Published December 23, 2018

Hosts of the First Summit in Bahrain Hope to Build Unity and Character

Bahrain is in a unique position as a platform for unity

Bahrain is a small island off the eastern part of Saudi Arabia. Christianity came to the island with the missionaries from the Reform Church who arrived on the shores in the late 1800s. They came to talk about Christ, but they quickly realized the people needed healthcare before they could hear the message of Christ. Since the missionaries’ motto was “to serve man to serve God,” they established a hospital, the first church and the first school there (still running to this day). They came to serve and heal mind, body and spirit.

They experience the compassion and the love of Christ through the services we provide, using very few words.

Today, Bahrain is quite unique in that it is one of the only countries in the Middle East where people can openly practice their faith. In fact, on this tiny island of Bahrain, there are approximately 86 churches of all denominations, including a Sikh temple and a Hindu temple. Unlike other countries in the region, the government of Bahrain has an open policy of tolerance to the freedom to worship.

We have about 120 different nationalities that come to our hospital. They experience the compassion and the love of Christ through the services we provide, using very few words. That’s how we witness to this part of the world.

How the GLS can help build unity

In the spring of 2019, we will host The Global Leadership Summit in Bahrain for the first time, inviting both believers and non-believers. I think the GLS, through its global outreach, gives voice and authenticity to what we are doing. The GLS is a medium through which this can be articulated under the umbrella of opening up the minds and hearts of people.

The GLS helps people understand that we are more similar than dis-similar.

The GLS can help bring people together in a big way. The whole concept of bringing GLS to Bahrain is to develop not just leadership within the Christian community, which is quite small, but impart general principles of leadership across the different religions represented.

Through the GLS, we can show people what leadership can do to open their minds to accept people of all diversities and faiths. This is so important in in this region, because in most parts of the Middle East, religion divides people. The GLS helps people understand that we are more similar than dis-similar.

The uniqueness of the GLS gets to the heart of leadership—it’s character, not just competency

The GLS has allowed me to grow personally. It is helping develop others who work in our organization as well. And it certainly helped me shape the future of the organization as a whole in my role as CEO.

The Summit addresses your emotional state as being as important as your cognitive states

I’ve attended a lot of leadership development and self-development courses all over the world, and what I find unique about the GLS is this: imagine the keys on a keyboard. Every key has a different note. Leadership has multiple layers and when you attend the GLS, each speaker touches one note of the keyboard.

Compassion, courage, giving, humility, vulnerability are all parts of leadership. You could go to a course and learn a lot about competencies and innovative disruption, but what I find unique about the GLS is it opens up all of the layers that are so key in today’s leadership. The Summit addresses your emotional state as being as important as your cognitive states, and your intelligence to shift your needle. Different speakers bring up different angles; when you use all the keys of the keyboard, your leadership becomes complete. It is beautiful!

The Summit speakers bring out our leadership capabilities, which are sometimes hidden. You become re-connected to your own inner leader that may lie buried in you.

The GLS has taught me compassion and giving. I remember listening to speakers and realizing that the higher you want to go in leadership, the more you have to give up. When you really want to get to the top, you sacrifice it all for the greater cause of what you are trying to lead. The GLS is a perfect medium that actively brings it out in me.

A leadership mistake

I think a lot of people mistake leadership as an event. But I find true happiness or satisfaction in day-to-day activities that happen and impact lives. I meet staff and patients in the corridors of my hospital and have conversations that could sometimes be life-transforming, both for them and for me. Leadership never has a finish line because you learn each and every day from each and every encounter.

True leadership is about facing challenges or obstacles as opportunities for us to step one level higher. It gives you the humility to say “I don’t know.” You give credit to your team members when you have a great moment or a success. That’s what leadership is all about. It’s not about you, it’s about others.

Going through storms

We are a mission hospital built on the love of Christ and serving humanity to serve God. If there is mission drift and I make the organization into anything other than that, just because it is my heart’s desire or it looks better in the eyes of man, then that becomes unsustainable. Sometimes a course correction can make the company or organization even better. If we are resilient and truly believe in the greater mission of an organization, then that will survive against every odd that comes up in its history.

It is my dream to make this available to more people, not just in Bahrain, but to the whole region of the Middle East.

I want to remind people that the GLS is not about a person or a group of people. As long as it is built on the foundation of Christ, it will survive. It is very simply the biblical narrative of either building on sand or building on rock. If it is an organization is built with Christ as the capstone, it will survive, regardless of the storms. The storms can make you resilient and give you a newer sense of direction and purpose.

Thank you for bringing the GLS to the Middle East

Dr George CheriyanThe Global Leadership Summit is a great opportunity for people all around the world to come together to understand what our differences are. It brings us together through our differences. It is the single best opportunity we have to help us share, give and learn together. It allows people from all over the world to host GLS. In the Middle East, this is a huge opportunity.

I would urge people who can to donate generously to make the GLS happen, even in parts of the world where the GLS might never reach without funding. It is my dream to make this available to more people, not just in Bahrain, but to the whole region of the Middle East. Thank you for helping to make this possible!

About the Author
Dr George Cheriyan

Dr. George Cheriyan

CEO

American Mission Hospital, Bahrain

Dr. George Cheriyan is the CEO of American Mission Hospital, a not-for-profit mission hospital in Bahrain, and the oldest hospital that exists in the Middle East. He trained in Pediatrics and Neonatology at the Hospitals for Sick Children in London and Toronto and worked as consultant neonatologist in the National Health Service in the UK before joining Saudi Aramco in 1991. In his 18 years at Aramco, he has held various positions including the head of neonatology and the chair of the Healthcare Quality council. He trained as an improvement adviser at The Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in Boston and received healthcare management training at the Harvard Business School before taking up his present appointment. George is also a part of the team bringing The Global Leadership Summit to Bahrain for the first time in the spring of 2019.

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