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									Donella Meadows Leadership Fellows Program
Now accepting applications for 2009-2010
Sustainability Institute is now accepting applications for the 2009-2010 Donella Meadows Fellowship ( Overview The Donella Meadows Fellowship was launched in 2002 to honor and build on the life example of Dr. Donella Meadows ( Donella’s life and work expressed a dedication to scientific rigor, a deeply grounded optimism, and the ability to communicate clearly and compassionately. Her systems approach enabled her to see the root causes of seemingly intractable problems — poverty, war, environmental degradation — and her deep affection for people and the Earth gave her a unique power to reach others. Our communities, our state, our country and our world need more people with this combination of skills. Supporting such people and enhancing their effectiveness, reach, and mutual connectivity is the mission of the Fellows Program. The 2009-2010 class is the fourth class of Fellows. The Donella Meadows Fellowship helps leaders: • understand, and help others understand, the interconnectedness of complex global (and local) challenges through systems thinking and systems analysis skills, • contribute to the creation of healthier systems by working in collaboration with others at points of high leverage, • build the capacity to use tension as a generative force for positive action in diverse settings, communities and collaborations, • articulate a vision of the world they want to see, • imbue their work with attention to spirit, values and purpose, and • approach their work as learning process, with inevitable missteps and set-backs a natural part of the process of exploring new ground. The 2009 – 2010 Donella Meadows Fellowship Focus We live at a moment in time when human species is grappling with the limits of the Earth’s capacity to support human societies. The damage to communities and nature created by the unsustainable industrial growth economy is more and more evident and the time left to transform that system is growing ever shorter. Our world is besieged by violence, poverty, hunger, and the destruction of nature. Together, we are living through the overshoot of global limits that Donella and her coauthors first wrote about in their 1972 book, Limits to Growth. Donella saw these limits as potential teachers for all of us. She spoke and wrote about the possibility that facing the physical limits of our planet could call forth our creativity and help us to recognize our connections to one another and to the Earth. An expanded awareness of our own ways of being and understanding the world increases our ability to see relationships and connection even within problematic situations and increases the likelihood we will see and be open to new possibilities. There are many signs that such a widening of the human identify is happening around the world as people experiment with new organizing

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principles, revive old wisdom traditions, and come together to learn and act. In coming together it is inevitable that the inherent differences in how people understand themselves, the world and our situation within it can produce tension that often leaves individuals and groups locked in confrontation, stalemate and conflict. We believe that this tension can be tapped as a force for systemic transformation and that sustainable relationships can be built through this process. We have designed the 2009 – 2010 Fellowship with the complexity of our current moment – both its serious challenges and unprecedented opportunities – in mind. Our goal is to support a diverse group of leaders who are helping to create societal and economic forms that will help us find balance with the Earth and each other. The Donella Meadows Fellowship offers leaders a chance to come to know themselves differently through relationship with each other during this time of change. Fellows learn and practice skills in systems thinking, reflective conversation, vision, and working with tension as a generative force for positive action. Fellowship staff share skills and offer coaching and support as Fellows apply their learning in their own work and in collaboration with one another. Staff is also committed to creating a group culture that emphasizes learning from the skills and life experiences of everyone in the group, Fellows and staff alike. One important learning ground for the 2009-2010 Donella Meadows Fellowship will be the challenge and opportunity of our response to climate change. How do we want our world to be, after the end of the age of fossil fuels? How can the change and upheaval that are resulting both from rising energy costs and the pressures of climate change be worked with to bring forth healthier, more sustainable, more life-affirming communities around the world? One of our main tools in approaching these questions will involve the use of a system dynamics computer simulation of energy and climate change developed by the Sustainability Institute in partnership with MIT and Ventana Systems. The simulation tool will provide a learning laboratory for exploring the principles of complex systems and will help set the context for a shared exploration of the characteristics of those responses to climate change that have the potential to give rise to healthier natural, economic and social systems. Our work together will strive for innovation, for finding news ways of seeing, thinking, being and working. Innovation theory suggests that seeds of innovation lie in our ability to see as many parts of the system as possible. This involves embracing our differences and paying attention to voices that traditionally have not been part of the discourse around an issue. Guided by this understanding, we will choose Fellows from a range of disciplines, sectors, cultures and geographies to increase the chances that, together we will have a broad enough experience of the challenges and opportunities facing us to see new ways forward. To facilitate our ability to see, understand and change the systems we are embedded within, we will create a learning environment that welcomes and encourages diverse and divergent perspectives. Throughout the program, Donella Meadows Fellows will apply and test their emerging understanding of the landscape of responses to climate change in their own work and encouraged to develop collaborative projects with each other. Fellows will use approaches that combine rigorous analysis with skills that are critical for leading change in systems with diverse goals and stakeholders, such as visioning, inquiry, and personal reflection. Personalized coaching will focus on Fellows' on-going application of the newly acquired tools to their own work. We design each workshop to respond to the current work of the Fellows, to needs that emerge during coaching, to new insights from coaches, and to callings of the world. Fellowship staff actively seeks our
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own continued leadership development and count among our primary teachers Donella Meadows, Peter Senge, Joanna Macy, John Sterman, Robert Gass, Rockwood Institute, Myrna Lewis, Sera Thompson, Otto Scharmer, Tony LookingElk and past Fellows. Selection Guidelines Twenty influential mid-career environmental and social leaders will be chosen as Fellows and participate in a series of four workshops and personal coaching. We consciously select participants from a diversity of sectors, cultures and geographies to provide a broad spectrum of approaches and perspectives and to develop a dynamic network that crosses sectors and national boundaries. About two-thirds of the class will be women in order to enhance the number and effectiveness of women sustainability leaders. Criteria for selecting Fellows include a deep desire to shift the world to global sustainability, aptitude to learn and apply systems thinking, the ability to apply learning organization methodology to one's work and home institutions, a commitment to personal reflection and growth, demonstrated leadership ability, interest in exploring and working across differences of race, culture, and perspective, and the potential to influence thinking in wide circles of people.

Applicants should be active practitioners in their field; applicants who are primarily students, teachers or researchers will likely not be accepted. This is not a train-the-trainer program; it is designed to give hands-on sustainability leaders tools to be more effective. Logistics Four 4-day workshops will be held at the Cobb Hill Cohousing community ( that Donella co-founded in Hartland, Vermont.
1st Workshop: April 26-30, 2009 2nd Workshop: July 12-16, 2009 3rd Workshop: October 4-8, 2009 4th Workshop: February 7-11, 2010 Attendance at all four workshops, participation in periodic coaching telephone conferences, and completion of exercises between workshops is mandatory. Please do not apply if you cannot make all four workshops. Travel expenses, plus sliding scale of $200 - $800 per 4-day workshop to cover meals, lodging, venue and materials. Scholarships are available. Sustainability Institute provides all workshop coordination, design, curriculum and delivery. Financial support for the 2009-2010 class of Fellows so far is from the Morgan Family Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Flora Family Foundation, Anichini Company, Vermont Community Foundation, Alces Foundation, Weasel Fund, Wilcox Family Fund and many individuals. Application deadline is December 31, 2008. The application process is below. For program description see: See reports of previous workshops at: See testimonials from previous Fellows at: For bios of previous Fellows see: For bios of Donella Meadows Fellowship staff see:

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Application Process Application deadline is December 31, 2008. The application questions are below. Your responses must be submitted online. Please click here to fill out the contact form and upload your response document.
Application questions for the 2009-2010 Donella Meadows Leadership Fellowship Name: 1. How did you hear about the Donella Meadows Fellowship? 2. Briefly describe your current work and work history. How long have you been at your current position? 3. Briefly describe other teams, or web of relationships, you work with and learn from? (networks, volunteer organizations, professional associations, etc.) 4. What analytical tools have you found to be most useful in your work, and why? 5. What intuitive, emotional or reflective approaches have you found to be most useful, and why? 6. What is your willingness to explore and better understand how your own life experience influences how you listen, talk, and think? 7. Please describe (no more than 500 words please) your reasons for wanting to be selected for the 20092010 class of Donella Meadows Leadership Fellows. Include what you want to get out of the Fellowship, what you have to offer to it, and how you will apply what you learn. 8. Please describe a recent example from your work where you didn't have the outcome you hoped for or expected. This could be as simple as a frustrating interchange with a colleague -- in other words it doesn't have to be an analysis of a year-long intensive project. Please describe the example and share some of what you learned or concluded from it. 9. Briefly describe what, in your wildest dreams, you would really like to accomplish in the next 10 years. 10. Anything else we should consider in reviewing your application? Questions? Contact Nancy Gabriel at

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