GBN in Conversation

Dancing at the Edge Book Cover

Global Business Network Members
Maureen O’Hara and Graham Leicester launch their new book


Dancing at the Edge: Competence, Culture and Organization in the 21st Century


In Conversation with GBN President Andrew Blau


Thursday, November 8, 2012
GBN/Monitor, 101 Market Street
San Francisco

Every society develops its own characteristic way of being—psychology, values, behavioral routines, social customs—that evolve to fit the circumstances of life in a particular place and time. In their new book Dancing at the Edge: Competence, Culture and Organization in the 21st Century, GBN network members Maureen O’Hara and Graham Leicester from International Futures Forum describe how the speed, scope, and pervasiveness of cultural change in the first decades of the twenty-first century are disrupting cultural givens and making immigrants, even refugees, of us all.

The book explores implications for individuals, cultures and for organizations, drawing on the four pillars of learning identified in Jacques Delors’ UNESCO report on 21st century education: learning to be, learning to know, learning to do, and learning to live together.

The authors examine the paradox that in “powerful times” we are tempted to lapse into forms of denial, including neurotic pursuit “competencies” that are ineffective in today’s world. They suggest that to thrive in these new times, individuals, organizations, and societies have to play a bigger game—to become what psychologist Carl Rogers called “persons of tomorrow,” displaying twenty-first century competencies in their ways of being, thinking, organizing, and acting.

Join this GBN conversation to find out how!

RSVP to Brenton Harman at or 415-932-5400.
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About Maureen O’Hara
Maureen O’Hara, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology, National University, USA; President Emerita, Saybrook University, San Francisco; and Director, International Futures Forum-US. She is a licensed psychotherapist in practice for over three decades and worked closely with Carl R. Rogers in La Jolla, California facilitating encounter groups, large group events, and training psychotherapists in many countries. Her recent work explores the present and potential future impacts of global cultural shifts on psychological development and emotional wellbeing. Books include Em Busca da Vida, with C.R. Rogers, J.K. Wood and A. Fonseca (Summus,1983); Ten Things To Do In A Conceptual Emergency, with G. Leicester (Triarchy, 2009); and the Handbook of Person-Centered Psychotherapy and Counselling with M. Cooper, P. Schmid and G. Wyatt (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).

About Graham Leicester

Graham Leicester is Director of International Futures Forum. IFF’s mission is to support a transformative response to the challenges of the times. Graham previously ran Scotland’s leading think tank, the Scottish Council Foundation, founded in 1997. From 1984-1995 he served as a diplomat in HM Diplomatic Service, specializing in China (he speaks Mandarin Chinese) and the EU. Between 1995 and 1997 he was senior research fellow with the Constitution Unit at University College London. He has also worked as a freelance professional cellist, including with the BBC Concert Orchestra. He has a strong interest in governance, innovation, and education, is a senior adviser to the British Council on those issues, and has previously worked with OECD, the World Bank Institute and other agencies on the themes of governance in a knowledge society and the governance of the long term.

GBN in Conversation is an informal, invitation-only series for senior Bay Area professionals whose roles require them to think broadly and deeply about long-term trends and uncertainties. Guests must RSVP in advance as space is limited; preference will be given to guest invited directly by GBN/Monitor. Please bring identification and arrive before 6pm to be escorted through security and upstairs.