2017 marks the Eleventh Annual Burning Man Global Leadership Conference (GLC), a gathering of Regional Contacts, community leaders, and Burning Man staff. The GLC is Burning Man’s flagship educational event, bringing together community leaders from across the Network for four playful, celebratory days of skill-sharing, knowledge exchange, and relationship building to promote leadership and community development around the world.

This is a big year for the Global Leadership Conference, which is being co-created during a pivotal moment of change in the world. Participants will be gathering to discuss what it means to be an engaged citizen in our global community, an agent of awesome putting Burner values in action, and creator of meaningful opportunities for civic responsibility.

The GLC originated in 2007, in the former Burning Man headquarters at San Francisco’s 16th & 3rd Streets. Initially named the Regional Leadership Summit, the conference hosted approximately 80 people who participated from around the world. Workshops were mainly led by Burning Man staff, while attendees and staffers alike forged connections. As that first Summit unfolded, participants witnessed the positive knowledge sharing and deepening of relationships that occurred, and organizers knew they’d continue to convene annually. The event size has increased with each subsequent year with attendance broadening beyond Regional Contacts to include event producers, community organizers, and other movers and shakers who have influenced their regions with their ideas, input, and actions.

Recognizing the desire for more co-learning and networking opportunities, Burning Man took the show on the road and convened the first gathering of European Regional Contacts and community leaders in Berlin, Germany four years ago. 2017 marks the Fourth Annual Burning Man European Leadership Summit, which will take place this March in Stockholm, Sweden. This year also marks the fourth year leaders in Southeastern United States have convened for the Southeastern Leadership Roundtable, which took place last January in Richmond, Virginia.

Volunteer Burning Man Regional Contacts and community leaders have become experts in their own spheres of influence while their roles have grown more sophisticated in response to their local communities’ growth. To meet these emerging leadership needs, GLC workshops have evolved to include not only skill-based knowledge but also higher level learning, including creating business entities, developing art grant processes, and relevant symposia from inspired organizations such as Burners Without Borders. Offering tremendous benefit to Regional Contacts and affiliated global leaders, the workshops now provide more peer-to-peer sharing opportunities. Here, groups present their projects and event experiences, and highlight their successes and challenges so that others may build on those ideas and grow to the next level in their own communities.

Our intention for the GLC is to bring community leaders together from around the globe to engage on the topics most relevant to them, to share their impressive knowledge, and to connect with one another in a more intimate environment than they may find at their regional events or on the playa.