The term ‘hero’ draws various definitions from across the world. As it would be observed, various communities across the world view heroism differently. This would have the meaning that, there are various reasons as to why one can be regarded as a hero or heroine in a particular community. Generally, heroes are people who have shown great commitment and the will for self sacrifice in challenging life circumstances for the good of other people.
Heroes are usually defined based on outstanding personality traits such as courage, wisdom, determination, sacrifice, perseverance, responsibility, fortitude, and compassion for other people, among other qualities (Sanchez, 2000).
As a matter of fact, heroes have always shown up in almost all sectors of life There are many people who have shown great will for self-sacrifice in different areas of life for the good of others, thus manifesting heroism. This paper examines Barack Obama and Sheikh Zayed as some of the most influential leaders in the modern world. Even though the two leaders have shown great heroism in their leadership roles, Obama has been most inspirational in bringing about change in the world.
Barack Obama is the current president of the United States who is regarded as a true hero by many people allover the world. The main reason why he is a hero is based on his strong will to break what seemed an impossible mission to achieve by deciding to run for the US presidency. Previously, Obama had made history as the first black American political figure to have made a significant impact in the US politics for being one of the most influential Senators in the American history.
The rights and privileges of black Americans had been trodden upon in many ways, and this was one of the major reasons why Obama decided to sacrifice his own personal freedom to join the US political arena in 1996. Obama has always stood out as a true hero due to his humble recognition and acknowledgement of his African root and heritage. As a matter of fact, “this is indeed the reason why he is massively celebrated allover the world as the most influential leader in the current world” (Williams, 2008, p. 75).
More importantly, Obama is praised for his many achievements and accomplishments, not only for the Americans, but the whole world. Obama also happens to be a great author who has realized the power of the pen, thus using it to motivate and inspire people allover the world. This is arguably one of the major reasons why Obama has been most inspirational in bringing about change in USA and the entire world.
Obama possesses all qualities of a true hero as it has been revealed through his leadership roles. For instance, Obama is a brave leader and this is evident from his will to take a chance and risk it all by joining the US political arena despite his African heritage. Obama also sacrificed his personal freedom to become president and ensure that Americans were united together as one people, regardless of differences of race, skin color and/or cultural backgrounds (Parameswaran, 2009).
Obama also has great compassion for other people, and this observed from his consistent plea that people should love each other. As a matter of fact, this is a call he personally adheres to in his day to day life as husband, father, and president. Obama is also very determined and only a few leaders in the modern world can match his style. Even though Obama has in some occasions failed to achieve his intentions, this has not deterred him from pursuing his political dream.
His great determination was clearly manifested in his bid to become US president at a time when it was apparent to many that America was not ready for a black President. This strong will was recently observed when Obama contested for a second term in office and emerged the victor in the race amid serious competition.
Sheikh Zayed was the first president of the UAE who reigned for 33 years starting from 1971 to 2004. Zayed was indeed a great leader who was very popular allover the world for his bold contributions and achievements in the UAE. For many years, the UAE had been affected by occasional tensions, and this was the main reason why Sheikh Zayed decided to rise up and fight for change in the region.
Sheikh Zayed was more determined in matters of development and this was one of the many qualities that would enable him to make immense contributions to the Emirates. According to Suliman and Hayat (2011), Zayed was focused on bringing the entire UAE into federation, and this was something that he was very much determined to achieve. As a matter of fact, Zayed’s visionary and heroic character earned him much fame and glory from across the world.
Sheikh Zayed’s heroism is also evident from his charity work and mission. Zayed was one of the wealthiest people in the world according to Forbes’ reports. However, most of his wealth was channeled to struggling Islamic countries allover the world, where it was used for economic development of the regions. Zayed was also an honest and loyal leader. These traits of him were clearly manifested when he turned down a bribe of £30 million in order to pave way for Aramco’s oil exploration in the Saudi territory.
This honesty did not only enable Sheikh lead the Emirates to the desired place, but it also earned him the respect of other global leaders who would emulate his style. Even though Sheikh Zayed was a visionary leader who gave priority to moral values, most of his contributions were focused on Arabic-Islamic civilization. This, however, makes him less inspirational compared to Obama whose impact has extended to all parts of the world.
Similarity of the Leaders’ Impact
As it would be observed, there is much in common in the heroic leadership of Obama and Sheikh Zayed. For instance, both Obama and Zayed are strong-willed leaders who would not rest at anything to see that their leadership aspirations and ambitions are attained. More importantly, the two leaders possess fundamental qualities and virtues that have enabled them to display exemplary leadership styles.
Another outstanding similarity here is that, both leaders have been determined in advocating for the unity of all the people in the world regardless of color, race, culture, and religion differences that have always kept humans apart (Kouzes & Posner, 2010).
More importantly, both Obama and Zayed have played a significant role in promoting and advancing good relations between the Arabs and the rest of the world. While Zayed would do this through the enforcement of Islamic values and principles that encourage unity of mankind, Obama has used his Foreign Policy Plans to enhance good relations among Arabs and other communities around the world.
Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2010). The five practices of exemplary leadership (Vol. 237). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Parameswaran, R. (2009). Facing Barack Hussein Obama: Race, globalization, and transnational America. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 21(6), 45-52.
Sanchez, T. R. (2000). It’s Time Again for Heroes – Or Were They Ever Gone? The Social Studies, 91(2), 58-61.
Suliman, A. M., & Hayat, R. (2011). Leadership in the UAE. Leadership Development in the Middle East, 104(34), 22-27.
Williams, J. (2008). What Obama’s victory means for racial politics. Wall Street Journal, 15(8), 73-78.