Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Last week we held  our first Forum for Life Members. The Forum was a wonderful opportunity  to bring together a group of colleagues who had made a distinguished contribution to the work of ICP, representing areas as diverse as North America, Europe, India and Australia.

In my letter of invitation to the meeting I wrote: ‘As the current ICP President, I am very conscious that I am ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ and that the organisation still has so much to gain from our outstanding network of life members’. Our meeting demonstrated the truth of this statement,  as these long-standing colleagues joined members of Executive for a hugely valuable discussion about ICP’s work and plans for the future.

Several things struck me about the time we spent together. The first was how strongly the group endorsed the work of ICP and the areas that we are currently focusing upon. Our plans to hold an Emerging Leaders Conference seemed to strike a particular chord and everyone who joined was able to give examples of the way in which recruiting and retaining leaders had become an increasing problem within their jurisdiction. So often the problems and challenges that we face can seem specific and local to us, but our meeting was a further reminder that many of the leadership challenges in education are the same wherever we are in the world. As we have said repeatedly, we all have so much in common and so much to learn from one another.

Secondly, our discussion was a reminder of the way in which ICP is a global community. It was tremendous to see colleagues who had given so much to ICP once again. Of course we come together to discuss policy and ideas, but we also do gather because we enjoy one another’s company. Like many of us, I feel that the bonds  and friendships that I have formed with colleagues from across the world will remain with me for the rest of my life.

Perhaps most importantly of all, I was struck by the wisdom of the colleagues who joined us. We received fantastic advice about our plans both for 2023 and the coming years. I was particularly struck by the comment that was made as we closed the meeting ‘We are one family and need to remain connected and to look at things together – our future is not just about me and myself’ What a wonderful summary of why the work of ICP matters so much, wherever we are in the world.

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