Leaders must recognise, promote, protect the specific collective identities of their nations, but they must also open up to the globalised world, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said, The Hindu reported.
Speaking at an ongoing India Ideas conclave, Ms. Kumartunga hailed the leadership qualities of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Abraham Lincoln, and asserted, “Many of the conflicts which we see around us, in our region, in the world, may not have existed or could be resolved if we have leaders with such an agenda.”
Tracing the history of violence and conflicts, she said the demand for identity, the recognition for identity, right or wrong has “led to much violence in our generation within the last, I would say 75 years.”
“The conflicts we see around us, almost all of them are also founded on the demand of identity. Identity of groups within nations, or specific identities of different communities. Today this situation has been further exacerbated,” she said, adding, “ Even the major world powers, rather than opening out, are limiting themselves to promoting their specific interest.”
Speaking of true inspirational leadership, she said leaders in general cannot follow people. They must lead them. “They must lead them towards enlightenment, towards what is right for the nation, but also what is right for the world,” said Ms. Kumartunga. (Colombo Gazette)