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Citizen Leadership and Community Resilience

The Menzies Foundation aspires to raise the profile of ‘outstanding’ leadership for Australia by encouraging Australians to reflect on leadership, build their own leadership capability and take leadership roles in the community. In order to do this the Foundation identifies key Australian leadership challenges and builds leadership development platforms to build capability in these focus areas.

To support this important initiative, Menzies Foundation is delighted to announce a partnership with Collaboration for Impact: Understanding and supporting the role of citizen leadership in building community resilience in bushfire and now, coronavirus affected communities.

We have seen most government and other funding goes to mitigation, prevention and then recovery, but there are crisis that we can’t prevent, like bush fires and the coronavirus. Menzies Foundation is responding to this challenge by working with Collaboration for Impact to review and synthesize existing research on citizen leadership, work with bush fire and coronavirus affected communities to understand the impact of citizen leadership on community resilience and then developing a set of guidelines and implementation plans for empowering citizen leadership and enhancing community resilience to crisis and disaster. The initiative will develop a repository of resources to support citizen leaders and their communities more broadly.

As part of this important work, the Foundation have had the opportunity to sit down in a 1:1 interview with Mark Crosweller, former First Assistant Secretary for the National Resilience Taskforce and Director-General of Emergency Management Australia. Mark discusses what should guide our response to crisis and disaster and makes a strong case for the importance of identifying and supporting community leaders. Currently, ‘value’ is more often determined in institutional (systems, services, agencies) contexts – with a particular focus on life, property and the environment. Protecting life is unassailable but Mark argues, that the social and cultural values that drive communities are crucially important in supporting communities to identify what needs to be prioritized, protected and restored. The challenge is that this is more often than not only apparent after the crisis – when it is too late. Identifying and supporting community leaders to capturing the narratives and stories of these communities is essential in building a more nuanced understanding of ‘value’ and what is required to build resilience in the face of adversity.

View podcasts here: Community in Crisis and Leadership in Crisis

More information to come. 


Menzies Leadership Bushfire Appeal

Menzies Foundation is committed to supporting local communities impacted by the devastating fires of 2019/2020. At the beginning of 2020, the Menzies Bushfire Leadership Appeal raised over $25,000, with this contribution being matched by a grant from the Foundation, which will support the Citizen Leadership & Community Resilience initiative.