I first learned of Patrick Awuah via the TED talks.
Here is Patrick Awuah’s talk at TED:
The man left a prestigious corporate job to found a university in his home country of Ghana. And it wasn’t just any university where you had a major and a minor or a major and two minors… it’s a Liberal Arts college aimed at developing good leaders. I often joke with friends that Liberal Arts colleges are like dinosaurs that we really need right now. You hardly see them any more, but we are, in my opinion, in dire need of them.
I will not argue that a liberal arts education is necessary or applicable for everyone, but somehow we may have a great many people (depending on who to talk to) who are technically educated or understand their fields, but we don’t have a lot of people who can really ‘think’ strategically and creatively. Good liberal arts ed when executed properly helps young people make connections with what they learn, and it develops people who are skilled at analyzing life and it’s events and experiences and connecting them with literature, philosophy and the past.
I’ve suspected that the death of Liberal Arts in this country came when we decided that it was more important to rely on higher education to get specialized and technical training for a specific careers. That pesky major in “communication” is a good example of this. While I see it’s important to learn what you’re going to apply in a job, isn’t it also important to learn why or even ask why you’re learning it? Perhaps we wouldn’t be facing some of the economic or political problems today if we had more people asking “why” questions, specifically, “Why are we doing that?” Or even better, “Is that right?”
I think you need people who are educated via liberal arts and technical education, to execute successful endeavors in many fields.
Strange this morning… I work up with a rhyme from my childhood in my head.
I’ll stay here not budging,
I can and I will… if make you and me and the whole world stand still.
Well, of course, the world didn’t stand still…
The world grew.
Recently, I watched a Frontline episode online. There was an interview with a spokesperson from GM. The interviewer asked her why GM didn’t act earlier on developing hybrid technology. The woman admitted that the company didn’t see and immediate investment return for such an effort. Now, GM’s fate is in the balance and they expect the American tax payer to bail them out of the woes that stem from their inability to think and build towards the future.
PLEASE! This is an example conservative and unimaginative thinking worthy only of those executives who only want to ‘hang in there’ until they can cash their retirement and haul their golf-shoed feet to Scottsdale, AZ or some other place where they put ineffective executives out to pasture.
The American auto industry, if any should be the ones who take advantage of this leadership position in helping the world handle the threat of climate change. I’ll be very blunt. I don’t think there’s any place in this world anymore for leaders who think the ‘old way.’ Caring only about immediate profit margins isn’t going to cut it when we have to think about 10, 20, even 50 year plans for turning the effects of Global Warming around. We’re about to find out how much so much complacency and lack of imagination can cost. I’m placing my faith in the younger generations of corporate leaders. Hopefully, they haven’t taken their cues from the old guard.
Here’s what they have going for them:
- For them it’s not always about self-achievement and individual rewards.
- They are beginning to understand that there is such thing as a bigger picture.
- They can see the world and it’s environment changing (and not necessarily for the better).
- They have children who will inherit this world.