Why everybody can be a leader

Sophie Schonbach - Senegal


August 31, 2017

I believe for one to join a program such as Global Citizen Year it takes a rather cheesy, naive and idealistic dreamer. It takes someone who is looking beyond their horizon with an indescribable curiosity to listen to the stories that humans as equal as ourselves are telling every day around the globe. It takes someone who strongly believes that human rights are universal rights, that human rights include every single person on this planet regardless of their ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, financial background or anything else that makes this mother earth as diverse and inspirational as it is. It takes somebody who thinks that in order to solve a problem you have to understand it in the first place and the only way to do so is by listening to the people it affects. It takes somebody who sees the good in every single person and does not judge based on their actions alone but believes that the human behind it always deserves to be treated with kindness.

I believe that anyone can become that somebody and grow even further. Not just by being open to listen to others, to receive criticism and to admit being wrong from time to time, but by understanding that everybody is as caught up in and as convinced by their own reality and perspectives as much as you are, everyone is able to change, grow, develop and contribute to this world in their own way. Every single step, regardless of how little it might be, counts. And by not standing still, but moving you are a part of the change that our planet needs so desperately. You are a leader of tomorrow’s world. As Global Citizen Year’s mission statement claims, this organization is aiming to “build the next generation of leaders”. Being a leader does not mean you have to be the extroverted class monitor or one of the school prefects that everybody likes. Being a leader does not mean you have to be the captain of the local football club and express your opinion in a ted-talk in front of your community. Being a leader does not mean you have to be the next UN ambassador of your country nor the president. But you have to move. As the American author Dan Poynter says: “Each step you take reveals a new horizon. You have taken the first step today. Now, I challenge you to take another.

Sophie Schonbach