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A World Class Leadership Development Programme
Designed in partnership with the De Baak Institute in The Netherlands, the programme used use a range of cutting-edge learning methodologies to enable participants to go on an inner journey as ambitious as the one we’ll be taking across the ice. Experienced facilitators guided a process of action planning for social impact, exploring personal values and leadership skills and making individual and collaborative commitments to creating change.
Before we assembled in Oslo on 10 May 2015, all participants had the opportunity to join an online meeting with an expert guest speaker and were given some homework to do in preparation for the expedition. After the expedition the journey continued from 27-29 May 2015 at the fourth annual Nexus Europe Youth Summit in London, where we shared stories of our adventure and continued to learn and be inspired by a wider group of our peers from around the world.
The Experience of a Lifetime
As the planet warms, we need cool solutions to the social and environmental challenges we face. Where better to find them than in one of our most challenging climates? On the isolated Arctic island of Svalbard we made our base camp in Longyearbyen and visited the Russian mining settlement of Barentsburg, plus other places of stunning beauty and fragility including vast ice caves. The evenings were spent in log cabins and around campfires, learning the art of storytelling. We were joined by a surprise inspirational speaker one night, and spent another night camped out on the ice. The Nexus Arctic Learning Journey aimed to take participants outside of their comfort zones, but safe in the hands of our expert expedition team leaders iQ Events. Consisting of ex-military Arctic explorers, iQ Events have worked with high-level clients around the world and had the serious job of keeping us safe from polar bears!
Time and Place
Svalbard is 2,042km north from Olso, about midway between continental Norway and the North Pole, and is the northernmost place in the world with a permanent population. Svalbard is a breeding ground for many seabirds and also features polar bears, reindeer, the Arctic fox and certain marine mammals. Historically it has been used as a place for fishing, hunting, whaling, coal mining and oil drilling and is now also home to fifteen environmental research centres as well as the Svalbard Global Seed Bank. We went at the perfect time of year and found sunny days in the cold snow, just as it started to melt. Furthermore, the risk from polar bears was minimal as they have plenty of food at this time of year (though armed professionals from iQ Events were on constant lookout).
Accommodation and Travel
We’ll stayed at the best hotels possible, except for one night when we camped out on the ice. We rode snowmobiles every day, except one day when we each assembled our own team of dogs to pull us across the ice – a guaranteed test of our leadership skills! All accommodation was provided, including use of tents and other equipment. Participants also received complete North Face kits. Participants were required to arrange their own flights to/from Oslo and had to pack minimal extra clothing.
Existing Nexus members did not have to apply to join the Nexus Arctic Learning Journey. If someone have never participated in a Nexus summit, they contacted us for a conversation to take their interest further. Participants must were aged under 40 years, proficient in English and physically fit.
We offered this inaugural journey at a discounted “at cost” rate of £5,800 GBP, which included all the kit and equipment participants we needed. After more than a year in development, the Nexus Arctic Learning Journey was both a unique leadership development programme and the most affordable way to enjoy this kind of Arctic experience.
Deadline for Applications
We had 20 places on the trip, half of which have been taken up in the week we announced the journey. Therefore, in the future, we encourage everyone to apply early to avoid disappointments.
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