Gum Thany grew up believing that aggression and high living were essential qualities for those seeking to become leaders in his country.
“I was greatly influenced by both grassroots and national attitudes that a leader had to be rough, tough, treat citizens as his servants and live an extravagant lifestyle”, the South Sudanese man says.
An encounter with African Enterprise (AE) brought a radical change in his understanding.
Gum, who at the time was secretary-general of the student union at South Sudan’s Juba University, was selected to take part in an AE Peace Building, Reconciliation and Leadership training program, and immediately found his views about leadership being challenged in many ways.
“I have learned that a leader is supposed to be a servant leader and not expect to be served”, he says.
“I have also learned a great deal about the need to shun tribalism and build bridges with other young leaders across ethnic backgrounds.
“And I have learned the importance of ethical and Godly values as essential pillars for any leader who wants to make a difference within their sphere of influence”.
Gum says he’s going to use the knowledge and skills he has acquired through AE to help solve conflicts which might arise at university, and he will encourage others to seek the life-changing understanding which the peace and reconciliation process brings.
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Story provided by Mike Heard, AE Supporter.