Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Ask the Experts: The Next Generation

What advice do you have for the next generation of leaders? Four experts respond.

Patricia Mercado Answers:

It’s difficult to give advice when you know there is none better than the experience accumulated on one´s own. In politics, more than in any other sector, the greatest truth is that each person must acquire his or her own experiences and lessons; each moment, place and situation that a leader or activist faces is different. I do believe, however, that those of us who hold a leadership position in the public realm aspire to help others develop certain habits for dealing with challenges and opportunities. Based on my experience, three important habits come to mind…

Helen Mack Answers:

In a recent interview, I was quoted as saying that “I am ready to pass the baton.” I say this because I believe that the present belongs to youth. Young people are dynamic and constantly searching for spaces for participation. I had the opportunity, during the election of judges for the Supreme Court in Guatemala, to speak with youth organizations and young professionals, mostly lawyers, regarding the importance of transparency in the process and how to avoid having corrupt lawyers twist justice to ensure impunity for their clients. I was extremely pleased to see that they not only understood these concepts but also the responsibility of their decisions…

Cristián Castaño Contreras Answers:

The new leaders of Latin America must have ideals and honest motives. Politicians of previous generations demonstrated that in becoming involved in politics and getting elected, they generally placed personal interests first,  sacrificing the priorities and well-being of the nation. Idealism does not fade with time; it is exterminated by the ambition for power. But the most profound ambition we expect from those who will be in power is to positively transform society…

Claudia López Answers:

Many in my previous generation grew up resisting military coups and defending their right to vote. They sacrificed their lives to achieve that goal, and their sacrifice paid off. Most likely, for as long as you’ve been alive, you’ve been able to vote.

The democratic challenges you will face will not come from boots or camps but from elected leaders. You will find out that elections and democracy do not always come in the same package. It is easier to give the right to enter into political power than to demand the duty to leave it; and it is far easier to elect political leaders than to hold them accountable…


Tags: Claudia López, Cristián Castaño Contreras, Helen Mack, Patricia Mercado
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