I am so happy to join the Myanmar Mission as the first Executive Director of the Myanmar Leadership Institute (MLI) which is newly established in Yangon. MLI combines ethics, life skills, analytical skills and professional competencies for a holistic approach to forming leaders in the fields of education, business and civil society in Myanmar. The goal of the institute is to develop leaders whose competence is inspired by compassion and who will contribute to nation building, inclusive prosperity, peace and restoration of human rights for all.

MLI is an initiative of Cardinal Charles Maung Bo and the Myanmar Jesuits under the able leadership of Fr. Mark Raper SJ who has been aspiring to establish an institute of this kind for quite some time. The motto of MLI is Learn to Lead – Lead to Serve. We are all leaders in one-way or the other. Leadership flows from within. It is all about who I am as much as what I am. It is an ongoing process and it is a process of becoming leaders. Good Leaders welcome every opportunity to learn about oneself and the world and look forward to new discoveries and interests. A leader is essentially a pilgrim, not one who has “arrived” at some idealized state of perfection. A leader is the one who is becoming fully human and fully alive - being fully human within and fully alive to the hard realities outside of oneself. Leadership is nothing but a discovery channel and it is a new way of being evangelists and prophets to the poor and the neglected in every society.

Thus our MLI will surely shape the students of Myanmar into agents of social change preparing them well for concerted social action and paving the way to mass movements, which will bring about the desired liberation. We hope that at the end of the programme, graduates will be equipped with a whole person education and prepared for entry to midlevel roles in NGOs, CSOs, religious communities, education and health sectors, government agencies and business sectors. We do hope to form leaders who are not only competent but also compassionate, who are able to think critically and creatively towards serving the common good in line with the values of justice, solidarity and preferential option for the poor and we create leaders who become able, capable and also employable.