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A Shared Passion for Leadership: DENT Education & CAL

According to statistics, knowledge available to mankind is doubling every 12 hours. This is a point in history when the entire body of data accessible for learning has reached unprecedented proportions. We are gaining more knowledge faster than we can even keep up with. How are traditional classrooms coping with this reality? It’s a challenge both for learning and for leadership. This is one of the reasons why organizations like the Center for Asia Leadership (CAL) and DENT Education, which both aim to empower individuals and organizations for meaningful leadership in the community, are finding more ways to collaborate.

According to CALI president Samuel Kim, both organizations help people “master the mindset and skills for effective leadership required of the times.” DENT’s goal is to “empower students to be makers and creative problem solvers.” Meanwhile, CALI’s mission is to drive “leadership change in Asia” through training and research. As Kim simply puts it, “we complement each other.”

CALI and DENT signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) on Sept. 14, 2018 in Baltimore in the U.S., with parties agreeing to “work together for the promotion of mutually beneficial activities that seek to enrich leadership and innovation training, program development, and opportunities to build competencies amongst young leaders.” Rajan Patel, who was one of CALI’s first teaching fellows in 2014, heads DENT. He is also the co-inventor of the Embrace incubator, “a product of empathy-driven design that has impacted and saved the lives of over 250,000 babies across the developing world.” In January 2017, he co-founded DENT with Jackie Bello, who was named “Outstanding Teacher of the Year” by Baltimore City Public Schools in her first year teaching.

Program design is a particularly rich area of teamwork for the two organizations since CALI and DENT specialize in different areas. DENT’s strong suit is design thinking and entrepreneurship, while CALI’s forte is leadership mindset and best practices.

An upcoming partnership will be CALI’s October and November programs which we will run a total of six programs throughout three cities in Malaysia and the Philippines. According to Kim, the Kuching, Malaysia program will be an especially significant milestone  because Patel and Kim, together with two other CAL fellows, will run CALI’s Signature Program for senior executives for the first time by co-teaching together.

Concretely, the MoA formalized four ways CALI and DENT can support each other’s work: talent exchange, program development, knowledge partnership, and promotion of the CALI Signature Program.

Notably, by next summer, in 2019, CALI expects to host 4 to 5 teaching assistants and interns from DENT. They will be serving with CALI for 1 to 2 months to help run its annual summer programs. “Their wealth of knowledge and experience will greatly add value to CAL’s summer programs bound to run in 4 to 6 countries in Asia, involving more than 1000 participants,” said Kim, who co-founded CALI with John Lim in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2014.

According to Kim, the two organizations’ shared passion is all too obvious: championing the common good through the  “power of education.” It’s this same passion that’s opening more avenues for these two movers to do more.

By Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz