Moral and Political Leadership in Asia
FOCUS ASIA 8-9 May 2008
The overall theme for the lectures this spring was moral and political leadership in Asia. After the tsunami catastrophe in 2004 religious leadership became pivotal and for many individual survivors religion became their lifeline. Two lectures addressed Buddhist leadership in the aftermath of the tsunami in Thailand and in Sri Lanka. In Burma, the ongoing struggle for democracy is personalized and founded in Buddhist ethics. Two lectures addressed charisma, power, notions of moral and leadership in Burma and Thailand. The lectures presented ethnic minorities, case studies of Burmese Buddhist monks, kings and politicians. Buddhist leadership is a central issue in the relationship between China and Tibet. One lecture focused on the Dalai Lama.
In post-war Japan, an effective political leadership depended on how effectively a person could operate their environment. The new generation of Japanese leaders today meet the challenges of a more individualistic leadership where personal appeal is of increasing importance. The lectures on aspects of leadership in Japan addressed symbolic leadership, political leadership and generational change. The concept of leadership as an academic discipline in cultural contexts was elaborated in one lecture.
Focus Asia also showed three documentaries, two about the invited Buddhist monk Phrakhru Suwatthithammarat, and the third about Tibet.