Following the mainstream media it is easy to get a frighteningly dystopian picture, not only of our situation, but also of humanity in general. The fear and hate driven turn that our politics appear to have taken in Europe, the US and beyond could presage a truly frightening future of fragmentation of Europe and autocratic, narcissistic, demagogues in charge of both the White House and the Kremlin.
Demagogues are popular by definition. They identify with problems that are commonly felt and propose simple solutions generally designed to enhance their position rather than to actually solve the problem. For a more authentic leader to make the case for more subtle and complex solutions to complex problems against a demagogic alternative is hard.
Immigration and refugees are a current example of a complex and popular “problem” that is easily exploited by demagogues to further their own ends.
However, the mainstream only tells a fraction of the whole story and I would like to devote the rest of this post to examples of inspiring authentic leaders who are currently offering solutions to some of our most vexing problems.
My list are a mixture of people who have built up or use a high profile for their work and people I happen to know and am honoured to call friends. Beyond these few, there are of course hundreds of thousands of great authentic leaders that I am unaware of and hundreds of millions who do wonders through love and compassion in their every day lives.
Here are a few – please add to the list in the comments.
Altamar Founded by Line Hadsbjerg and Pep Bonet makes documentary films that ask some of the hardest possible, and therefore most necessary, questions of our society – such as: Why are we complicit in the creation of urban underclasses? Why are we complicit in the exploitation of children?
Seed Founded by Christina Vesty – Seed is essentially an “accelerator” for individual girls in Africa helping them to get mentoring and a better education.
Afriversity Founded by Thorgier Einarsson – is a training ground and resource provider for prospective entrepreneurs in Africa. The surest way to political and economic stability is through the creation of a broad “middle class” of professionals and business people.
Jeremy Leggett Since I interviewed Jeremy for my first book in 2003 he has been a ceaseless and powerful leader of the great energy transition. Both through his business Solar Century and through his lobbying and writing he is helping us overcome our oil addiction.
Malala Malala’s response to those who sought to prevent her from completing her education, because she is a girl, is to enable and assist thousands of other girls to complete an education. What love.
Emma Watson Feminism and standing up for women is not just for women. Emma is putting her status to a powerful and profound purpose.
Melati and Isabel Wijsen This goes to the heart of authentic leadership. Pick an issue whose solution matters to many and inspire others to participate in solving it. Start from wherever you are, don’t give up, turn it into a way of life.
Tesla Tesla is here to show that solving global problems can be commercial and successful as well as charitable and campaigning.
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