Malawi’s former president Joyce Banda, the founder of Joyce Banda Foundation International (JBFI), says she believes in ‘Servant Leadership’ where leaders listen to the people and adequately address their aspirations.
Bandasaid this on Saturday, October 17, 2015, when she addressed university student leaders from across the United States of America who have been gathering in Washington DC under the umbrella of the National Student Leadership Forum (NSLF).
“Gone are the days when leaders could oppress the people. If they attempt to do it; if they are locked up in the past, they are learning the hard way because the people show them the exit door; leaders are emerging even from the marketplace place; people are choosing leaders from amongst themselves,” said Banda.
This year’s events began on Friday, October 16 and ends on Sunday, October 18, 2015.
The NSLF is a three-day annual event that brings together a diverse group of university leaders from across the country. The NSLF program is intentionally relational. Students interact with fellow students, recent college graduates, young professionals and established adults from the political, business and social service sectors of society.
Though the specifics of the forum shift slightly from year to year, core activities include keynote speeches by various political leaders, small group breakout sessions after larger meetings, panel discussions and more.
According to a statement issued by Banda’s media assistant, Tusekele Mwanyongo, Banda addressed about 350 university student leaders at the Hyatt Hotel in Washington DC.
“Among the student leaders, was a Malawian studying in the US, Wongani Mtika,” reads the statement made available to Nyasa Times on Sunday, October 18, 2015.
It says Banda’s address centered on the subject of ‘Servant Leadership.’ She shared her life lessons that she said prepared her ahead of becoming a ‘Servant Leader’.
“I am here to share with you the lessons that I learnt on the journey before I became a politician and Head of State.
“Leaders fall in love with the people they serve and the people fall in love with their leader. That kind of leadership with the masses endures all,” she said.
The former Head of State advised the student leaders to ensure that they must draw up a ‘mission statement’, saying she had one when she was 31 years old. Banda said that choices the youth make in life today push them either forward or backward.
“My mission in life is to assist the women and youth gain social and political empowerment through entrepreneurship and education,” she said, adding that some of initiatives she has championed, based on her mission statement, have been “life-changing.”
Banda cited her setting up of the National Business Women Association of Malawi (NABW) in 1989, a grass-root organization that distributes soft loans to small and medium scale business women, as having been “phenomenal” in economically empowering grassroots women.
The former president later answered a number of questions from the students on various leadership issues, including what challenges she faced as Head of State in a patriarchal set up. She said while challenges will always be there, she enjoyed a lot of support from Malawians, particularly men, which made her life easier as a leader.
She attributed this to her ‘inclusive’ approach to leadership where took everyone on board “regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or religion”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :