I’m not the first to say that the virus caught us all off guard. It has forced all leaders on all corners of the world and of all kinds to assume positions to help us cope with the limitations, difficulties, and setbacks that this pandemic has created for us. The revision of many of the technical or academic principles that have been assumed about leadership is imperative for the great leaders of the world. The world has been forced to become more human. This crisis has shown that it affects everyone, regardless of background or circumstance. It has forced us to understand that there are issues that we must face so that we are not caught off guard in the way that this virus has done.
During these troubling times, two speeches from two great leaders have stood out to me and truly made me reflect. First of all, I was moved by Pope Francis’s homily on Easter Sunday. His invitation to reflect, to not give in to indifference, to think of the whole world and not only of ourselves, to fight against divisiveness, is a very welcome and necessary one at this time. It’s time to come together and help each other get through this. These principles challenge even the most established political systems in the world.
On the one hand, they make us question the excess of capitalism or the way in which wealth is distributed, creating so many difficulties and causing so much difference between those who have and those who do not. It is not a matter of criticizing entrepreneurship or private enterprise, or of supporting socialist or communist structures that regulate the economy, in the name of equality but usually in the form of corruption. Thankfully, private enterprises do thrive, and many of these large companies are leading the research to find a solution to the virus. Many of these companies are the ones that are contributing in significant part to help the relief effort. The point is that it is unfortunate to have to reach these critical situations to force these companies to have that supportive and constructive attitude towards their communities.
The second piece was an interview by French President Macron with the Financial Times. In it, he said that instead of separating us and instead of making each country isolate itself, this forces us to review multilateralism and make it more efficient and more just. Today it is the pandemic that leads us to make efforts and seek solutions. However, there are issues such as climate change, terrorism, inequality, education, and health, which we often do not consider in their global context but rather in individual nation regards. This until the day they hit us hard, and that blow affects us all as we have been affected by the COVID-19, at a worldwide level. Leadership must be reviewed and must understand the new reality of globalization. Global priorities need to be established in various areas, and it must be understood that these needs and efforts are worth more than the sovereignty of one nation.
The world of 2020 is undoubtedly a very different world from that of the other great crises that humanity has faced in the past. The world of 2020 faces a crisis in the midst of the emergence, development, and establishment of massive communication mechanisms that, on the one hand, enable these priorities I have mentioned, but that on the other still serve the agendas of different nations. Tools like social media are meant to allow us to receive daily information minute by minute from different parts of the world, different realities, different perspectives,
And different areas of expertise. How different would our situation be if the general wellbeing of the world as a whole were the absolute priority and communication could flow transparently for the sake of it?
It’s time to rethink what world leaders’ priorities should be and time to fully understand that some issues must be addressed with a united front, for all our sakes.