Teachers need to form future leaders

By 
  • March 20, 2008

{mosimage}TORONTO - Senator Romeo Dallaire wants teachers to save Canada. According to the retired general who led United Nations peacekeepers during the Rwandan genocide in 1994, the only thing that can save this country from cynicism, apathy and petty regionalism is leadership.

Unless teachers form young leaders, we’re doomed, Dallaire told 600 Catholic teachers attending the annual Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association gathering in Toronto March 9.

“The power of the youth of this country could be enormous,” said Dallaire in a wide-ranging power-point presentation that covered everything from the end of the Cold War to contemporary management theory.

“We can’t let them move down the road of cynicism. They are the youth of one of the nine most powerful nations in the world.”

In Dallaire’s analysis the problem with Canada’s elites — political, economic, religious, cultural — has been a pronounced preference for management over leadership.

“This country has been well managed,” he said. “The question is, have we been well led? The leadership of the country has been managerial. Do we have the vision? Do we grasp the future?”

The general charged the teachers with forming young people who are leaders, rather than “bureaucratic terrorists.”

“This sense of the status quo, this sense that if it isn’t broke don’t fix it — ladies and gentlemen, there is no status quo,” Dallaire said.

As in most of his speeches, Dallaire also put in a plug for Canada’s military as an opportunity for idealistic young Canadians.

“The missions are just. They are the missions of our nation,” he said.

The teachers rose several times to give Dallaire standing ovations.

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