Cultivating Leaders for Civility
As leaders for civility in their professions and in their communities, Alfie Scholars are aware of the fragile state of our planet and civilization, aware of their own vulnerability and that of others, and aware that we must come together in our shared humanity or we will perish.
Effective leaders have a strong sense of and acceptance of themselves. They have embraced their authentic selves, both their gifts and their challenges. They remain curious and open-minded. They move in harmony with the purpose of their life. And with a humble confidence, leaders for civility share their message as they work to influence outcomes for the greater good. Effective leaders lead wherever they find themselves, whether it is in a formal leadership role or informally in conversation with others. They lead with a strong voice, and even those who are naturally quiet find ways to speak their truth.
Our scholars’ life-experiences are a rich source of ideas, perspectives, emotions, and values that create their story and shape their voice. We believe that our scholars need to hear their own voice, that their communities need to hear their voices, and that our society and world need to hear their voices.
First, our scholars need to hear their own voice. Finding, strengthening, and articulating their voice is part of their individual evolution and liberation. Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” As our scholars better understand their own life’s journey, they will find a greater significance and purpose for their life, and this greater understanding will enable them to meaningfully share their story with others.
Second, our scholars’ voices need to be heard by their communities. According to Martin Luther King Jr., “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Thus, speaking up is essential to our scholars’ own survival and necessary for their communities. As members of the educated elite, our scholars are each a representational voice for their communities. Thus, when their communities hear our scholars’ voices, they will feel included and valued. And when others outside their immediate communities hear our scholars’ voices, they will have a greater capacity to understand new perspectives. With civility, our scholars are groomed to advocate for those who are disenfranchised and disempowered, while at the same time, the scholars work to help their communities strengthen their own voices so that they can advocate, in turn, for themselves and others.
Finally, our society and world need to hear our scholars’ voices because with civility, they will find ways to demonstrate compassion for themselves and others, even for those who oppress and even for those who damage others and the environment. As Gandhi said, “In a gentle way you can shake the world.” In this way, our scholars’ voices can be a catalyst for healing.