Leaders And Ib

Wowie! It has been two weeks since break started, and two weeks since my first official Model United Nations Conference came to an end. This conference was two trimesters in the making, and it really pulled together all the skills and preparation I had done, resulting in what I would say was a very successful conference and commentary on current politics and UN mechanics. While I would love to go into more detail (and will soon), it is currently 11:41 at night, and I have a topic that I inspired me, one that I believe is very relevant to MUN, CAS, and life in general. The topic I’ve decided to share with you all today is leadership, and specifically how leadership relates to classroom dynamics and IB. Now I know that may seem like an overwhelming program for tonight’s theatrical journal entry, but I promise that in the end it will all tie together. To begin, we will define leadership and some of its more basic aspects, and also look at some excellent but perhaps less obvious examples of history. The first basic aspect of leadership is the ability to inspire a group of people. This inspiration can take many forms, and can lead to the achievement of a single goal, the pursuit of certain conditions, or even the desire for more power or influence. The second basic aspect of leadership is the ability to unify a divided or complex group of people. This unity is often directed against a specific individual or objective, and serves to strengthen said group. The third, and in my opinion final basic aspect of leadership is the ability to direct a group of people. This may initially seem like an odd choice, but think about it. In history, many of the world’s most powerful groups reached that stance as a result of a leader’s ability to delegate tasks and keep a large group of individuals organized, focused, and on task. I truly believe that these three characteristics are what shape a true leader, and throughout history we have seen that single individuals, through effective leadership, are capable of greatly influencing the world and its many courses of events and actions. Our first example takes us back nearly 80 years to 1940, when the forces of Nazi Germany, having just conquered the majority of western europe, made France sign an armistice, effectively “quitting” WWII. At this point, Great Britain stood almost completely alone against the impressive and intimidating Nazi forces, leading many senior British officials to recommend peace talks with the Germans, hoping to avoid any direct conflict and therefore avoid further casualties amongst the already demoralized British populous. However, despite the impending sense of doom and divided parliament, the prime minister at the time, Winston Churchill, refused to give in and negotiate with the Nazis. This refusal alone was incredibly significant in British politics and inspired many people to fight, and yet Winston Churchill continued his rally of bravery, out maneuvering politicians hellbent on surrendering and delivering one of history’s greatest speeches; “…we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” This speech and his unbelievably optimistic attitude allowed Churchill to inspire millions and lead to the ultimate defeat of the Nazi forces and perfectly demonstrates our first basic principle of a skilled leader. Of course, how a complex, serious event that took place 80 years ago is related to our 11th grade IB class probably isn’t immediately clear. The basic idea is that our class is currently in one of the most rigorous academic programs in the world, facing a variety of incredibly challenging academic obstacles, not to mention the social problems presented by high school itself. I truly believe the only way our class will make it through this program successfully is by acknowledging each other’s strengths and weaknesses and cooperating to compliment them. As a group we are stronger, capable of creating a network of trust, friendship, and shared determination that 11th grade students can rely on in times of difficulty. But this is only possible through a leader, an 11th grade student who is capable of inspiring, unifying, and organizing the class into a well functioning, IB crushing machine. Now this doesn’t mean we need to make a whole political/official position, but we could definitely look into speaking to our class about unity, and how it could lead us to be the most successful class yet, even in the face of true adversity! To finish, we have a quote from Churchill himself: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

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