How do you weaken a powerful force? It’s simple – you deny it access to its source of energy. It matters whom you have in your corner. It matters who influences you. It matters where you draw your inspiration. A spark will never truly ignite without the influence of oxygen. Even the most talented genius needs validation sometimes.
During the worst periods of the war in former Yugoslavia, UWC Adriatic opened its doors to welcome their young men and women; and when refugees escaped from the Balkans to neighbouring Slovenia and here in Italy, this college was right there with them. We washed their feet, we enveloped them in a warm embrace, and we listened to their stories.
How can young people can join efforts to transform education for all and how education systems can better incorporate real-world participatory learning? From the example of Hurt Hahn, if you are a young person, three things are clear.
Envision the world not as it is but as it should be. Be sceptical about challenges, especially the ones that look unsolvable. Resist the urge to be overly cynical about the possibility of change. We do not always know for sure how life will turn out, but we can always trust in our own efforts.
The premise of democratic governance is that people who are entrusted with leadership should govern with the best interests of the people at all times. This is where most leaders fail. John Magufuli’s presidency is a contemporary case study in leadership that gets it right on one level, and absolutely falls apart on another.
As humans, we tend to project our highest aspirations on to our leaders, expecting them on their worst days to be the embodiment of who we struggle to be on our best days. Donald Trump simply bucked the trend. He had no time (or capability) for make-believe – he lived out his real and true self on the pages of Twitter every single day, and that scared some of us and emboldened the rest of us. Our society indeed is polarized, far beyond what we are prepared to admit.
I have come to realize that our lives become the totality of the individual actions that we take — that we are better off previewing our futures through the actions of today. If our works are not credit-worthy today, they will not be tomorrow; but if we commit to creating value, even if we do not see the results immediately, everything will make sense down the line.
Public leadership must always be held in trust. The privileges that we hold today must never be equated with lifetime mandates. Individuals who have been called to serve must truly approach their tenure with an element of humility and a commitment to decisiveness. In these uncertain times, people cannot afford many apologies. Who knows what new challenge lurks around the corner?
When I was in university some years ago, I was primarily involved in journalism. I loved it. I was also a part-time Geography teacher in a private high school while running tutorials for my peers and juniors. Then I took on debating and public speaking in my second year and won a range of competitions; I then interned as a… Read More »For Discovery, Before Purpose
The first time I met him was in March 2015, and at that time he was remarkable in an unremarkable way; he was a chubby little boy with a curious dress sense and an eagerness to stand out. We later joked about his checkered shirt and tie combo on his first visit to South Africa to participate at the second… Read More »He Taught Me Leadership: Mubarak Adetunji
“I am a Nigerian going to school here in the US, but I’ll like to eventually have some impact in my home country, and I’m just not sure how to go about it. Do you have any advice for me?” The question was asked by a young lady named Simi, after I had delivered a talk to a room full… Read More »Before Opportunity Strikes
I have never formally had a mentor. I don’t even know if that’s true, but I don’t recall ever entering into a formal relationship with a person and agreeing to be mentored by them. Yet, I have been helped along my personal and professional journeys by several people whom I will consider my mentors; some were academic mentors who guided me… Read More »Is Mentoring Overrated?