What I hope you have learnt
(and will continue to learn)
Closing message to international students at the 2012 Global Leadership Summit
- That the UFS is a work in progress — we have not arrived; we have made progress, but we have some way to go. You cannot change 350 years of colonialism and apartheid, and 109 years of a university’s life, over a weekend. But the momentum for transformation is in the right direction.
- That we can learn from each other — our national troubles are not unique; our contexts and cultures might differ, but our struggles and ideals are about the same things. Reciprocity of learning is what makes this Summit so important.
- That you can move from learner to leader — the Summit succeeds to the extent that it shifts you from a follower to a leader; from one who complains about a situation to one who works to change it; from one who imposes a view to one who takes seriously other peoples’ views.
- That leading in a global world requires solidarity — the default reaction of South Africans to trouble is tribe. One goal of the Summit is to empower student leaders to move from their own interests (race, class, ethnicity, national origins, etc.) to the unity of common interests; to rise above your own pain and passions to embrace the pain and passions of others.
- That as a leader you cannot presume to change others until you have transformed yourself — change starts at home. You have to find the moment in which you can look in the mirror and own up to your own ghosts, your own woundedness; and lead from weakness, not strength; from vulnerability, not self-certainty; from the goodness of others and not self-righteousness.
Prof. Jonathan D. Jansen
Vice-Chancellor and Rector
University of the Free State
18 July 2012