The Importance of Student Leadership: MCN Testimonial

Good student leadership is essential for our world's future. The Millennium Campus Network is making it their mission to create a new generation of ethical, effective, and engaged student leaders. Samuel Akinsola, a young leader from Botswana, agrees with MCN's mission.

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Samuel currently has a "masters attestation in International Relations at University of Tartu (Estonia) and Hons in Network Engineering at Botho University." He was selected to be a delegate at MCN's 2015 annual conference (MCC15) in New York City at the United Nations Headquarters; but unfortunately, he was unable to attend. Despite not being able to attend, Samuel kept up with all things MCN as the organization's mission is much in tune with his own mission. He hopes to attend MCC17 in Morocco!

In an interview with Samuel, MCN asked him about his own personal experiences with leadership. He paused before stating, "When I was young, I thought that leadership was only meant for people that were really educated and had a lot money." He went on to say that he thought he couldn't be a leader because of his previous underprivileged background. But he soon realized that good leadership didn't rely solely on those qualities- there are many attributes that make someone fit for leadership. Leadership looks different on everyone.

Moreover, being a leader takes practice. Samuel learned from experience that it is extremely important to respect and communicate with the people that you are leading. He recalled a time when he called out a team member in an online group chat for not listening to established communication rules. While it was important to speak to the member about his or her behavior, Samuel realized that it would have been better to speak to the member in person and in private, rather than in a public online forum. When working with others, it is essential to be respectful and patient. 

Patience is an attribute that all leaders must have according to Samuel. He said, "a leader must have patience with who he or she is leading." To be patient is to listen and understand each individual's strengths and weaknesses. A patient leader will be effective because he or she understands their team and will work with them to attain success.

Samuel and others with Angela Merkel at Youth 20 Dialogue

Samuel and others with Angela Merkel at Youth 20 Dialogue

Samuel ended the interview with advice to future leaders and young people. He said, "[young leaders] should be able to understand real world issues in depth- [they should understand] the real issues that affect humanity." On a recent trip to Germany for the Youth 20 Dialogue, Samuel listened to German chancellor Angela Merkel and others discuss a number of topics, one of which was that "young people want to be leaders, but they lack the understanding of real world issues." Young people should be equipped with knowledge on a number of issues and not be narrow minded. For instance, if one "wants to study music, then study music; but also go out and volunteer- put oneself in other people’s shoes, feel their pain, and be a part of their joy."

MCN is proud to support young leaders, such as Samuel, as they make positive impact on this world and share their vision of leadership that is more ethical, effective, and engaged.