Leadership sans authority

Posted: March 12th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: philosophy, politics, university | No Comments »

On Friday I had a chance to listen to an open lecture by professor Adel Safty. First of all it was a very fortunate decision for me actually not to go home, but stick around at the university until the lecture, second of all I am very grateful to whoever organised this visit. These lectures should take place more often, and with people who have the same kind of credentials as professor Safty.

He talked about many things, but I found most interesting the concept of having leadership without actually being in power. This applies not only to global politics, but also to societies and smaller groups. We live in an age where a single person with a great idea can lead others whereas the traditional power structures sometimes prove to be somewhat inflexible.

I agreed with his comments regarding the role of the UN and the importance of establishing genuine leadership there, and not allow it to be usurped for national interests (which is made possible by the existence of vetoes for certain permanent members of the Security Council). I truly feel that we live in a world that is changing, and it is changing for the better. Governments no longer can exercise full authority over their subjects.

There are several factors which make this change possible from the possibility of an individual uploading a video filmed on his or her mobile phone to YouTube to almost failed US politicians finding new courage and missions in fighting global warming (I refer to Al Gore and his slideshow and subsequent film which won an Oscar for best documentary). As prof Safty pointed out, the person does not necessarily have to be well-known person such as Al Gore, it can be anyone.

This is the kind of leadership I feel comfortable providing as well. I do not like power, I am afraid that a position of power might change me for the worse. I have never wanted power, but I do have ideas that I wish to be implemented.