Training of Sustainability Leaders
Scaling up collaboration skills globally

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi
of sustainable development projects need collaboration to succeed

In 2015, the nations of the world agreed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17th Goal emphasizes the importance of partnerships for realizing the other 16 Goals. Working in collaboration across sectors, topics, and borders requires a set of capacities that most individuals and organizations simply don’t have yet. This begs the question: how will the 17th SDG be met by 2030?

The challenge presented by the SDGs is increasing collaboration capacity worldwide so that all change processes can be carried out in a peaceful, professional, efficient, and effective way that honours the intention of the global sustainable development movement. To meet this challenge, CLI is training Sustainability Leaders and building collaboration academies around the world. CLI’s vision is “A worldwide network of Collaboration Academies that scale up collective leadership capacity to empower individuals and organizations to achieve sustainability outcomes.”

A worldwide network of Collective Leadership Academies that scale up collective leadership capacity to empower teams to achieve sustainability outcomes.

CLI's Collective Leadership Academy vision
What is Training of Sustainability Leaders?

For the past decade, CLI has conceptualized and field-tested collaboration methodologies and tools with partners, developing high quality and engaging training curricula, materials, and publications. Through our growing network of partners, we seek to transfer these approaches and materials to skilled facilitators around the world and, through them, scale collaboration and impact for sustainability.

We understand collaboration to be the capacity to lead collectively across borders:

  • Collaboration among different sectors from the local to the global levels, such as implementation of the SDGs, the Paris Accord, and other international agreements
  • Collaboration among different identities, such as among different racial, ethnic, religious, age, sexual orientation, and political group
  • Collaboration across international borders, such as on the refugee crisis, transboundary watershed management, and transboundary fisheries management.

Therefore, Collective Leadership Institute developed a Training of Sustainability Leaders programme, which is offered to any individual, who would like to join the network of other Sustainability Leaders and partners.

In order to become a Sustainability Leader, individuals, teams or CLI course Alumni go through the accreditation process consisting of two levels (the graph below presents the training process).

After successfully completing the process and becoming accredited, the Sustainability Leaders can offer CLI-developed open and/or tailored courses to teams working on concrete sustainability challenges. Each Sustainability Leader can offer both of CLI’s foundation courses:

  • The Art of Stakeholder Collaboration
  • The Art of Leading Collectively

Sustainability Leaders  can be recognized as CLI Collaboration Academies and have their online profile and course offering on our website.

Level 1: Certified Collective Leadership Specialist

Within this phase trainees take part in three CLI foundation courses:

  • The Art of Stakeholder Collaboration course,
  • The Art of Leading Collectively course,
  • The Art of Dialogue course,

and learn the CLI methodologies: © Dialogic Change Model and © Collective Leadership Compass, as well as facilitation techniques.

At the end of phase 1 trainees become CLI Certified Collective Leadership Specialists. CLI Certified Collective Leadership Specialists are able to apply the above- mentioned methodologies successfully in practice. By completing our certification process, Collective Leadership Specialists have proven expertise in designing and invigorating multi-stakeholder initiatives that work to achieve outcomes across the Sustainable Development Goals at all levels.

Being a Collective Leadership Specialist is also a compulsory qualification to become an Accredited Collective Leadership Facilitator in phase 2 of the accreditation process.

Level 2: Accredited Collective Leadership Facilitator

In phase 2,  trainees co-facilitate at least one of CLI’s foundation courses. Trainees are also requested to do active course acquisition, and go through the full process of:

  • marketing the course,
  • conducting pre-course engagement with participants,
  • ensuring an appropriate venue,
  • checking off organizational details,
  • facilitating the course,
  • and following up with reporting and alumni engagement.

All above-mentioned activities will be supported by CLI during the whole process.

Within both levels 1 and 2, trainees are responsible for demonstrating to CLI faculty fluency with the collective leadership approach, aptitude for facilitation and coaching, and a capacity for personal reflection and growth. In order to become accredited, trainees must also embody values such as inclusivity, respect for diversity, professionalism, and a commitment to contributing to the sustainability movement. A full list of required knowledge and proficiencies is available upon request.

At the end of the level 2 trainees become CLI Accredited Collective Leadership Facilitators who can offer and facilitate not-for-profit CLI foundation courses. Sustainability Leaders may then begin facilitating CLI courses on their own.
Sustainability Leaders can be recognised as Collaboration Academies, it entails that the name of the organisation, Sustainablity Leaders profiles, and courses appear on our website.

What are the advantages of becoming accredited?

After completing the accreditation process, Sustainability Leaders are enriched with Collective Leadership methodologies, facilitation skills and are trained in personal reflection. They are allowed to use CLI methodology and guidance documents, facilitate not-for-profit CLI foundation courses and develop their non-competitive financial model. Furthermore, Sustainability Leaders and Alumni are invited to periodically contribute stories to the CLI website and/or the newsletter.

We believe that solutions to sustainability challenges cannot be found in isolation. Sustainability Leaders join the movement that brings about a paradigm shift to Collective Leadership by building capacity for SDG implementation.

The challenges we face in implementing the SDGs are complex, but not insurmountable, requiring a shift from a conventional to a collective leadership paradigm. The latter recognizes the importance of collective responsibility, collective intelligence, and collective action, all of which are core to our Collaboration Academies, below (see Shifting the Way We Co-Create, CLI, 2013).


We are in this together!

With over 3,000 Alumni from over 103 countries, who participated in our courses, the CLI network  is constantly expanding. We are currently in contact with trainers and organisations from several regions to set up new Collaboration Academies. These include – but are not limited to – the following countries:

  • India
  • Egypt
  • Switzerland
  • Ukraine
  • Cambodia

Apart from our network of people who work as Collective Leadership Facilitators,  we have trained several Collective Leadership Specialists (level 1 of the accreditation process) worldwide:

Place/Country/Region No. of Certified Collective Leadership Specialists
Ukraine 17
Tunisia 6
Germany 3
Switzerland 3
Egypt 3
Jordan 3
South Africa 2
Denmark 1
Senegal 1
Become a Collective Leadership Facilitator

If you or your organization is interested in gaining collective leadership facilitation skills and teach them to others, get in touch with us!

Contact us
Some of our Collective Leadership Specialists and Facilitators
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