SPA 362 – Leadership Development Lab II – Spring 2020

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Week 4 – Government I: International Peace

Last week we looked at some cases of leadership in government through international diplomacy.  This week we look at leadership in government as the pursuit of peace at home.  In Muhammad Yunus, we find an elite who recognizes the failures of government and academia to address real world problems, even in their own neighborhoods.  His Nobel Prize is for Peace, not for economics – the committee specifically referred to the relationship between peace, human rights, and poverty.  You can watch the announcement here (3 min).

In Johnson, Gbowee, and Karman, the Nobel Prize for Peace is awarded not for addressing combat between states, as was commonly the focus on international relations at the time of founding of the award and in most of the 1600s through 1900s.  But in the last part of the 20th century and the first part of the 21st, we have seen many more struggles within states than between states.  These Nobel laureates dedicated their lives to peace and justice in their own nations, with particular attention to the role of women and, at least for a time, seemed to have accomplished incredible things.

Our readings and videos offer us a chance to examine leadership not from positions of height and power held by Secretaries Albright and Rice, but from the more modest (and dangerous) positions of government opposition.


I think most people find it very useful to hear and see an author before trying to read that author.  It gives a sense of the person behind the words, the literal and symbolic “sound” of their voice.  For that reason, please watch at least a couple of minutes of Yunus and Johnson before reading them.

Watch at least a couple of minutes of Yunus before reading the beginning of his book:

Yunus, Banker to the Poor, Preface, chapter 1, chapter 2 – pages 1-20

You can choose to read or watch this next assignment, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, Nobel Lecture 2011.  If you decide to read it, at least first watch a couple minutes, so you can get a little of her “voice”  (video or text)

Videos:  Tawakkal Karman, interview, 2011 (5 min)

Leymah Gbowee, movie trailer, Pray the Devil Back to Hell (2 min)

Optional readings or videos: Gbowee’s Nobel Lecture (text or video) and Karman’s Nobel Lecture (text or video)

Finally, it’s worth remembering that these are not singular and new efforts – you can see a few examples of democracy advocates around the world from the early 2000s here – and of course there were anti-Communist movements in 1989-1991 (and 1980, 1968, 1956…); the 1960s’ anti-colonial movements in Africa and the civil rights movement in the U.S.; and many more before that in the U.S. and other countries. Watch this trailer for a 2012 film, A Whisper to a Roar

Essay Prompts for Week 4

Please submit your essay(s) on Bb > Readings > Week 4, available 2:00am Sat Feb 2

In answering (one or more of) these prompts, be sure to refer specifically to the readings and videos as appropriate.

– These four leaders define peace in different ways – how do their visions of peace shape their styles and methods of leadership?

– What motivates these four leaders?  To what extent are they motivated by “peace” and to what extent by concrete things that enhance “peace”?

– To what extent do you think these are extraordinary people, or to what extent do you think these are ordinary people doing extraordinary things?  Or something else?  Give specific examples.  What does this say about your understanding of leadership?

– Maybe there was something else you were eager to explore in a prompts essay.  Identify a prompt of your own, and address it here

But wait, there’s more!  Your classmates offer these:

Sampat Pal runs the Gulabi or Pink Gang in India

Sampat Pal runs the Gulabi or Pink Gang in India, which is a group of women engaging in vigilantism to serve as a protection unit for women. They focus on combating violence against women and political corruption and have helped many women and impacted their communities. However, Sampat condones the use of violence and intimidation to protect women. Can we see Sampat as a leader for peace?  Is violence ever justified in the pursuit of peace and equality? Is violence sometimes necessary for peace?

Malala and Her Father

Most people are familiar with the name Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani advocate for female education who is the youngest ever Nobel Laureate. Less people have heard the name Ziauddin Yousafzai, her father. Ziauddin raised Malala and her brothers in an egalitarian household and has been a passionate advocate for Malala and her activism for gender equality, including writing a book about her entitled “Let Her Fly.” For every leader that emerges, there is often someone who helps support and empower that individual in their actions. How can we see leadership over generations? How does a strong support system influence leadership? 

Rigoberta Menchú, Guatemala

Rigoberta Menchú is an indigenous human rights activist from Guatemala whose work is internationally recognized for her advocacy of Guatemala’s Indigenous peoples during and after the Guatemalan Civil War (1960–1996). She authored the acclaimed book I, Rigoberta Menchú in 1983 and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. She was also appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, and in more recent years, ran for President of Guatemala in 2007 and 2011 — though unsuccessful, she founded the country’s first Indigenous political party, Winaq. How does she differ from leaders that have gained international acclaim and how can we help create more opportunities for leaders like her? How is leadership in building international peace different than other forms of leadership? 


Memory Banda, Girls Empowerment Network, Malawi

Memory Banda is an activist who helped lead the movement to end child marriage in Malawi. After witnessing the forced marriage of her 11 year-old sister, Banda joined the Girls Empowerment Network and pushed for legal action against child marriage at the age of 18. As a youth activist, her voice attracted international attention and spread awareness of the plight of young females in Malawi. In what ways did Banda’s age and life experience make her successful? What role do youth activists play in bringing about international peace?