Nigel Hughes has been a leader in personal and professional development training for the last 30 years. For Nigel and his husband Ric Edelman, Outstanding.Global is the culmination of a lifetime of social and environmental activism. Their work has spanned decades and continents but always, their focus has been on supporting others to be their bravest, strongest selves, no matter what social or economic obstacles they face.
Nigel and Ric’s lifelong love for nature sent them on an expedition to Borneo and Papua New Guinea in search of virgin rainforest. What they found was not only rainforest under threat, but an enduring connection with the tribespeople of the Hunstein Range, a connection that has had far-reaching influence both in Papua New Guinea and in the woods of the United Kingdom.
Working with the tribespeople of the Hunstein Range, Nigel and Ric developed the concept of Global Kinship for their partnership, which fostered mutual respect and learning rather than teaching. Global Kinship aims to enrich both partners’ worlds through a deepening cultural and environmental understanding and respect. Together, they fought against the threat of a vast logging operation, and today, the primal rainforest remains intact.
‘What is the forest like in your place?’ This was the question posed by tribal elders when Nigel and Ric were returning to the UK. Not liking their own answers, Nigel and Ric responded by setting up Green Light Trust in 1989, an environmental education charity. Its flagship project was to plant 24 acres of new community woodland in the village of Lawshall, Suffolk, which led to the creation of over 60 more community woodlands and wild spaces.
Pursuing their ideal of Global Kinship, Nigel and Ric have created a partnership with their nature-loving counterparts in Iran. Nature Schools, an environmental education initiative in Iran, turns out to be very similar to the European equivalent Forest Schools, championed by Green Light Trust. These initiatives grew separately, on opposite sides of the globe, but their commitment to bring young people to nature is the same. Global Kinship really is within our reach.
Ric and Nigel also have a long history of social activism. In the 1980s, Ric worked with young homeless people in London, supporting those who were excluded and emotionally damaged to re-engage with society and take charge of their own lives.
In the 1980s and 90s, Nigel created Northern Lights Trust in partnership with Northern Lights Trust USA. Responding to the inflammatory ‘Gay Plague’ tabloid headlines of the time, the Trust worked to help the infected and affected come to terms with the challenge of living with HIV/AIDS. This work took him throughout UK, Europe, Asia and Australasia.