Visionary Leadership
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VISION, it is said, is the ability to see things not as they are, but as they will be; it is about that ability to see beyond the immediate. Few men and women in world history are gifted with such visionary qualities, and wherever they are found, it is cause for celebration.

President Dr Irfaan Ali, since assuming office as Executive President, has been demonstrating that he is capable of thinking big. He has shown a remarkable capacity to transcend the ordinary and to put the welfare and well-being of the Guyanese people above partisan interests. His ideas and initiatives are intended to, as it were, lift all boats, both at the national, regional and international levels. His recent calls for the dismantling of trade barriers at the regional level have resonated with people all across the Region.

The same can be said for his advocacy for a more humane and fair global order, one in which developing countries are not saddled with a crippling debt burden and unfair trade practices. His call for the richer countries to make more resources available for climate change mitigating purposes and for a more equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines are just a few manifestations of a mindset that transcends the narrow boundaries of race, nationality and parochialism

The President’s visionary qualities have not gone unnoticed. Several leading personalities and institutions have been high in praise of his sterling contributions to a global architecture encompassing the needs of humanity as a whole, especially those who still remain at the margins of an unjust global economic system. Only recently, the President was invited to deliver the keynote address at the Harvard Business School Macroeconomics of Competitiveness (MOC) workshop. The address was well received by participants and set the tone for more elaborate discussions on the way forward in the field of global competitiveness.

The President during his address took the opportunity to highlight some key developments in Guyana and the plans and strategies his administration is employing to strategically position the country as a major player in regional and international affairs, especially in the context of new opportunities generated by the emerging oil and gas sector. Since taking office just over a year ago, the country has already made significant strides in a number of critical areas such as job creation, housing, greater access to quality education at all levels and removing barriers to education based on urban/rural differences and better health care for all. Oil and gas, the President said, is not an end in itself, but the means to a much greater end, namely, to enhance the quality of life of the Guyanese people and, for that matter, the Region as a whole.

These are indeed forward-looking ideas and initiatives, which has now been shared with a global community of academics and university professors from more than 120 institutions across more than 65 countries which made up the Harvard Business School Macroeconomics of Competitiveness (MOC) workshop.

It is indeed an honour, not only for the President but for the country, to be invited to deliver the keynote address to an esteemed grouping of academics drawn from leading universities, including the Harvard Business School, one of the most prestigious and reputable in the world. The invitation was extended by distinguished American academic Michael Porter in recognition of President Ali’s impressive leadership and ‘strong commitment to making Guyana a global example in the sustainable use of natural resources and endowments to benefit the people of the country.

The MOC Course at Harvard was created in 2002 by Professor Porter and the staff and affiliates of the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness and explores the determinants of competitiveness and successful economic development from the perspective of bottom-up microeconomic model. Professor Porter is himself the recipient of several awards and has to his credit, 24 honorary doctorates.

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