By Mark Schulman, Editor, World Economic Forum USA

Dean Gilbert Probst and Klaus Schwab at the Fellows Graduation in June 2011 Even if you have a Masters, PhD or MBA, it’s never too late to go back to school.

This week, 40 Global Leadership Fellows from the World Economic Forum return to Columbia University in New York for an action-packed week of classes and training activities – from assessing a reconstruction project in Haiti to a lecture on sustainable development with leading economist and UN special advisor Jeffrey Sachs, and from mastering climate forecasting tools to taking the stage in a number of arts and theatre workshops.

“Singing, dancing, acting? At first glance, the programme at the School of Arts sounds like a very unconventional form of leadership development for a group of Fellows who typically are drafting reports, managing partnerships developing strategies,” says Jodie Roussell, head of Energy Utilities and Technology on the Forum’s Energy Industries Team, and a 2010 Global Leadership Fellow. “The multidisciplinary programme is a tremendous learning opportunity. It gives us a new window beyond power-point presentations, speeches and reports to extract and communicate key messages. Honing our abilities in public speaking, voice and body control are key communication skills we need to master to lead with passion.”

Last summer, 60 Global Leadership Fellow came to Columbia and worked closely with famous voice teacher Kristin Linklater (see last year’s video Taking the Stage: World Economic Forum) and others. Thus began the goal of integrating arts training and content into the Global Leadership Fellows programme. This year Fellows will also spend time with Columbia faculty from the Earth Institute and School of Continuing Education.

"The Global Leadership Fellows have a unique opportunity to learn about and reflect on individual and collective accountability, challenging conventional thinking and policy reasoning,” stressed Gilbert Probst, managing director and the dean of the Forum’s Global Leadership Fellows Programme. “The interaction with researchers and artists not only allows for deep dives into topics important to the World Economic Forum but also strengthens relationships and collaboration.”

Most importantly, Probst adds, is that these leaders of tomorrow learn to communicate, use their voice, present their ideas and act respectively.

For more information on the World Economic Forum Global Leadership Fellows Training at Columbia University, visit: http://www.earth.columbia.edu/articles/view/2818