David Leyssens is one of the founders and director of The Shift, the Belgian meeting point for people and organisations wanting to realise the transition to a more sustainable society and economy. This stakeholder coalition encourages companies, civil society organisations, academic institutions and governments to collaborate on tackling societal challenges and create shared value.
David studied Communication Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB; 2004). After graduating he helped building on to Close the Gap. This spin-off of the VUB is social profit organization that helps to tackle the digital divide in developing countries. David helped to create a network of ICT-partners in Africa. He coordinated the development of an e-waste collection, dismantling and recycling activity in Kenya.
In 2011 he started working for KAURI, a Belgian multistakeholder network on Corporate Social Responsibility and NGO Accountability, and remained its director until its merge into The Shift. At KAURI he promoted dialogue between different Belgian companies and NGOs through the organisation of more than 30 stakeholder dialogues and job switch days. Since 2014 David Leyssens became the Belgian contact person for the United Nations Global Compact Network. This network supports companies to align their strategy and operations with the 10 UN Principles and encourages them to take action to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals. He followed an additional one-year training at Vlerick called the Young Manager Acceleration Programme and became an ambassador for the “follow your dream campaign” of this business school.
He is an active citizen of Brussels and was involved in the Brussels citizen movement of Picnic The Streets as its spokesman. This movement, launched by philosopher Philippe Van Parijs, successfully protested for a car-free city centre in Brussels. David Leyssens is a board member of the Vier Winden primary school in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek as he sees this educational institute as an example of inclusive education celebrating diversity. He likes (city) gardening and considers music as the language of the soul.
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