Former UN Secretary-General and 2001 Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan says the characteristics of good leaders are judgment, discipline, compassion, a keen sense of what's right and wrong, concern about community and a dedication to service.
Annan, who died Saturday at the age of 80, had returned to Minnesota on May 7, 2018, to speak at his alma mater, Macalester College, for the dedication of the Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship. He graduated in 1961.
In conversation with Macalester president Brian Rosenberg, Annan said "good leaders must be good listeners, and above all, a good leader must be a good follower," meaning they should follow the good ideas of others.
"Leaders who are populist, nationalist and xenophobic," Annan said, "have tapped into something. The world is changing fast. They are disoriented." Annan blamed "to some extent, mainstream politicians who promise easy solutions."
Annan said "the social contract between the government and the people has broken down in many countries and it has to be re-established. Trust is gone. Trust has to be re-established."
Beware, Annan said, of "facile promises" from "strong leaders who have no idea how they are going to keep them." Annan also commented on the situation in the world's current hot spots, the impact of social media, and shared his experience as a black man in America in 1959.
To listen to their conversation, click on the audio player above.