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Obama’s Lessons for Leadership in A Time of Change

The President’s speech to the nation last night was primarily billed as his chance to plead his case to the nation for the ongoing military intervention in Libya. But slipped into his remarks was a primer on 21st century leadership in a time of change, a topic Life in Beta is particularly interested in. Here were Mr. Obama’s take-home messages for any leader: 1) Change comes at you in two main forms: the easy kind, and the hard kind. The popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia are exhilarating examples of regime change in the Middle East. Our eight-year struggle in Iraq is quite the opposite. Obama cited both examples as he raised hopes and managed expectations in Libya, making it clear that we’re not pledging a long-term military intervention. 2) Circumstances change. Values don’t. Obama made a strong humanitarian case for intervention. “When our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsiblity to act,” he argued. 3) Agility is to your advantage. Obama pointed out proudly that in the early 90s, when Milosevic was perpetrating genocide in Bosnia, it took President Bill Clinton nearly a year to muster a military response; in the case of Libya, the President’s diplomatic team, headed by Hillary Clinton, formed a coalition and moved to action within 31 days. No doubt social media has helped keep the current Mideast upheaval top of mind for both the public and politicians here at home. 4) Collaboration is the new leadership. In announcing the turnover of command of the Libyan operation to NATO, Obama articulated a new philosophy of American power: whenever possible, we don’t act alone. We seek to work with allies and use our influence and expertise to help spread our values around the world. “Real leadership creates the conditions and coalitions for others to step up as well,” Obama said, a statement that’s as true whether you are running a design firm, a large corporation, a university, or a country. Read the original post at Fast Company.
diyu Anya Kamenetz is the author of DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education.

Columbia, Brown, and 15 More Universities Join Coursera’s Free Online Platform

Coursera, the platform for “massively open online courses” founded by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng of Stanford, announced today that it has doubled its number of university partners. The new roster includes several global institutions. Since its debut earlier this year, 1.3 million people have signed up for a free six- to ten-week Coursera class, […] Read More..

Artisanal U.: The Radical Potential of College Without the Classroom

From GOOD magazine. Published December 2, 2011. Joyce Alcantara grew up in Rhode Island with her mom, three sisters, two nieces, and a cousin. Her dad, incarcerated in Florida, isn’t really a part of her life. Alcantara had trouble with classes her senior year in high school and almost dropped out; her saving grace was […] Read More..

Why College Is Not A Bubble (Except For The University Of Phoenix)

The college-is-a-bubble meme just keeps growing. Student-loan debt surpassed credit-card debt for the first time in history last year. Tuition is rising at three times the rate of inflation, and there are growing concerns about the quality of education offered at even our nation’s fanciest schools. Meanwhile, prominent venture capitalist Peter Thiel is paying young […] Read More..

Top Ways to Save Money at College

College tuition at public universities is up 24 percent in just the last five years. With graduation right around the corner, many high school seniors and their families are wondering how they can save on one of the biggest expenses they’ll face. Assuming you’ve already made your choice of colleges, here are some top ways […] Read More..

My Latest Presentation; A Little Piece in the Times

This is the first time I’ve put up a set of slides for DIY U on Slideshare, an omission which obviously violates the principles of intellectual openness that I go around promoting. The reasons I would give for not doing it until now would be the same that any professor would give, I imagine: that […] Read More..