Creativity Learning Transformation
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Learning for peace

Posted on 7th November 2012 in Learning, News

I was planning to write about the American elections in this week’s blog. All the media coverage had got me thinking about leadership. What am I looking for in a leader? What influences my vote? These proved harder questions to answer than I expected.

Nominate #Malala for the Nobel Peace Prize #Nobel4Malala

Then I got an email from about the campaign to nominate Malala for a Nobel peace Prize.

Suddenly it all became clear. Malala embodies the qualities I am looking for in a leader. Someone who has strong values and is not afraid to proclaim them. Someone who is prepared to stand up for what is right, whatever the cost. Someone who believes in equality and justice. Someone who has experienced the struggles of daily life shared by the oppressed and disenfranchised across the world. Someone who is ordinary yet doing something extraordinary. Someone who does it in a way that promotes non-violence, the way of enlightenment, peace and justice.

I recognised that my followership is influenced mainly by my values and personal experience. I follow Malala because I am a woman, in solidarity with girls and women who are denied the freedom of an education. As the saying goes, educate a woman and you educate the world. I follow her because I have always been a  champion of young people,  and I love the recognition a Nobel Prize would give to all those other young people who have led the way, largely unacknowledged, when adults have made a mess of things. I support her nomination because  she is a powerful testament to the way of non-violent protest and because free education is itself a vital builder of peace. When a community is educated together, and share the benefits an education brings, it builds the way of shalom – a whole and healthy community of peace.

martin luther king dream freedom justiceWhich of the two American presidential candidates best share those characteristics? Which has policies that support Malala’s stand? I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions. But I have to admit I am also influenced by being a mother and grandmother to four precious boys of mixed Afro/Caribbean/English heritage. Just as my liberated inner woman cheers Malala on,  when Obama took the presidential oath, tears of joy mingled with tears shed over the bitterness of racism and oppression. The words of Martin Luther King ran through my head: “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” Now that’s something worth voting for.


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