With the 2009 Leadership Prize for his overall project as a politician and prime minister of Greece, George A. Papandreou was honored by the International Leadership Association (ILA) at a special event held during the 19th Annual Conference in Brussels.
More than 1500 leading personalities from around the world – the academic community, civil society, business and politics – participated in the event.
The President of the Social Democrat Movement and President of the Socialist International had an opportunity to talk about Greece yesterday, today and tomorrow, before an audience that shapes internationally the course of things that concern the world community. its comparative advantages, but also the course of Europe.
In his address, George A. Papandreou, when receiving the honorary prize, referred to the importance of leadership, but in the light of democratic governance and the involvement of citizens in meeting modern challenges, a practice that highlights and really useful leaders, among other things, said: “In our time we are experiencing the following paradox: We have created a unique, interconnected, complex global” village “, but we have not done much in managing this complexity. We have created tools and can now overturn dictatorships or business giants, but there is no button that will create the new one at its fingertips. We have developed superhuman technologies that multiply every day. But we have not responded to the key challenge: How do we use it? The gods of Ancient Greece would tell us that the dilemma is moral, they would tell us that it is not for the first time for the man and would draw our attention to the possible humiliation. Heraclitus attributes that he said “everything takes” – everything is changing. The breadth of change today, however, the liquidity of things, the degree of change, and instability are unprecedented. Unique constant, it seems to be the constant change of everything at a rapid pace.
In this context, now more than ever, I appreciate the wisdom of my good friend, Ron Heifetz, who would tell us that there are no easy solutions, there is no button that we will press and everything will make. So what can a leader do in these circumstances? Believe in the potential of our communities. People, collectively, have the ability to envision a better world and shape it together. Together, inclusive, responsibly. Hoping. Emancipation must become the overarching goal of politics. As a compass for each leader. Especially in our time, facing the challenges of the complexity of our world. We must tackle inequality, overcome the deficit of Justice, find convincing responses to the insecurity brought about by rapid technological changes in the globalized community. The crisis has become the new regularity. I am very cautious towards those who speak of powerful leadership while “tweaking” the thirst to divide their societies, cancel the capabilities of the citizens, invent enemies, build walls and hopes for machine-gods and false hopes, poisoning a deficit trust, hatred, fear, racism, fellow human beings against diversity, instead of cultivating mutual understanding and kindness. These are not examples of strong leadership, nor are they building healthy societies. We will not be defeated by such voices.
George A. Papandreou, concluded his speech, stressing: “We ought to trust the capabilities of our peoples. May the role of the leader today look like a walker in the desert without a compass. But if we show faith in the collective dynamics of our societies for innovation, kindness, solidarity, we will have the best compass on the road to humanizing globalization. My most sincere thanks for this prize. “
The former President of the European Council, Herman van Romney, referring immediately to the personality, work, and contribution of George A. Papandreou, spoke with a strong warmth of the effort he made as Prime Minister in the first difficult period of the crisis, in order to highlight the importance of the crisis parameters for Greece and Europe, but also to signal the need for a common European effort to address the current challenges, in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation, towards introversion, prejudices and divisions.
A longtime public servant and the Prime Minister of Greece from 2009 to 2011, George Papandreou understands leading in turbulent times. As Minister of Foreign Affairs, in 1999 Papandreou spearheaded the Greek-Turkish rapprochement and was a staunch supporter of Turkey’s candidacy in the EU. His election as prime minister after the devastation of the global financial crisis of 2007-2008 came with a mandate to increase transparency and reduce corruption in Greece’s government while humanizing globalization and its economic effects on Greek citizens. Challenged by time and global financial markets, he made the difficult decision to implement austerity programs and cuts to appease the Eurozone. For his work in 2010 of “making the best of Greece’s worst year,” Foreign Policy Magazine named him a Top 100 Global Thinker. His experiences on the front lines of the Eurozone crisis provide an important lens for understanding Europe today and the continuing struggle, globally, to build inclusive, humane economies. Currently, as President of the Socialist International, a worldwide organization of progressive political parties, Papandreou continues to work on globalizing democratic institutions to meet the global economic challenges and challenges of the imagination that impede a fairer, more just world.