September 25, 2020
Dear McCain Institute Family and Followers,
The virus made the world come to a complete standstill, and this changed the plans of every single person on the planet. From our kids to our elders. While we are in a serious need to completely reimagine our lives and our plans for the future, at the same time, the pandemic brought us together, at least virtually, to stop and think for a moment.
My leadership action plan is bold and ambitious. My goal is to influence the change in the leadership and political culture starting with Montenegro, the Western Balkans region, and to continue to create bridges with regions dealing with similar transitional challenges. Ukraine, Belarus, Caucasus, Middle East. Those are some of the global security friction zones, and character-driven leadership is needed here more than in other places.
Since the last December, we had quite a rough political situation in the country with a series of protests, and Montenegro once again gained global attention. I was invited to speak on numerous panels organized by international organizations and companies. I was also invited to comment on the situation in the country for global media. At one point I realized that the crisis may be an opportunity. The gap in the society was deep, equal, or similar to what American society is experiencing right now. Worth mentioning is that Montenegro also held parliamentary elections in the middle of the pandemic on August 30th. The result of the election was a surprise for many. Thirty years rule of one man came to an end. The new government is comprised of a very colorful coalition of coalitions with ideologies ranging from far left to far right, and that is why Montenegrin society needs character-driven leadership maybe now more than ever.
Even before the elections, I decided to adapt my plan to my life goals and the environment I lead-in. Before, I wanted to create a physical place for a regional leadership academy. Instead, I decided to start where I am and to use what I have. I started talking with friends and contacts and decided to use my global network to share successful and inspiring leadership stories through my social networks.
The trigger for me to start with the Leadership Talks was the situation in Belarus, where my fellow NGL Yaroslav Bekish was experiencing and still experiences repression by an undemocratic regime, and a bad leader who committed the electoral fraud and caused country-wide protests, which he is unsuccessfully trying to suppress now by force. I called Yaroslav to see how he was doing and spontaneously we decided to record the conversation for the Montenegrin public. Our conversation got attention from Montenegrin media and Yaroslav was invited to give the two-page interview for the biggest Montenegrin daily newspaper. It was even featured on the cover page that day.
I continued with the Leadership Talks series and I am doing two per week right now. I talked with two members of our NGL family, several diplomats, professors from the US-based universities, politicians, and civil society leaders from Montenegro and abroad. My idea is to continue doing the train the trainer’s program this way and to have many global leaders as lecturers.
We need to use our global NGLs network and interact more. I see great potential in it. Working together with Ambassador Green, having his international development experience with the USAID as a valuable asset, and together with the ASU international development team – we can make many good things happen globally.