Academic journal article International Journal of Humanities and Peace

National Leadership, Education and Understanding among Nations

Academic journal article International Journal of Humanities and Peace

National Leadership, Education and Understanding among Nations

Article excerpt

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.... UN Declaration of Human Rights, 1976

Educational Systems and the Search for Understanding

In human history there are three critical issues that are closely related. These are national leadership, education, and relations among nations. From the time of Moses, when the Children of Israel were struggling to escape from their bondage in Egypt to the Promised Land, to the outcome of the controversial presidential elections in the United States in 2000 and in Zimbabwe in 2002, the question of national leadership has remained a critical component of the evolution of organized society.

Throughout history human hope and aspirations are founded on the belief that individuals in society would rise to the occasion and demonstrate qualities of leadership of their nations from degeneration and decay and to promote its development. Those individuals must demonstrate values in their leadership. These values must originate with the people themselves. National leadership must be based on these values to direct the course of national development. Any national leader who does not respect and observe values has lost the purpose for which he holds that position.

Throughout the world there are few national programs that influence national character more than the educational system. The study of the system of education in any country reveals its economic system, social practice, political system, value system, legal practices, and its relationships with other countries. These combine to form national character. For example, a study of the system of education in the Soviet Union since the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 shows how it has been transformed from seeking to strengthen national institutions to developing relationships with other nations based on its political practices and emerging socialist values (Grant, 1979, 15).

From the beginning of the government of Vladimir Ilyich Ulynov (better known as Lenin) in 1918 to the end of that of that of Joseph Stalin in March 1953 the Soviet Union operated its institutions by applying the philosophy that Lenin expressed at the beginning of his administration, when he stated, "Without teaching there is no learning, without learning there is no knowledge, without knowledge there is no Communism, without Communism society degenerates into capitalistic decay." (Brant, 25). Throughout the period of the Soviet Union before Mikhail Gorbachev came to power the leadership of the Soviet union utilized this philosophy to shape national programs to ensure the security of the state. The question is: How did the Soviet Union as a nation implement this philosophy? When Lenin arrived back in Russia at the time of the revolution in 1917 to direct its course he had made a secret agreement with Germany to work against French and British policy which he did not believe was designed to serve the interests of the Russian people because it appeared to support the position of the Czar. This meant that the Czar himself had to be eliminated. But when the Nazi party came to power in Germany in 1933 Adolf Hitler and his associates immediately adopted a policy hostile to Communists. Communists in Germany shared the same fate as Jews, extermination. The power that the Bolsheviks thought they were having by relegating the people to a lower position than the state tamed out to be their own undoing. Although Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler signed a non-aggression treaty just before the outbreak of the war in 1939 Hitler had no intention of honoring its provisions.

As soon as Nikita Khrushchev came to power in 1958 he utilized the technology that the Soviet people had produced in launching Sputnik to initiate a new kind of national leadership and have relationships with other nations designed to promote the Soviet state. …

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