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SC Students inspired by Guest Speaker

Senior Jail Warden Gilbert B. Accad inspired the School of Criminology students, faculty and visitors with the following message on their SC Acquiantance Program last August 13, 2010:

The theme of today’s affair says “COURAGE AND INTEGRITY TOWARD EXCELLENT LEADERSHIP”. Such a simple statement. On the contrary, I feel intimidated by the challenge it poses. In choosing your theme, I admire and congratulate you for your keen awareness of what is going on around you. The national and local elections have just been conducted and new leaders were installed to their respective positions. Today, we are gathered for the induction of a new set of student leaders of your department. Be it national, local or campus politics, there is only one thing that the electorate needs or expects from leaders: EXCELLENT LEADERSHIP. COURAGE AND INTEGRTY are personal attributes which leaders must truly possess should they envision excellent leadership as the ultimate goal of their term in office. When you, dear student leaders, decided to join in campus politics, you possessed courage. You dared to face the challenges posed by a world except your own. You overcome yourself. A person without courage is a person with a negative mind-set, mind-sets like “I can’t”, I don’t, I won’t”, and “I shouldn’t want to”. According to Norman Vincent Peale, “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble and reasonable confidence in your powers, you cannot be successful”. Try to go over great historical figures like Napoleon Bonaparte, and Abraham Lincoln and many more. Biographers are unanimous with one adjective in describing these great men: COURAGEOUS. These great men have overcome themselves which in turn propelled them to conquer the outside world.
The second attribute, INTEGRITY, as I’ve observed and hope you did too, is an issue that moves or raises eyebrows whenever mentioned in relation to political leadership. Much more when names of known politicians are included. In simple and plain language, integrity is doing what is right not just for one’s self but for the greater good. I admire Japanese leaders. Many a time that a minister resigned his post when his name is involved or associated to an issue, trivial or complex, which is contrary to what is expected of him. In practice, the Japanese leaders put a high regard for Integrity. As a result and we are not blind, Japan occupies a commanding status as a global leader in terms of economy.
Dear student leaders, leadership is not a delicacy or feast to enjoy. Leadership is a burden to bear for the benefit of the many. Do not be misled by the thought that winning an election and getting inducted into office is the essence of leadership. I am sorry to tell you that leadership is purely responsibility and accountability. Leaders have tasks to perform. How they perform these tasks is their accountability to the people who entrusted them their respective positions.
There is one thing for sure that awaits you. A pile of challenges lies ahead. How you surmount these challenges is the real test to gauge your leadership. But, do not be intimidated or daunted with what lies ahead. Rather focus on your vision of excellence in leadership. Brace yourself and get prepared. How? Your institution offers you more than enough information, resources, and experiences that prepare you for the task ahead.
As you go along, challenges of many sorts may be encountered. I’d like to share with you how efficient, if not excellent, leaders cope with the challenges of leadership. The magic lies in how they see and treat the challenges that come along. Most successful leaders view and treat challenges as opportunities instead of problems. Every challenge is a stepping stone, a motivation to take action. To cite an example, let us look at diversity. For a mediocre leader, diversity is a problem that is, dividing rather than unifying. Look around you and you’ll see how diverse the population is. The faculty, staff and studentry come from different environments. Yet your institution is sailing smoothly. It is because your institution and its leadership, recognize the strength of every member and drives it toward a common vision which is excellence.
Whenever I speak of leadership, I do not mention any tailor-cut procedure or process or a shortcut. It is because I personally believe that leadership grows out of the necessity of a situation. I mean, everyone can become a successful leader whenever there is an opportunity. It is a matter of accepting the challenges of the situation and mobilizing every resource towards the attainment of a goal, a goal beneficial to all concerned.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, leadership is not a delicacy to enjoy. There can be setbacks. At one time or another, failure might be inevitable. Don’t be bothered; instead, where you failed is an opportunity to try innovations. Don’t lose the enthusiasm that you had when you decided to become a student leader. Winston Churchill once said, “COURAGE is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm”. Furthermore, be mindful at all times to maintain the integrity of the office you hold. As a leader, you are accountable to your constituents and the office you represent. It is your responsibility as a leader to do what is right at all times. Should there be issues contrary to the greater good, take the courage to say no and introduce innovations, changes and the like. As Aristotle put it, “All persons ought to endeavor to follow what is right and not what is established”.

Indeed, your choice of the theme for today’s affair is befitting. Excellent leaders need to possess the courage to stand and say “I can” while maintaining an untarnished or unblemished integrity in performing their tasks to the best of what they can for the attainment of an unselfish goal.

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DR. DON PRASAD
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