We love sharing the story of how our paths first crossed, because it captures the power of intention. Our unique collaboration started when Annika first called Mathilda on the phone on a sunny 21 September 2016, which also happens to be the international day of peace.
Annika had long been preparing to expand her leadership development work into international realms and was in this regard also conducting her own studies of her leadership development to evaluate and improve her work and to better be able to teach it to others. She found herself wanting to collaborate with a researcher to have someone document the processes and effects of her work for the rest of the world.
Mathilda was three weeks away from defending her dissertation on international mediation at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research in Uppsala. She knew that she wanted to continue using her analytical skills to contribute to peacemaking more directly and effectively and that she would continue researching with a basis in her business rather than an academic career. But she had no idea how.
When Prime Minister Stefan Löfvén, in the UN General Assembly in September 2015, announced launching a new Swedish network of female mediators, Annika felt compelled to reach out to the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) that was coordinating the initiative. Before she knew it, she was invited for an interview for the mediation network. Though Annika was not chosen for the mediation network, as it ended up focusing on diplomats of the foreign ministry, she was after this invited to several events of FBA.
Fast forward again to 21 September 2016 when Annika participated in one of the FBA seminars on the prospects of peace in Syria. By this time, Annika was highly aware of how the leader’s convictions and their internal mental, emotional and physical communication interacted to accelerate or hinder the development of various systems, be it a family, a company or a society. She was therefore puzzled to find no others in the context of the seminar expressing a similar awareness. In a brief exchange after the talk with panelist Professor Isak Svensson––Mathilda’s then colleague––Annika asked about whether peace researchers were studying and teaching the details of leadership, emotional communication or projections? Isak responded that –”No, we don’t really do this in that way, but I think you should contact Mathilda Lingren.” He had a hunch that we would fit in our interests and expertise, and he was indeed very right.
Mathilda immediately realized that Annika consciously mastered and could explain aspects of peacemaking that none of the many international mediators that she had interviewed during her studies seemed as aware of. She felt this consciousness constituted an important missing piece for the progress of global peacemaking and that she, as if she was a biologist, had suddenly encountered a rare species that held the promise of solving some of life’s greater mysteries. Annika felt that Mathilda could be the researcher she had wished for as she was not only skilled in research methods and passionate about written and audiovisual documentation, but also deeply engaged in the understanding of peace––Annika’s main tool for catalyzing development. That she also shared the overarching goal of facilitating the peaceful development of the world with Annika only made a possible collaboration even more perfect.
Since that day we use our compatible skills, intentions, goals and characters as close colleagues and friends at Human Dignity A Center For Leadership AB.
Every day is a reminder of how we can accelerate our own and each others’ growth when we express and fulfill our unique selves together.