|University College of Addis Ababa - 6th Graduation|
Jul. 17, 1959
|... He who would be a leader must pay the price in self-discipline and moral restraint. This |
entails the correction and improvement of personal character, the checking of passions and
desires, and an exemplary control of one's bodily needs and drives...
|This graduation ceremony is an occasion, not merely for recapitulating and recounting the fruits of
past efforts in terms of examination results and of degrees and diplomas awarded, but also for
fixing one's sights upon future accomplishments, obligations and possibilities.
For the sixth time in the history of this College, We see an imposing group of young men and
women graduate from this institution. Most of you, as in previous years, will continue your studies
and prepare yourselves for higher degrees and varying careers. But whether pursing further
studies or going directly into the world, all of you will soon be embarking upon a new stage of your
We, therefore, deem it necessary and appropriate, on this occasion when you of this year's
graduating class look back upon your student years with a measure of nostalgia and look forward,
perhaps with a measure of
understandable apprehension towards your future careers, to speak to you about leaders and
As you know, leadership is required in all fields and no field is without its usefulness. During Our
visits, however, to the educational institutions of Our country, We have noticed in answers to Our
enquiries, that the percentage of students pursuing courses of study useful for the development of
technology and industry, has been extremely low. We have, therefore, counselled you to take up
technological and industrial courses in preparing for an over-all programme. The reason for Our
introducing this topic at present is that We have found the number of those receiving degrees in
technological subjects today to be very small indeed, and wish to impress upon you all that it is
Our desire to see a much larger number of Our young people benefiting from the resources We
have on Our own and have received as aid from abroad, and graduating in the fields of technology
and industrial education.
|We all know that the need for good leadership in every walk of life is much greater today than ever
before. Every aspect of living demands guiding hands: business, the professions, the fine arts, the
mechanical arts, all. And all of you young people, who have been given the enriching opportunity
of an advanced education will in the future be called upon to shoulder in varying degrees the
responsibilities to leading and serving the nation.
It is important, however, to remember that leadership does not mean domination. The world is
always well supplied with people who wish to rule and dominate others. The true leader is of a
different sort: he seeks effective activity which has a truly beneficent purpose. He inspires others
to follow in his wake, and holding aloft the torch of wisdom, leads the way for society to realize its
genuinely great aspirations.
You have learnt from your study of history that the story of nations is often told in terms of the
accomplishments of individuals. In every significant event in history, you will find a courageous
and determined leader, an inspiring goal or objective, and an adversary who sought to foil his
In any normal society, every one has some opportunity to show himself as a leader. Even the
mechanic or clerk who has an assistant assigned to him not to speak of the doctor with all his
helpers, or the officer who commands his troops, is a leader. Within his own sphere, each has the
same opportunities for showing ability, and the same potential satisfactions as has the leader of
government. The leader is marked out by his individual craftsmanship, his sensibility and insight,
his initiative and energy.
|The Sense of Responsibility|
|Leaders are people who raise the standards by which they judge themselves -- and by which they
are willing to be judged. The goal chosen, the objective selected, the requirements imposed, are
not merely for their followers alone. They develop with consummate energy and devotion their
own skill and knowledge in order to reach the standards they themselves have set. This
whole-hearted acceptance of the demands imposed by ever higher standards is the basis of all
human progress. A love of high quality, we must remember, is essential in a leader.
Dependability is another requirement in a leader. To be dependable is to be willing to accept
responsibility, and to carry it out faithfully. A leader will always be willing to take counsel from his
people, but will often have to act on what his own mind tells him is right. This demands that the
leader has trained himself out of any inordinate fear of making mistakes.
To embark successfully on a career involving leadership demands a courageous and determined
spirit. Once a person has decided upon his life work, and is assured that in doing the work for
which he is best endowed and equipped, his is filling a vital need, what he then needs is faith and
integrity, coupled with a courageous spirit, so that, no longer preferring himself to the fulfilment of
his task, he may address himself to the problems he must solve in order to be effective. One mark
of the great leader is that he feels sufficiently secure to devote his thought and attention to the
well-being of his subordinates and the perfection of his task, rather than being constantly worried
about the approval or disapproval of others.
He who would be a leader must pay the price in self-discipline and moral restraint. This entails the
correction and improvement of personal character, the checking of passions and desires, and an
exemplary control of one's bodily needs and drives.
Leaders have to submit themselves to a stricter self-discipline and develop a more exemplary
moral character than is expected of others. To be first in place, one must be first in merit as well.
It should not surprise Us then, to find that the greater number of acknowledged leaders have been
people who trained themselves in the art of discipline and obedience. He who has not learned to
render prompt and willing service to others will find it difficult to win and keep the goodwill and
co-operation of his subordinates.
|Further, a leader must possess initiative, which is the creative ability to think in new ways and do
new things. The leader has always to stay ahead. He cannot afford to set up a procedure, and then
fold his hands and linger lazily watching it work. He cannot be content merely to see new trends
and take advantage of them. He must keep his imagination vividly alive, so as to originate ideas
and start trends.
A word of warning is in order here. To help one's subordinates or dependents at the cost of harm
to the pubic, is tantamount to sacrilege and blasphemy. It is unfortunate, that many in positions of
leadership, both great and small, have been found guilty of such practices.
A good leader is devoted to his work and will willingly forego even the demands of sleep to see its
accomplishment. This does not mean that he is impetuous. On the other hand, he maintains a
balance between emotional drive and sound thinking.
His labours, which sometimes appear excessive, derive from his firm realization that unless a man
undertakes more than he can possibly do he will never be able to do all he can do. It is his
enthusiasm that stimulates his energy.
No matter what our point of departure in speaking of leadership, we reach the inescapable
conclusion that the art of leadership consists in the ability to make people want to work for you,
when they are really under no obligation to do so.
The true leader is one who realizes by faith that he is an instrument in the hands of God, and
dedicates himself to be a guide and inspirer of the nobler sentiments and aspirations of the people.
He will kindle interest, teach, aid, correct and inspire. Those whom he leads will co-operate with
him in maintaining discipline for the good of the group. He will instruct his followers in the goals
towards which to strive, and create in them a sense of mutual effort for attaining the goal.
|To sum up, there is no power on earth, in this University or elsewhere, that can take a clerk from
his desk or a mechanic from his bench, and easily mould him into a leader. To develop oneself, one
has to develop one's own initiative and perseverance -- a man has to strive in order to grow.
As educated people, you will be looked up to, and much will be expected of you. You will be
regarded, and rightly so, as those who have the necessary knowledge and the ability to inspire, to
guide and to lead. It is for this reason that we expect from you to whom we have given the
opportunity of education in your chosen fields, great and productive service to Our country.
These fundamental ideas of which We have briefly spoken this day, constitute, We presume, part of
the thought you have absorbed during the course of your studies in this University College. May
these basic thoughts accompany you during the years ahead and aid you in accomplishing great
things for Our beloved country, Ethiopia.
In conclusion, We would like to express Our thanks and appreciation to the members of the faculty
and the Board of this University College for their zealous and untiring efforts for the growth of
knowledge and the development of character in the young people who learn here.
We would like especially to entrust Our Vice-Minister of Education, on the basis of the statement
made by him regarding the expansion and growth of education in the country, with the high
responsibility of assiduously and untiringly striving to carry out the schemes mentioned and the
decisions made by the Board.
|Haile Selassie the First - July 17, 1959|