Despite his suffering he was a man who showed a great deal of compassion, understanding and forgiveness. He was a humble man who spoke passionately about human rights and always captivated his audience by his way of delivery. He was also willing to listen to the opinions of others and debate issues with people who did not always agree with him. Mandela once said:
“A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don't have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.”
On Wednesday evening, I had the pleasure of being on the judging panel for the Year 5 and Year 6 debate final. I observed BIS students who showed us great leadership and debating skills which, I am sure, would have impressed even Mr. Mandela. Two teams from Year 5 debated against each other as did two teams from Year 6. One team was for the motion and the other against; each team comprising four students. In turns, the students had the opportunity to speak for a period of time with cross examinations between the teams. They set an extremely high standard: each student spoke with clarity, authority and passion. It was clear that they had prepared thoroughly and researched so much information about each motion. Importantly, they listened carefully to each other’s viewpoint and asked pertinent questions of each other when appropriate. I thoroughly enjoyed each debate and we, as the judging panel, had a very difficult job to pick the winning teams. Congratulations to all the students and staff who made this event such a special occasion and I am so pleased that BIS HCMC is developing young people to be the leaders of the future. Hopefully, in due course, these young people will be the adults that Nelson Mandela referred to above and will be great influences on society to ensure that it is not arrogant, superficial or uninformed.
I do hope that you all have a wonderful weekend.
Anthony Rowlands, Principal