Mallika Writes: Just Speaking

26th June - DNA

The line up was impressive though the Asian presence thin, yet again.  Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia and Wikinews. Dr Shirin Ebadi, former Chief Justice of Iran and winner of the Noble Peace Prize – also fugitive from her country. Yakob Von Uexkull….. founder World Future Council. Hernando De Soto, advisor to over a dozen governments across the world on issues of sustainable futures. The topic was after my own heart, Humanizing Globalization with the theme of creating a new breed of world leaders who could be Servant Leaders.

I am in Zermatt, in the shadow of the fabulous Matterhorn, at the second summit of this new conference with an aim to steer world leadership, both governmental and corporate, in a direction needed for a world as it is today – financially broken but greedy, sustainably in deep debt and rot, and teeming with hungry and angry billions.

The second World War necessitated the creation of the United Nations and that has in many ways fulfilled the function for which it was born. But what do we need now? Today every year we are using up what the world took two billion years to create in terms of mineral and vegetal wealth and fossil fuels. Each country and nation uses what it can get its hands on as though their bit of land, water and air was theirs alone, not part of a globe we all share. The need for the hour is perhaps a new inter-governmental global body to look at safeguarding the future of humanity, of all our grandchildren. One that looks at our policies today with a two or three hundred year perspective, not a five year one linked to electoral cycles. And we need servant leaders to vision and activate this. Leaders who will serve the needs of humanity and the nations’ people, not rule it for  short term or private gain.

Education then needs a new definition. As do words like profit, common good, dividends, growth and many others. While many spoke of the necessity of a different vision there were many who raised the questions of mindsets, of worldviews and of redefining styles of functioning.

I let the waves of thoughts wash over me. To me much of the talk of globalization, of profits, of virtual money, of derivatives which lead to the financial crises the world over, were macho words, words of win and lose. Masculine leadership where life and the globe were a zero sum game, where one win meant loss on the other side. But surely what the world needs is to not look at everything as an I Win You Lose scenario? As a non zero sum game where it was possible, nay imperative, to have all sides win? Where the future of humanity did not lead to the destruction of nature, and where the resurgence of nature did not mean the loss of millions of lives? In fact, isn’t feminine leadership what we need, a leadership where everyone is considered, where everyone’s good IS the common good, where leaders are the true servants in spirit of the people and of nature and of all life form?

From the ovation that I got and from the buzz I was assured that many in the conference thought alike and felt the need to influence decision makers and policy makers around the world of the need to change directions radically. Management schools need to completely change their courses, from teaching ethics as an external unrelated subject to making it the DNA of every subject taught. And perhaps most importantly of all, leaders must accept that masculine and feminine styles of leadership have little relationship to male or female leaders, but to styles of inclusiveness or exclusiveness, and that the true visionary leader must have the courage to accept the feminine role model, for brining the world back from a brink where we have reached to one where the human being, or all human beings are at the centre. IF the Zermatt Summit can send out this message to a group of thinkers and policy makers, it will have set an important ball rolling.


June 26th, 2011, DNA


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