My husband and I went to dinner this evening with a friend. His name is Baikita. He is from Chad, Africa. Baikita is a Humphrey Fellow at Vanderbilt studying Education Policy. He wants to make a positive change to the education system in Chad. Baikita exemplifies leadership in many ways.
“The first thing that strikes one as characteristic of contemporary leadership is the necessity for the leader to work with and through extremely complex organizations and institutions” (Gardner, 1990). Baitkita is working with a very complex organization! Chad’s education system is held back in the sense that it has been destroyed time and time again. Not to go without mentioning, Chad is one of the poorest nations in Central Africa. Chad has tried to rebuild their education system, but French rule determines funding, resources and curriculum (Chad, 2010). This makes improving schools very difficult because Chadian people do not have influence on how their education system is managed. Baikita plans to meet with high-level government authorities in hopes of influencing their opinions on education and persuading them to make changes in the curriculum.
Second, Baikita is a servant. De Pree says, “Above all, leadership is a position of servanthood” (De Pree, 1992). Baikita wants nothing more in life than to serve the people in his home country. He is living in Nashville until June learning about the American education system. Baikita plans to implement aspects of the American school system in Chad. He is sacrificing time away from his wife and children because this is the route he believes will help him institute change most effectively.
Third, Baikita is creating change, an aspect of leadership Gardner cites (Gardner, 1990). Baikita is working to create change for the good of his country. He is selfless and doing it for the greater good. One change Baikita is working towards is equal opportunity for girls and boys to attend school. The belief among many Chadian’s is that boys attend school; females work in the home. This has been a cultural belief for many years. Baikita disagrees with this and is teaching others the benefits of young girls becoming educated.
Lastly, Baikita is assembling people to help him reach his goal. When he returns to Chad, he will meet with several individuals convincing them to realize the changes that need to be made in Chad’s school systems. “Leadership is the reciprocal process of mobilizing, by persons with certain motives and values, various economic, political, and other resources, in a context of competition and conflict, in order to realize goals independently or mutually held by both leaders and followers” (Burns, 1978).
Baikita is in every aspect a leader. He has not only given me an extremely positive example of leadership, but he is showing me what kind of leader I hope to become – one who tackles extreme obstacles head on, a servant to others, one who creates positive change, and an individual who can rally those around them for a noble cause. Baikita is a selfless individual who is courageous, yet vulnerable at times. With leaders like Baikita, positive change will be created and have a lasting effect.
“Chad – Educational System Overview.” (2010) Chad - Educational System—overview