IIE Networker - Spring 2013 - (Page 37)

LEADERSHIP TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT International Development and Higher Education: The Critical Role of Leadership Training By Everlyn Anyal INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT GOES beyond macroeconomic forces of growth and focuses on the improvement of the individual and collective human condition, increasing choices and participation, equality, standards of living and wellbeing, and protecting the environment by balancing growth with sustainability. It is not a stage to be attained or a goal to aim for. Rather, development is a constant process of improvement in which education, research, and service to others play prominent roles in creating positive change in individuals, communities, institutions and structures that provide support to society. The Human Development Paradigm is based on the view that each human being is born with his or her own special potential, and has the right to develop it (Kuonqui 2006). Development therefore includes the process of broadening the scope of people’s freedom so they can develop their distinct capacities and make choices that impact positively on their lives and communities. Developing human potential through international education is a major catalyst for social change; it can produce leaders who mix global skills with local knowledge. Such leadership skills are needed for successful business, government and civic management at all levels in today’s interdependent world. And even though leadership skills come naturally to only a few people, they can be learned and applied successfully by nearly anyone with the right desire. The most effective leadership development methods are those that develop universal values that can serve as a moral compass, problem-defining, problem-solving and task facilitation, as well as communication and motivational skills. Leadership for development, in particular, should emphasize enabling people to think freely beyond the restrictions of their current roles, assisting them to develop the critical capabilities to move between operational and strategic modes while maintaining a comprehensive understanding of global issues. It should focus on the character, integrity, skills and discursive intelligence necessary for the responsible exercise of power. Leadership is crucial in stimulating the economic, social and political changes that promote peaceful human development. The ability of one person to influence the thinking and behavior of others to achieve shared objectives is the essence of individual leadership. Like all forms of social progress, development occurs when leaders with visions for the future convince others of the need to take actions that will improve their lives. Leadership is dynamic, and hence requires training in order to keep up with current changes in the world. The different and changing roles of leadership in different scenarios demand constant updating of an individual’s leadership skills. Leadership has evolved over time from the idea of the “great man“ to the identification of leadership traits, to notions of situational, transactional and transformational leadership. At the same time, development projects have shifted from concentrating on policy implementation to focusing on complex concepts such as cultural context, history and political structures. Multilateral institutions and donor agencies now recognize the importance of institutions and the fact that the quality of a country’s bureaucracy, law and order, property rights and anticorruption measures need to be established or strengthened for long-term development to occur and succeed. However, while the focus on institutions and a country’s social, political and cultural context has enabled policy makers to more accurately tailor development projects, the role of individuals or communities as leaders of social change has not received similar attention. Yet the participation of individuals who can successfully spearhead or lead change is probably the most important element for achieving development goals. Policymakers usually focus on institutional prerequisites of transparent, democratic governance, multi-party electoral competition, separation of powers and the rule of law, amongst others. Still, institutions must draw on individuals if the institutions are to have any meaningful force. Institutional transformation requires individual transformation in the way people think, their skills and knowledge levels, attitudes, their confidence, ability to engage, in how they communicate and their level of exposure to the world’s best ideas. In this context, higher education, especially international study, is no longer a luxury for developing countries. Universities, in particular, have a key role to play in transforming the skills and knowledge of individuals to make them more effective leaders. For example, higher education can nurture and develop creativity and produce graduates with deep expertise in strategic areas for equitable and sustainable growth, such as agriculture, gender relations and education, amongst others. Increasingly, students must learn to work in multidisciplinary teams. It is this combination of talents that leads to the innovation of products, processes and models that drives the development of business, government and the not-for-profit sector. Societies expect their higher education institutions to produce graduates with new knowledge and ideas, and who are socially responsible and capable of leading a country or community towards prosperity and success. International study amplifies these benefits by providing access to many new ideas and experiences. It is therefore not far-fetched to state that access to higher education is a key determinant of successful international development. While higher education may be viewed in some quarters as a preserve of the elite that does not deserve the political support, it is also the case that greater participation in higher education raises a nation’s average income and reduces poverty. By providing space and an enabling environment in which teaching 37 http://www.iie.org/iienetworker

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Networker - Spring 2013

A Message from Allan E. Goodman
News
2013 IIE Andrew Heiskell Awards for Innovation in International Education
IIENetworker Minister of Education Interview Series
Higher Education and Diff erent Notions of Development
Advancing Development Through International Partnerships
Developing a Gender Studies Program in Georgia
Higher Education and Community Development
The University of Cologne’s Capacity-Building Project in Myanmar
Promoting International Development by Collaborating with Industry
International Development and Higher Education
Harnessing the Power of Women with Disabilities
Community College Global Partnerships Bring Local Benefi ts
Building vs. Being
Higher Education and Development through Cultural Relations
The Institute of International Education’s Work in Iraq and Myanmar
Re-Envisioning Internationalization
Advertisers Index

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