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Governmental Leadership: What does it take?

by Jane Larsson, Executive Director, Council of International Schools

Three years ago, I squeezed myself into a primary school chair at one of our schools, and looked across the low table into the eyes of four nine-year olds, each from a different country. “So,” I asked, “how are you doing? Are you developing into global citizens?” The little boy sitting across from me retorted, “We’re NOWHERE NEAR being ready as global citizens!” I asked him, “Why not?”

“Well”, he said, “You don’t always know how to ...act around people from other places. When someone new comes to our school…you have to be careful…” “If you talk to someone who is different… you have to wait, because you don’t REALLY know how to act, or what they will think. Would I want to hear this or is it awkward? Then, MAYBE you can begin to figure out how to be around them.”

Imagine if all our world leaders had an international education. Think of the possibilities. What would governmental leadership look like? How effective would it be? Being responsible for governing a country means creating systems and policies that work for the people, all of them, whether they were born in the land you lead or whether they came to live in your land… for education or work, to explore, or for love, to be close to family.

I like to think about that little nine-year old boy, and imagine what kind of a leader he would be. I hope his teachers and all of us in international education will actively encourage students to consider public service, and aspire to governmental leadership.

What does it take to be a national leader in our world today?

Are we fulfilling our responsibility to prepare students for such a role?

Let’s challenge and inspire our students to consider governmental leadership. What’s the career path? Is it no longer necessary to be prepared in law or public service? What qualities are necessary?

A CIS Core Value: We challenge ourselves and others. We keep an open mind to new perspectives and look ahead to gain new insights.


Posted by CIS on Monday November, 14, 2016

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