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Achievement Curriculum: Module 1: Student Handout
 

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WHAT IS A LEADER

The Hon. Willie L. Brown, Jr.
Former Mayor of San Francisco


You're going to be vilified. You're going to be accused of every high crime and low misdemeanor there is. Your sanity is going to be questioned. Your integrity -- to its soul -- is going to be questioned. Your just unadulterated honesty is going to be questioned. And if you let any of that interfere with you, if you let that define who you are, you should get out of this business. I don't let anybody define who Willie Brown is, except Willie Brown. I stopped speaking in the third person a long time ago, but to make this point, I'd have to do it that way. No one defines me for me. I've got the self-confidence that what I do and how I do it is consistent with what's in the best public interest. All I have to do is sell it. And so far I've been able to do that. That's my shield.

[ Interview ] Willie Brown


General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
Commander, Operation Desert Storm


The troops. The troops sometimes make it all worthwhile. I mean, they really do, it's great to be with them. Someone once said, when it quits getting fun, you ought to get out. And I say, whoever said that has never been a leader of troops. Because I can think of a lot of times when it wasn't fun at all, but it's a series of emotional peaks and valleys. And what you hope is that you have more peaks than you do valleys, and you do. So, it's the combination of the fact that you're serving something beyond yourself. And the challenge of leadership when you're leading huge numbers of people, all of that together is why you stay with it.



Norman Schwarzkopf: I give a lecture and it goes like this to leaders. I say, how many of you people learned something about how to do your present job by screwing it up the first time? I say, my goodness. How can you then possibly say, no mistakes in this outfit? How can you not allow yourself mistakes? You're not giving yourself a freedom to fail because I don't believe in the word failure. You're giving yourself the latitude to learn. I've learned most things I know how to do well, probably, by screwing it up the first time.

[ Interview ] Norman Schwarzkopf


The Hon. James E. (Jimmy) Carter, Jr.
39th President of the United States


Jimmy Carter: People ask me, "How did you stand the long campaigning? How did you stand being charged with the responsibilities of a great nation, one of the most powerful and difficult jobs in the world?" It wasn't any more difficult than picking cotton all day or shaking peanuts. There is an equality there. If you have a task to perform and are vitally interested in it, excited and challenged by it, then you will exert maximum energy. But in the excitement, the pain of fatigue dissipates, and the exuberance of what you hope to achieve overcomes the reluctance.

[ Interview ] Jimmy Carter



Jimmy Carter: What people forget is that the original treaty with Panama was written and signed without any Panamanian ever seeing it. It was never fair to the Panamanians, and most people recognize that. President Johnson gave his word of honor to the Panamanians, "We will have a new treaty." So did President Nixon and President Ford. But it was only when I got into office that I was foolish enough to push it to a conclusion. The treaty is very fair to our country and to the Panamanians. It gives us first priority in using the Canal. It gives us the right to defend the Canal against external threats, not only in this century but even in the next century. And it forms a sharing partnership in operating the Canal. When I was there during the Panamanian elections, which we helped to conduct, I visited the Canal and the American leaders there, and they told me that the Canal was in better shape than it had been in many, many years. Because the Panamanians, knowing that they now have a share in the future of the Canal, were much more enthusiastic in upkeep and maintenance and learning how to be the leaders in ways that they hadn't been before. This was the worst political battle I ever got into. It was more difficult to get the Panama Canal Treaties ratified by two-thirds of the Senate of the United States than it was for me to get elected President in the first place. It was a very deep and bitter political battle, and many people still haven't gotten over it. I never go through a week of my life now that I don't get letters from people condemning the Panama Canal Treaties. Still, and this is I don't know how many years later. 1978? Thirteen years later. But it was a good thing to do.

[ Interview ] Jimmy Carter


The Hon. Benazir Bhutto
Former Prime Minister of Pakistan


Benazir Bhutto: It was a victory for women everywhere. I would really realize that when I won and I got so many letters from other Muslim women, and more than that, from women within my own country who felt that it was not decent to work. I don't know why. It's a strange thing to say today, but in those days people thought that it was indecent for a woman to work and "good women" (in inverted commas) didn't work. It was a very strange world of divisions, and it liberated women. They said, "The prime minister is a woman, why can't we work?" I remember being told a story about a lady who wanted to be a pilot, and went for an interview and the chairman, who happened to be from the armed forces, laughed and said, "Come back to me when we have a woman prime minister." Well she did, and she got the job and now there are more woman pilots too.



Benazir Bhutto: In life there are challenges, but I think leadership is very much predicated on the capacity to absorb defeat and overcome it. Now, after having been in politics for more than two decades, I have come to the strong conclusion that the difference between somebody who succeeds and somebody who fails is the ability to absorb a setback. Because on the road to success there will be setbacks, and there are those who give up, and those who say that, "No, we are going to go on." So it's that capacity to absorb a failure.

[ Interview ] Benazir Bhutto



Benazir Bhutto: For me idealism has been the motivation. I think power for itself is useless. If it was just power, how could one -- politics is an obsession. You cannot just be in politics -- or if you really want something -- it is not an eight to five job. It's an around the clock job. So if it was just power I think it would be very empty. I think idealism is very important. The need to change, to bring about change. I feel that life is like -- or society is like -- a canvas, and that if we get office you are given an opportunity to paint it. And it is up to you whether you make a good picture or whether you make a bad picture. I think it is very, very important to have ideals, because when one has ideals one thinks the suffering is worth it. And for me the suffering has been worth it because I think I could change things, and I am still idealistic and I am still optimistic. And people tell me, "Why are you still idealistic and optimistic?" And I say, "Because there could be ten people who are bad, but there are 90 people who are good."

[ Interview ] Benazir Bhutto


A Tribute to Women Leaders
In the video segments, Benazir Bhutto calls becoming Prime Minister of Pakistan "a victory for women everywhere." There have been few female leaders in history, but weather women have lead an entire nation, like Bhutto and Margaret Thatcher, or have presided over a prestigious corporation or university, like Johnetta Cole, women have be known to take the helm and really made a difference. Read Bhutto's interview in the Gallery of Public Service. Using the Resource Links, investigate other women leaders in history, selecting one to focus on for this project. What motivated this leader? How did she contribute to society? What obstacles did she overcome? What was her philosophy of leadership? Create a multi-media tribute to this leader, blending a montage of images with written text about her life and achievements.

Historical Leader Trivia Quiz
What defines a leader? There are as many answers to that question as there are leaders in the world. Though they come from highly diverse backgrounds and philosophies, all leaders share the ability to inspire great numbers of people to a single cause or goal. A leader has the ability to unite people and help them achieve things that they thought were impossible. Using the Resource Links, conduct a survey of past leaders of nations, cities, social movements, religions, agencies and/or institutions. Chose five of your favorite leaders, taking note of interesting facts about their lives. Collect twenty interesting facts and use them to create an online historical, multiple-choice trivia quiz with which to baffle your friends and family.

Historical Fiction Project
One of the most enjoyable ways to learn about history is through historical fiction. Historical fiction allows us to imagine what a period of time was really like, rather than simply memorizing a list of dates. Using the Resource Links, investigate examples of historical fiction. Then, conduct a survey of past leaders of nations, cities, social movements, religions, agencies and/or institutions. Chose one leader and select a single episode from his or her life. Write a short historical fiction story about this episode. The episode doesn't have to be the most important event in that person's life. For example, if you were writing about George Washington, you might choose the time he cut down the cherry tree instead of the day he became the first president of the United States. While your story should be factually accurate, feel free to elaborate with details regarding clothes, weather, dialogue, scents, setting and even the inner thoughts of your characters. However, try to make sure your fictional details would have been possible during that time period.

Presidential Aspirations
In the video segments, former United States president Jimmy Carter says "We can drift along as though there were still a cold war, wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on weapons that will never be used, ignoring the problems of people in this country and around the world, being one of the worst environmental violators on earth. . . or we can take these things on as true leaders ought to and accept the inspiring challenge of America for the future." Read Carter's interview in the Gallery of Public Service. Imagine you are campaigning for the United States presidency. How would you respond to Carter's call to "accept the inspiring challenges" that America faces? What qualities do you have that would make you a good leader? Create a list of what your priorities would be, as president. Then write a speech about the direction in which you would like to take the United States, outlining your priorities and goals. Finally, create a plan for your campaign website, where you will post your speech.



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