Kofi Annan

Kofi Annans

Real Leadership Challenge

Changing the goal of all governments

by Michele Misiewicz,

Special Envoy to the South Pacific

International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP)

A recent article in UN News entitled "Can the UN Secretary-General provide needed leadership for a permanent world peace?" highlighted some of the challenges facing Kofi Annan. Within weeks of the article going to press the UN Secretary-General responded to the question aptly - he successfully negotiated a solution to the then pending gulf crisis. But his actions are only the first step toward the leadership needed to create permanent world peace.

The article focused on two aspects. One was the various structures of government worldwide which comprise the United Nations. These structures were listed as genuine democracy, democratic socialism, plutocracy, socialist, communist, dictatorial and transitional with accompanying examples provided. The other aspect defined the commonality shared by all these "different" structures of government. Problems such as poverty, homelessness and environmental destruction to name a few..

The commonalities however aren't confined to experiencing the same problems. The commonalities extend to creating the same problems due to sharing the same ultimate goal - despite their varying structures of government. No matter what structure any government operates under its ultimate goal must be the pursuit of economic gain as each government does not function autonomously. Just as we have discovered the Earth is not flat we also know that each and every nation is impacted by the actions of each and every nation. And to achieve whatever goals a nation has ultimately it must compete in the global arena and make as much money - or earn as much credit - or create as much wealth - as possible. This is not new - this is not based on a changing global economy - this has always been the case. Nations engage in war to secure the resources of another nation - or nations create wars to sell their merchandise - to achieve this goal.

The real challenge facing the UN Secretary-General is to provide true leadership through his actions - which is a tough one. You see Kofi Annan's government - the UN - also relies on money to enable it to undertake its mission. When you consider how much is owed to the UN by permanent members it must be like walking a tightrope to extract the funds which members owe - while hinting at their obligations and the possible repercussions - and still hold the UN together. It's an endless cycle where nothing can ever change because he's stuck playing the same old game despite the high ideals - that is chasing money. True leadership is provided by one who can "walk his talk" - but for Annan to be able to "walk his talk" he must change the ultimate goal of every nation on the planet.

Through changing our consciousness we will change the reality we experience - which includes those problems cited earlier such as poverty, homelessness and environmental destruction to name a few.

Accumulation of wealth and money is only possible at the expense of other Beings. Use of money - and in fact any quantifiable means of exchange - adds to creating a consciousness of separation and discrimination which is in direct contradiction to the highest principles of the United Nations.

The actions of governments deciding who will gain and who will lose in the next budget is in direct contradiction. It says that one Being is worth more than another - that one Beings needs are more important than anothers.

The actions of employers paying one Being more than another - because they "do more" - or are "more valuable" - is in direct contradiction to understanding that despite what title or position one may hold all employees are contributing in each and every moment to a company as a whole - they are playing their unique role - and experiencing their unique challenges.

Put simply I can't come first in a race fielding ten without the other nine competitors - I need them to enable me to play my role. Once this understanding is embodied then there is no difference between first or tenth - and no-one can sell more running shoes just because a gold medallist wears them!!! Or to put it another way - the president of the US is no more important than the homeless guy sleeping on the streets of LA. So once we embody this understanding then we can save money on security for the president and give the homeless guy somewhere to live!!!

How outrageous to suggest something so logical as shifting our consciousness to higher values - the financial markets will go into a tailspin just with the thought - so try to hold it for a while!

What exists on this planet can only exist due to the fact that we believe that pursuit of economic gain is the most efficient means of determining the correct course of action - despite the fact that we are creating huge resource depletion and a growing mass of economic poor.

Annans challenge is great - he must take bold steps and venture where no man has ventured before. Let's hope he's either a star trek fan and can get a few futuristic hints to enable him the courage to take a quantum leap - or let's hope he actually believes in manifesting what the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is supposed to epitomise. For us to experience permanent world peace Annan must sell us a vision that money can't buy or create.

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