Senior public officials from the Western Balkans gained valuable insights from their French counterparts on effective leadership and cultivating forward-thinking approaches
Held in Paris, France on November 20-21, 2023, the workshop titled "Leading with Vision: Cultivating Foresightful Leadership" was meticulously co-designed in collaboration with the French Directorate General of Administration and Public Function (DGAFP) and the French Institute of Public Service (INSP). The event brought together senior public officials responsible for strategic planning (such as the Prime Minister's Office and General Secretariats), human resources management, and coordination of EU integration from the Western Balkans.
Over two days, participants engaged in learning and exchanging ideas on Leadership and Foresight as Key Differentiators, Integrating Foresight into Policy-Making, Harnessing Foresight for Positive Future-Shaping, and Effective Leadership's Focus on Both Immediate and Future Challenges.
During the first day at the French Directorate General of Administration and Public Function (DGAFP), Mathilde ICARD, Head of Service overseeing statutory synthesis, skills development, and data, provided insights into Strategic Foresight and policy-making within the French State Public Service. Additionally, Laurent BONTOUX from the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission discussed Strategic Foresight in the European Commission, and Vincent AUSSILLOUX from France Stratégie, a special advisor, presented France Stratégie's HR Foresight activities, particularly focusing on two projects: Jobs 2030 and environmental challenges.
On the second day, Maryvonne LE BRIGNONEN, the INSP Director, extended a warm welcome to the participants and delved deeper into leadership training practices. Alana BAKER, a Policy Analyst at OECD, provided an overview of leadership training practices across OECD countries. Ranka BARTULA MUŠIKIĆ, ReSPA Programme Manager, presented leadership training programs in the Western Balkans, while Diane ZOVIGHIAN, a Senior governance consultant for the World Bank and a Lecturer at Sciences Po, Paris, explored the question: "What kind of leader do we need?" Abel CARREIRA from Instituto Nacional da Administraçao (Portugal), a member of the INA board of directors, and Omri DAGAN, the Director of the Israeli School for Leadership, Governance, and Management at the Civil Service Commission, shared their insights and experiences on developing and strengthening leadership in Public Administration. Additionally, senior expert Jacques SKOWRON presented Leadership training practices in France.
Throughout interactive sessions, participants engaged with speakers, shared experiences, posed questions, and discussed various leadership and foresight-related topics. Foresight, as a discipline involving exploring, anticipating, and shaping the future, was emphasized for its role in building collective intelligence in a structured and systemic manner to anticipate developments.
With this Workshop, ReSPA aimed to empower senior officials to proactively lead, combining strategic foresight for envisioning the future and policy-making with effective leadership skills. This combination enables leaders to inspire and guide others toward shared goals, anticipate challenges and opportunities, and steer their teams or organizations towards long-term success despite changing circumstances.
During a Workshop side event, ReSPA Director Handjiska-Trendafilova and Stanislas GUERINI, the French Minister of Transformation and Public Service, officially signed a Declaration of Intent aimed at bolstering bilateral cooperation in the realm of public administration and civil service.
This declaration marks the initial and pivotal step toward future collaborative initiatives between ReSPA and the Ministry. It aims to foster deeper exchanges, facilitating the exchange of best practices, training and skill development within the public service domain. Moreover, it seeks to enhance mobility and exchange programs, drive innovation in human resources and the public sector, and encourage collaboration in public administration reform and innovation. Additionally, it intends to offer support for the transformation of the civil service in the Western Balkans, with a specific emphasis on digitalization, ecological transition, and motivating civil servants.
Minister Guerini reiterated France's commitment to supporting the Western Balkans in constructing robust institutions and empowered public services capable of addressing emerging crises and embracing the latest technological advancements.
At the margin of institutional visit and capacity building, the Governing Board members convened for the 59th GB Meeting at the Senior Official level, where they endorsed the ReSPA Report covering the period from 17 September to 31 October 2023, endorsed the indicative work program for 2024, and appointed an Independent Auditor to conduct an audit of the 2023 ReSPA Annual Financial Report and the ReSPA Core Budget Implementation Report.