Founder of the Joyce Banda Foundation International (JBFI) and Malawi’s former President, Joyce Banda on Saturday, October 22, 2016, delivered a Lecture at the University of Redlands’ Homecoming and Parents Weekend Celebration in the State of California, United States.
.The Lecture, whose title was “Redefining Leadership to Advance Social Justice Through Individual Action,” was part of University of Redlands’ Convocation and Lecture Series.
Banda said she was honored to deliver the lecture, which she said was an opportunity to share ideas “as we engage to add new insights to the concept of ‘redefined leadership’, as an emerging leadership perspective”. Dr. Banda explained that ‘redefined leadership’ is a new leadership approach that is people-centered and not leader-centered.
Said Joyce Banda: “It is about a leader who realizes the fact that power is with the people and that as a leader, it is incumbent upon you to put in place systems and structures that will ensure promotion and protection of citizens’ rights and interests. It is about a leader who fully appreciates the potential and capabilities of all and therefore creates a conducive environment for all to participate in all spheres of social, economic and political life regardless of race, tribe, region, religion and many more other grounds”.
“As I have said many times before, leadership is a love affair. As a leader, you fall in love with the people; and the people fall in love with you. It is an emotional phenomenon founded and built on mutuality, common good and shared vision between the leader and the people,” she explained.
Banda, who is also founder and leader of the People’s Party (PP), further said that the philosophy of servant leadership entails having a conviction and, above all, accepting the fact that what is in the best interest of all prevails over what is in the interest of you, as a leader.
She further explained that servant leadership is also about making and shaping systems that put the rights and welfare of the all citizenry at the center from the margins and give the citizenry the right tools to lift themselves out of poverty and national wealth benefitting the masses and not only those in positions of power or the selected few.
Nelson Mandela, the first black President in the post-apartheid era in South Africa, who was highly committed to his cause of creating a fair and just society for all; Professor John Atta Mills who served as President of Ghana from 2008 to 2012 before he suddenly died in office on July 24, 2012; Martin Luther King, the renowned US civil rights campaigner who spoke out against social, economic, legal and political injustices against African Americans and whose leadership had not only helped America to move on the path of equal rights and justice for all but has also inspired hundreds of thousands of people in many parts of the world into action against racism, poverty and many other forms of injustices; Sir Seretse Khama, Botswana’s founding President at independence; and President Jimmy Carter, who served as the 39th President of the United States from 1977 to 1981, whose tireless efforts have brought about genuine peace and development throughout the world, were some examples of servant leaders Banda cited.
Jacob Khuri, who was in charge of organizing the university’s Convocation and Lecture Series hailed Banda for her selflessness and acceptance to be part of that occasion. Each year, the university invites eminent speakers to the campus who have an interesting story. Past speakers include Landon Donovan and Laverne Cox. “Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert served as the keynote speaker during the 2015 homecoming celebration.
Prior to organizing this year’s speaker series, ASUR distributed surveys to the university community to gauge interest. Of the 400 surveyed, Banda emerged the number one choice.
Said Khuri: “I think she has an interesting voice and has a global perspective that’s needed on a college campus. She is a very powerful woman and a good role model for our students.”
Joyce Banda is currently a distinguished fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC, researching on women’s leadership in the public sector.