Interculturalism and Diversity

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Tolerance, insight, flexibility and humility are the four pillars upon which the foundation of leadership stand, and all of these aspects are the culmination of two words: ‘Intercultural understanding’. When either of them falls, the whole foundation crumbles. In the 21st century, in which the world has become a global village with diverse cultures mixing with each other like clashing waves, I believe it is doubtless that a unifying platform is essential, a platform that can help rally people of different backgrounds, a platform that helps the communication between all races and creeds so that they can interact with each other, a platform that unifies people of different nations and allows them to move together with the same pace, a platform that I believe can only be provided by a leader with intercultural understanding because only a person who understands his fellows can empower them and only a person who can empower others can be a great leader.

In my personal view, intercultural understanding does not only mean learning a culture but also learning to respect it, and the latter is far more important than the former. Such understanding involves individuals learning and engaging with diverse cultures in ways that recognize commonalities and differences, create connections with others and cultivate mutual respect. The same understanding that is integral for a leader to create a bond with his fellows. Intercultural understanding involves learning to value and view critically one’s own cultural perspectives and practices, and those of others through their interactions with people.

Donald McGannon once said, “Leadership is an action, not a position.” and I couldn’t agree more coming from a country that has been through political turmoil. I can say that Afghanistan has always done better under men who strive for a change, and not position. In fact, that’s the reality of every part of the world, and even my school. My actions led me to become the Hostel Supervisor of Pak-Turk International School because I went for excellence, and not badges. Similarly, I was selected to be the Student Ambassador at the National Science Fair in Pakistan for the same reason.

It is my belief that the price of greatness is truly responsibility, and the responsibilities that I hope to partake are projects that I would like to lead regarding Intercultural learning. No matter how unlikely, unrealistic and utterly romantic it would seem; I do perceive a world without borders. A possible dream for which we would need to act like global citizens with certain measure of tolerance and respect for others’ values and what they hold dear and what they hold taboo. For a step in the right direction, we would need to enlarge our social circle and broaden our perspective. To help with that I plan on leading trips to places with a diverse population. I believe that this is easily possible, and it would lead to further projects regarding Intercultural learning because I have faith in my leadership skills.

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