This speech is the same as Speech of The Day (282): U.C.A.A. 6TH GRADUATION, wich is dated for the 17th of July 1959!
On June 17,1959, at the Graduation Exercises
of the University College of Addis Ababa, His
Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie I, gave the
"This graduation ceremony is an occasion, not
merely for recapitulating and recounting the fruits of
past efforts in terms of examination results and of degrees
and diplomas awarded, but also for fixing one's sights
upon future accomplishments, obligations and possibilities.
For the sixth time in the history of this College, We
see an imposing group of young men and women graduate
from this institution. Most of you, as in previous
years, will continue your studies and prepare yourselves
for higher degrees and varying careers. But whether
pursuing further studies or going directly into the world,
all of you will soon be embarking upon a new stage
of your lives.
We, therefore, deem it necessary and appropriate,
on this occasion when you of this year's graduating class
look back upon your student years with a measure of
nostalgia and look forward, perhaps with a measure of
understandable apprehension towards your future careers
to speak to you about leaders and leadership.
As you know, leadership is required in all fields and
no field is without its usefulness. During Our visits,
however, to the educational institutions of Our country,
We have noticed, in answer to Our enquiries, that the
percentage of students pursuing courses of study useful
for the development of technology and industry, has been
extremely low. We have, therefore, counselled you to
take up technological and industrial courses in preparing
to over-all programme. The reason for Our introducing
this topic at present is that We have found the number
of those receiving degrees in technological subjects today
to be very small indeed, and wish to impress upon you all
that it is Our desire to see a much larger number of Our
young people benefiting from the resources We have on
Our own and have received as aid from abroad, and
graduating in the fields of technology and industrial
We all know that the need for good leadership in
every walk of life is much greater today than ever before.
Every aspect of living demands guiding hands: business,
the professions, the fine arts, the mechanical arts, all.
And all of you young people, who have been given the
enriching opportunity of an advanced education will in
the future be called upon to shoulder in varying degrees
the responsibilities to leading and serving the nation.
It is Important, however, to remember that leadership
does not mean domination. The world is always
well supplied with people who wish to rule and dominate
others. The true leader is of a different sort: he seeks
effective activity which has a truly beneficent purpose.
He inspires others to follow in his wake, and holding
aloft the torch of wisdom, leads the way for society to
realise its genuinely great aspirations.
You have learnt from your study of history that the
story of nations is often told in terms of the accomplishments
of individuals. In every significant event in
history, you will find a courageous and determined leader,
an inspiring goal or objective, and an adversary who
sought to foil his efforts.
In any normal society, everyone has some opportunity
to show himself as a leader. Even the mechanic or
clerk who has an assistant assigned to him not to speak
of the doctor with all his helpers, or the officer who
commands his troops, is a leader. Within his own
sphere, each has the same opportunities for showing
ability, and the same potential satisfactions as has the
leader of a government. The leader is marked out by
his individual craftsmanship, his sensibility and insight,
his initiative and energy.
Leaders are people, who raise the standards by
which they judge themselves - and by which they are
willing to be judged. The goal chosen, the objective
selected, the requirements imposed, are not merely for
their followers alone. They develop with consummate
energy and devotion their own skill and knowledge in
order to reach the standards they themselves have set.
This whole-hearted acceptance of the demands imposed
by ever higher standards is the basis of all human progress.
A love of high quality, we must remember, is essential
in a leader.
Dependability is another requirement in a leader.
To be dependable is to be willing to accept responsibility,
and to carry it out faithfully. A leader will always be
willing to take counsel from his people, but will often
have to act on what his own mind tells him is right.
This demands that the leader has trained himself out of
any inordinate fear of making mistakes.
To embark successfully on a career involving leadership
demands a courageous and determined spirit.
Once a person has decided upon his life work, and is assured
that in doing the work for which he is best endowed
and equipped, he is filling a vital need, what he then
needs is faith and integrity, coupled with a courageous
spirit, so that, no longer preferring himself to the fulfilment
of his task, he may address himself to the problems
he must solve in order to be effective. One mark of the
great leader is that he feels sufficiently secure to devote
his thought and attention to the well-being of his subordinates
and the perfection of his task, rather than being
constantly worried about the approval or disapproval of
He who would be a leader must pay the price in
self-discipline and moral restraint. This entails the
correction and improvement of personal character, the
checking of passions and desires, and an examplary
control of one's bodily needs and drives.
Leaders have to submit themselves to a stricter self-
discipline and develop a more examplary moral character
than is expected of others. To be first in place, one
must be first in merit as well.
It should not surprise Us then, to find that the greater
number of acknowledged leaders have been people who
trained themselves in the art of discipline and obedience.
He who has not learned to render prompt and willing
service to others will find it difficult to win and keep the
good will and cooperation of his subordinates.
Further, a leader must posses initiative, which is the
creative ability to think in new ways and do new things.
The leader has always to stay ahead. He cannot afford
to set up a procedure, and then fold his hands and linger
lazily watching it work. He cannot be content merely to
see new trends and take advantage of them. He must
keep his imagination vividly alive, so as to originate
ideas and start trends.
A word of warning is in order here. To help one's
subordinates or dependents at the cost of harm to the
public, is tantamount to sacrilege and blasphemy. It
is unfortunate, that many in position of leadership,
both great and small, have been found guilty of such
A good leader is devoted to his work and will
willingly forgo even the demands of sleep to see its
accomplishment. This does not mean that he is im-
petuous. On the other hand, he maintains a balance
between emotional drive and sound thinking.
His labours, which sometimes appear excessive,
derive from his firm realization that unless a man under- .
takes more than he can possibly do he will never be able
to do all he can do. It is his enthusiasm that stimulates
No matter what our point of departure in speaking
of leadership, we reach the inescapable conclusion that
the art of leadership consists in the ability to make people
want to work for you, when they are really under no obligation
to do so.
The true leader is one who realizes by faith that he is
an instrument in the hands of God, and dedicates
himself to be a guide and inspirer of the nobler sentiments
and aspirations of the people. He will kindle interest,
teach, aid, correct and inspire. Those whom he leads
will co-operate with him in maintaining discipline for the
good of the group. He will instruct his followers in the
goals towards which to strive, and create in them a
sense of mutual effort for attaining the goal.
To sum up, there is no power on earth, in this
University or elsewhere, that can take a clerk from his
desk or a mechanic from his bench, and easily mould
him into a leader. To develop oneself, one has to
develop one's own initiative and perseverance – a man
has to strive in order to grow.
As educated people, you will be looked up to, and
much will be expected of you. You will be regarded,
and rightly so, as those who have the necessary knowledge
and the ability to inspire, to guide and to lead. It is for
this reason that we expect from you to whom we have
given the opportunity of education in your chosen fields,
great and productive service to Our country:
These fundamental ideas of which We have briefly
spoken this day, constitute, We presume, part of the
thought that you have absorbed during the course of your
studies in this University College. May these basic
thoughts accompany you during the years ahead and aid
you in accomplishing great things for Our beloved
In conclusion, We would like to express Our thanks
and appreciation to the members of the Faculty and the
Board of this University College for their zealous and
untiring efforts for the growth of knowledge and the
development of character in the young people who learn
We would like especially to entrust Our Vice-
Minister of Education, on the basis of the statement made
by him regarding the expansion and growth of education
in the country, with the high responsibility of assiduously
and untiringly striving to carry out the schemes mentioned
and the decisions made by the Board."
Speeches delivered by His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie Ist Emperor of Ethiopia on various occasions - page 137 -