensions are increasing along many divides and competition for real and imagined resources is intense.

Within organisations, change management mindsets are giving way to concepts of continuous adaptation and resilience. In increasingly diverse workplaces, everyone has a lead role to build collective trust, leverage different points of view, elicit new insights, and create sustainable value.

What isn’t changing is that engaging in leadership requires caring and compassion, it requires leaning into our anxieties, developing a tolerance for uncertainty, and learning to accept, even cherish our vulnerabilities. It also requires a commitment to understanding and removing systemic barriers that remain too high for too many people. Cross-generational and cross-gender understanding will unlock entirely new ways to advance.

It is time to expand what leadership means and who can lead. Do we need to change our approach toward the burden of steering the destiny of an organisation or a nation? Perhaps advancement will depend on a greater adoption of leadership practices across society? That said, global alliances and initiatives, like the Sustainable Development Goals and the multilateral system were designed for exactly such purposes and are challenged with maintaining progress and relevance.

It is with this backdrop that we invite you to join us in Geneva, Switzerland to imagine better, together. Surrounded by the natural beauty of crystal-clear lake and snow-capped mountains, Geneva does not have sister relationships with other cities, instead declaring itself related to the entire world. It is the birthplace of the Geneva Conventions, the Red Cross and the InterParliamentary Union. The League of Nations was founded in Geneva and the United Nation’s second largest presence remains prominent. The city is home to the World Economic Forum and to CERN, the birthplace of the World Wide Web and the Hadron Collider. It’s a global finance, trading, and biotech hub. Geneva is one of 26 Swiss cantons that make up a nation of remarkable diversity, with four official languages and a direct form of democracy that has seemingly resisted contemporary populist influences.

To imagine is to form an image of something not present to the senses. This is a call to action that is ambitious, and it is ambiguous. We understand that. Yet the paths ahead have yet to be built. So, we invite you to reflect, think critically, think creatively…and take action by submitting a proposal. The Call for Proposals details and submission portal will open soon!

Together, let’s reimagine leadership for a safer, more just, and inclusive world.

Here are some questions to further stimulate your thinking and inspire you to respond to the call
for proposals when it opens  

  • Do our current ontologies and models of leadership reflect what we now know about people and societies? 
  • How can we better prepare people for, and support them in, positions of significant authority? 
  • Who is leading what as boundaries between technology and society continue to blur? 
  • Considering global developments since the design of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, what must be done to ensure their positive societal impacts are achieved? 
  • Whose voices are not being heard that need to be heard? 
  • Along with continuous learning, what might we need to consider unlearning?

Robert Michael Burnside

Senior Learning Advisor,
Nomadic Learning

Philipp Fluri

Visiting Professor,

Janis Bragan Balda

Senior Lecturer, International Business, Robert C. Vackar College of Business & Entrepreneurship,
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Shivani Wadhwa

Interim Executive Director Operations – Finance, ICT, People & Culture, WWF International

Irene Jucker

Senior Strategic Advisor and Programme Manager, Greenpeace

Katharina R. Vogeli 

President, CatImpact Sàrl - Catalysts for Impact, Lausanne, Switzerland

Peter Cunningham

Head of Leadership, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Co-director Geneva Leadership Alliance, Switzerland

Conference Chairs

Conference Co-Chair
Ambassador Christian Dussey

Director, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Switzerland

Conference Co-Chair
Amanda Ellis

Executive Director, Global Partnerships, ASU Global Futures Laboratory

Program Chair
Peter Cunningham

Head of Leadership, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Co-director Geneva Leadership Alliance, Switzerland

ILA is contracting with several hotels in Geneva for special ILA rates. Rates begin at 140CHF (including breakfast, service fees, and VAT).  Book your stay today! 

Thank You for Sponsoring!

Conference Partners

Supporter Sponsors

Builder Sponsors

Baret Leadership Consultancy 

Contact Bridget Chisholm at bchisholm@theILA.org or +1.202.470.4818 x103 to discuss your sponsorship, advertisement, or hosted reception today.

Join ILA's Mailing List

Receive conference news and more when you sign up today!


International Leadership Association

8601 Georgia Ave, Suite #1010

Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA


Questions about the CFP: Global2021CFP@theILA.org
General Questions: Global2021@theila.org