This Tuesday, I was lucky enough to attend the launch of a very special book by Lindsay Levin, Honorary Board Member, and former Chair of both OneVoice Europe and the movement’s International Steering Committee.
Lindsay is one of the most important figures in the growth and vitality of OneVoice Europe, and has facilitated countless discussions between Israelis, Palestinians and internationals, often at times when the conflict in the Middle East has taken some of its darker turns, and help is needed to forge consensus.
Lindsay is also the founder and managing partner of Leaders’ Quest, a social enterprise that brings together a diverse global community of 6,000 leaders – from CEOs of multinational companies to grassroots activists working in some of the poorest communities on the planet. All of them share a commitment to using their unique influence to create positive change.
In her book, Invisible Giants: changing the world one step at a time, Lindsay tells the stories of some extraordinary people who, whatever their background and status, are stepping up to overcome obstacles and change the world around them.
One such leader in the book is Abdullah Hamarsheh, OneVoice Palestine’s Youth Leadership Director and a central figure within the movement’s history, having trained, inspired and recruited thousands of young Palestinians.
In a powerful chapter about Lindsay’s work with OneVoice in the Middle East, Abdullah speaks about his own experience of finding his voice as a leader. He quit his job in an Israeli settlement as a young man —taking a massive pay cut—and sought instead to help build a Palestinian state, eventually finding himself working amidst the PA leadership.
In the book, Abdullah tells how he “learned how hard it is for a leader to take a decision that people don’t like, and yet which he knows to be the right choice. I learned that being responsible is more important than emotion. That sometimes the street might not approve, yet you must still take the right decision.”
On Tuesday evening, at the launch event for Invisible Giants, Lindsay asked an important question: “how much is enough?” Working for an organisation like OneVoice can sometimes make you feel like you’re at the bottom of a very big mountain—in our case, the resolution of a seemingly intractable conflict— and the inclination can sometimes be to race ahead as fast and hard as one can toward the top.
That approach will leave most mortals exhausted, demoralised, defeated, and alone. Lindsay’s book is full of sage advice and lessons drawn from unlikely leaders around the world who have climbed some enormous mountains, one step at a time. They’ve done so by realising what their role and personal capacity is, and understanding how they fit into a bigger, broader story of change.
They’re people like Anwari Khan, who lives with her children next to one of the biggest rubbish dumps in Asia. A self-taught leader who never learned to read or write, she now heads a network of hundreds of women, and runs training courses for the police on responding to domestic violence.
“That’s why I wrote this book,” says Lindsay, “to explore some of the tough questions and choices that affect us all. It’s a story about seeing the world through new eyes, and understanding how we’re all part of something much bigger than ourselves.”
- WATCH Lindsay talk about Invisible Giants.
- Buy the book here (all profits go to the Leaders’ Quest Foundation).
- John Lyndon, executive director of OneVoice Europe