Finding inspiration in the most unlikely places

21 August 2020


James Le Mesurier

The Conversation


As we reel in the aftermath of the recent explosions in Beirut, we’re thinking of the communities where tragedy has unfortunately become an everyday reality. At TPT 2015 in Lisbon, we heard from White Helmets founder James Le Mesurier about how an abundance of human potential, courage and hope can keep communities going even in the most challenging circumstances.

The White Helmets, officially known as the Syria Civil Defence, is a humanitarian organisation that operates in parts of opposition-controlled Syria and in Turkey. It is made up of volunteer rescue workers – former teachers, engineers, tailors and firefighters – who assist civilians injured in bombardment or trapped under the rubble of destroyed buildings.

James sadly passed away in 2019, but we are grateful to be able to share his thoughts with our community.


The theme of the 2015 programme was ‘Exploring the new leadership landscape’. The session ‘Witnesses to history in the making’, which provided eye-opening context about the complexities of the new leadership landscape. Leaders from business, religion, humanitarian aid, and the military, each nominated a ‘witness’: a frontline actor from a major fault line of change. UK Lieutenant-general Sir Graeme Lamb nominated James Le Mesurier, director of Mayday Rescue, Syria Civil Defence.