"The opportunity is there to usher in a new era of responsibility"August 14th, 2011
US President Barack Obama once said that “change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time”. Yet there are still too few signs that change is within reach, writes Ryan Bachoo, 22, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Trinidad and Tobago.
I’ve wanted to write this article for sometime, but either through lack of inspiration, lack of time or simply lack of imagination, I’ve never managed to sit behind this computer and get started.
Almost every article that is written in every newspaper, every day of the year, in every part of the world, targets some issue affecting a particular society, nation or the world.
But the problems have either been created by this generation, or handed down by our forefathers. And like our ancestors, the citizens of this outgoing generation risk handing over a world of war, economic chaos and political disparity to the next generation.
Going through the Trinidad Express newspaper on Saturday 23rd July, I came across an article written by Aabida Allaham with an interview she had with outgoing Archbishop of Port of Spain, Edward Gilbert. One of the first few lines of the article was a quote from Archbishop Gilbert: “I have a friend, another priest… and he always says I am glad I am 77 and not 27 because there is trouble coming, and I think he is right – I really think he is right.”
It gets you thinking of the future world that the current generation in their early and late twenties will have to lead in the coming two decades. Without a doubt, the outgoing generation – of the Barack Obamas and Nicholas Sarkozys – is on the brink of handing over the baton to future generations. But is it really a world that future prime ministers and presidents, sitting right now in a college class, will have the ability to change for the better?
When you skip through the pages of history, there is a common trend that war and economic recession keep repeating themselves. Since 1790, the United States has been through 47 recessions and have been involved in five declared wars, and played a military role in over ten. These wars started in 1812, and have been carried on by presidents throughout history. Even today war is still very prevalent, as is seen in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan. Britain is no different – they have been involved in over 80 wars, and today plays the role of the Unites States’ main ally.
But in contrast to the last decade (also known as the Bush and Blair era), the world now has two leaders in Obama and David Cameron who are seeking to end years of financial and military distress. Obviously, the task is monumental, finances are low and the enemy seems to have only just started playing. But when Obama and Cameron are ushered out, and new Democrats and new Labour leaders make their way into office, they will still have several wars, a financial crisis and a 20th century style of politics to deal with.
The task is near impossible. Simply put, the strain on those in high office is simply too great for elected people who have too little resources to work with. We are living in a society where the world belongs to the young. Our world’s children are grabbing high office at half the age compared to decades gone by, and they are unequipped to deal with today’s challenges.
Clearly, politicians are not changing with the world, as they have never been doing, and so the challenges will always be new, the instruments to meet them will always be new, but the mentality of fixing them will always remain yesterday’s. It is imperative that this Washington style of politics – this idea that every now and again the world must inevitably go through wars and recession – be wiped out of the curricula espoused by institutions that lecture on leadership.
Where the world currently stands, the opportunity is there to usher in a new era of responsibility and politics, because the next batch of leaders are currently studying at universities and colleges throughout the world, and that change can only start with future leaders.
Several political heads have already realised the need for political change throughout the world. None have made a greater effort than Barack Obama. But even he understands that changing Washington’s style of politics will not altogether happen in his tenure, nor in the several presidential terms that follow his.
He said in an address during his 2008 campaign trail, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” It is an almighty task, but it must be done. However there are few signs of politicians indicating that they will tackle the change in leadership style that this world needs.
Being a leader in the 21st century only looks good to the naked eye. Between religion, ethics and politics, today, home economics looks the best option for kids graduating out of high school and deciding on a career path at University.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
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