Raising Egypt’s next generation of leaders

Ahmed al-Muslemany
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Egypt should be the country of one million leaders since the political elite should be made up of one percent of the country’s 100 million people.

Egypt presented its model of direct democracy to the world through the million-man marches. However, it currently needs champion a new million-man march.

Political million-man marches occurred on the basis of “quantity.” However, a civilized million-man march must be based on “quality.” It marks the process of passing from the era of “activists” to the era of “experts” and from the era of “loyalists,” who molded the present, to the era of the “distinguished” who will make the future.

We must realize that the pool of Egyptian elite has shrunk. The public opinion exclusively considers certain figures, who frequently appear on television satellite channels and during conferences and seminars, to constitute the total number of Egyptian elite.

This decay of Egyptian elite has become shameful and terrifying, and the whole matter now requires reconsideration.

Some will say that there are thousands of distinguished men in all fields, but thery are not at the forefront of politics in Egypt. They would also say that if the competencies of Egyptian people had been worked upon, the ordeal of decay would have ended by now.

I admit this is totally true. But transforming these statements into action requires an initiative, a mechanism and a roadmap. After the glorious Jan. 25 revolution, I tried to be one of those making efforts towards this aim of expanding the ranks of the Egyptian elite. But developments following the revolution and the governing experience of Mohammad Mursi didn’t provide a chance for this. When the glorious June 30 revolution erupted, and when in the wake of it, I was honored to be assigned as consultant of the president, I suggested implementing this goal through the initiative of “the new leaders.”

The initiative

The first time I brought this initiative up and called for it was during a ceremony honoring the academic excellence of high school students on July 22, 2013. The first time I “politically” called for it was during my meeting with al-Tagammu party’s chief and members at the beginning of September this year. After I suggested the initiative of “the new leaders” to the public opinion in al-Tagammu party, it was widely accepted among youths whom I met two delegations of. I was honored to meet these two delegations, which included youths from several political and social parties and movements, at al-Itihadiya palace on Sept.17 and Sept. 22.

The decay of the Egyptian elite has become shameful and terrifying, and the whole matter now requires reconsideration

Ahmed al-Muslemany

Many highly-educated and sophisticated figures have contacted me ever since I brought the initiative up. Some recently told me that they have begun establishing and adopting the initiative of “the new leaders” through a non-governmental forum and that they have begun preparing the official procedure required to move forward.

The idea of the “new leaders” is the idea of the future. How can a new republic be built? How can Egypt overcome the phase of “waiting” and move towards the phase of “taking off?” How can we formulate a real roadmap towards 2020 Egypt or even 2050 Egypt, like modern countries do? I was member of the research team that worked on the famous study “Egypt 2020” which was sponsored by Dr. Kamal al-Janzouri in 1998. I worked with my teachers, Ismail Sabri Abdullah, Ibrahim al-Isswi and Mokhtar al-Halouji, on the part about the relationship between political sciences and natural sciences. It was very sad when this project was cast away and when Dr. Atef Obeid had to bury what was achieved. The efforts of one hundred experts and researchers were lost due to an irresponsible official.

In the wake of the January revolution, I and a number of activists tried to establish an initiative called “Tanta 2020.” After that, I met distinguished activists from the al-Qalyubia governorate who had already began working on a project called “Banha 2020.” I recently met an impressive group of young elite who are working on an integrated project full of knowledge and hope and entitled “Kafr al-Sheikh 2020.”

I am a very optimistic person, and there are many youths out there who are more optimistic than I am. It’s important for all these distinguished people to unite within the comprehensive context of launching the future’s leaders.

The U.S. has a similar institution. Its task is to work with teachers and those in charge of the educational process and train them on how to support children’s capabilities and skills and thus prepare the latter to become future leaders. They tell their children: “You are all qualified for success. You are all qualified to lead. Your country is waiting for you.” There’s also a similar institution which is a non-governmental organization and which does not aim to make profit and says it does not support any political party. Its officials announced they finished training 1600 new leaders in the period between 2006 and 2013. They added they are looking forward to train 10,000 new leaders by 2020.

Egypt needs such an institution in order to renew and aggrandize the Egyptian elite. The new elite must be ready to take power. It’s not beneficial that they only aim to attain a certain position or struggle over power. The greater and nobler aim is building the country and fulfilling the achievement of the civilized Egyptian project.

Egypt needs a pool of elite large enough to fill the posts of the presidency, the premiership, ministries, governorates, companies, institutions, syndicates and provincial councils.

This article was first published in al-Masry al-Youm on Nov. 12, 2013.


Ahmed al-Muslemany is a presidential spokesman and media advisor to interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour, Previously, Muslemany was a journalist and TV presenter, hosting a daily news analysis show on Egyptian and Middle Eastern current affairs.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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