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Advancing Sustainable Global Governance through Visionary Leadership since 1961

Visionary Leadership Speeches


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How to use this series They include speeches made by visionary leaders, which had tremendous influence in diverse areas including: business, international relations, politics, human rights, science, finance, innovation and technology. These visionary leaders delivered transformational change to society and inspired millions with the power of their words and the clarity of their vision.

Icon system shows key concepts behind speech

Speech Title

Name of visionary leader giving speech. Small profile of each leader at the back of each publication Keywords include key topics in the speech

Publication reading time to plan reading

Links give access to multimedia sources and video content for more inspiration


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The Visionary Leadership Speeches Series This growing series aims to provide the reader with examples of Visionary Leadership by selecting the best material and speeches that aimed to change or transform society and the world. Creatively designed to enhance the reading experience.

Albert Einstein. Peace in the Atomic Age 5 pages Reading Time: 2 min

A plea for the unification of governments into one central system of law and for governments to put an end to repression and bring about peace through nuclear disarmament.

George Wald. A Generation in Search of a Future 15 pages Reading Time: 14 min

Affected by the restlessness and paralysis he observed in his students during the Vietnam War, Wald advocates for a return to universal values.

Aung San Suu Kyi. Opening Keynote Address, NGO Forum on Women 12 pages Reading Time: 9 min

A call for empowerment of women through education “which cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful life for all”.

John F. Kennedy.A Vision for World Peace in an Age of Nuclear Threats 15 pages Reading Time: 14 min

Kennedy calls on the Soviet Union to work with the United States to achieve a nuclear test ban treaty and help reduce the considerable international tensions and the spectre of nuclear war at that time.


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The Visionary Leadership Speeches Series

Mahatma Gandhi. Quit India 7 pages Reading Time: 5 min

Gandhi’s impassioned issue to the nation for dedicated but non-violent resistance shortly before his arrest.

Nelson Mandela. Address to Rally in Cape Town on his Release from Prison 9 pages Reading Time: 7 min

After a quarter century in jail, Nelson Mandela, the leader of the South African National Congress, was released and faced the world’s press in a speech carried live throughout the world, issuing a series of salutations and greetings to “my fellow South Africans”.

Yitzhak Rabin. Address to the US Congress after signature of Peace Agreement with Jordan

Franklin D. Roosevelt. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself

13 pages Reading Time: 8 min

US President Roosevelt’s solemn inaugural address resonated with a nation suffering after the Great Depression. His speech outlines in broad terms how he intends to govern and reminds Americans that the nation’s “common difficulties” concerned “only material things.”

Declaring “I consider myself to be in the army of peace today”, Israeli Prime Minister Rabin describes his own campaign to bring peace to the Middle East.

10 pages Reading Time: 14 min


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The Visionary Leadership Speeches Series

John F. Kennedy. Ask what you can do for your Country 8 pages Reading Time: 6 min

Sworn in as the youngest ever elected president of the United States, this speech was delivered by US President John F Kennedy at his inauguration in Washington on January 20th, 1961. His ten-minute address appealed to Americans to unite in the fight against the common enemy of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.

Warren Buffett. Look for People with Those Qualities That you Admire 11 pages Reading Time: 12 min

Warren Buffett remembers the time he took a critical senior hiring decision within two days, explaining the thinking process and illuminating business character traits he most admires.

Martin Luther King Jr. I have been to the Mountaintop 17 pages Reading Time: 18 min

The last speech Martin Luther King Jr. ever delivered, a day before his assassination. The speech primarily calls for unity, economic actions, boycotts, and non-violent protest.

Robert F. Kennedy. Day of Affirmation Address 17 pages Reading Time: 16 min

Speech given by U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy to the National Union of South African Students in Cape Town, 1966, focusing on individual liberty, apartheid and civil rights issues.


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The Visionary Leadership Speeches Series

Andrew Grove. The Random Walk 16 pages Reading Time: 15 min

This speech describes the true path to finding your vocation in life as a meandering and fateful “Random Walk”.

Richard Branson. What Makes a Champion 12 pages Reading Time: 9 min

This speech outlines how creativity and self-belief have been important in his own life and the success of his company, Virgin.

James Dyson. Engineering the Difference 26 pages Reading Time: 23 min

This speech makes a plea for engineers to reclaim manufacturing from a vacuous focus on style and for society to respect engineers as invaluable designers of a sustainable future.

Ted Turner. We have to put our money, and our souls and hearts into our actions 11 pages Reading Time: 10 min

Ted Turner touches upon the world issues close to his heart, explaining how he came to be a ‘do-gooder’ over a ‘do-badder’.


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The Visionary Leadership Speeches Series

Bill Gates. Don’t let complexity stop you 14 pages Reading Time: 13 min

Bill Gates reminds the next generation that great discoveries and success in life can only be measured by actions which seek to reduce inequality.

Steve Jobs. You’ve Got to Find What You Love 11 pages Reading Time: 11 min

Steve Jobs delivers an emotional and rousing commencement speech by highlighting seminal moments of his life and making a plea to the students to “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”.

John D. Rockefeller Sr. Early Experiences of a Young Business Man 16 pages Reading Time: 19 min

John D. Rockefeller Sr. espouses the advantages of self-reliance and confidence learnt at a young age and dotes on the joy of work for young men.

Muhammad Yunus. Each of you has the Power to Change the World 15 pages Reading Time: 13 min

Muhammad Yunus advises the next generation that there are alternatives to the current models of business, notably social businesses which prioritise humanity and the greater good over profit maximisation.


VISION

PURPOSE

Ask What You Can Do for Your Country VISIONARY LEADERSHIP SPEECHES

John Fitzgerald Kennedy Inaugural Address January 20, 1961.

Keywords: Presidential politics> foreign policy> freedom> democracy> citizenship> participation> public and social policy> executive government> peace> international law> national attitudes and values> universal values> human nature and goodwill. Related multimedia feature: Get inspired! Find this speech on video at YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watc h?v=xE0iPY7XGBo&feature=r elated

6 MINUTES


95  GOLD MERCURY INTERNATIONAL  Visionary Leadership Speeches. John F. Kennedy: Ask What You Can Do for Your Country

Speech:

Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, President Truman, reverend clergy, fellow citizens, we observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom—symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning—signifying renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago.

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God. The world is very different now.

For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.


96  GOLD MERCURY INTERNATIONAL  Visionary Leadership Speeches. John F. Kennedy: Ask What You Can Do for Your Country

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This much we pledge—and more. To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder. To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom—and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required—not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.


97  GOLD MERCURY INTERNATIONAL  Visionary Leadership Speeches. John F. Kennedy: Ask What You Can Do for Your Country

To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge— to convert our good words into good deeds—in a new alliance for progress—to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let To that world assembly of sovereign every other power know that this Hemisphere states, the United Nations, our last intends to remain the master of its own best hope in an age where the house. instruments of war have far outpaced To that world assembly of sovereign states, the instruments of peace, we renew the United Nations, our last best hope in an our pledge of support. age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support—to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective—to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak—and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run. Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction. We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.


98  GOLD MERCURY INTERNATIONAL  Visionary Leadership Speeches. John F. Kennedy: Ask What You Can Do for Your Country

But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course—both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind’s final war. So let us begin anew—remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate. Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us. Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms—and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations. Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce. Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah—to “undo the heavy burdens... and to let the oppressed go free.” And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure Let both sides seek to invoke the and the peace preserved. wonders of science instead of its

terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.


99  GOLD MERCURY INTERNATIONAL  Visionary Leadership Speeches. John F. Kennedy: Ask What You Can Do for Your Country

All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin. In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The In the long history of the world, only a graves of young Americans who answered the few generations have been granted the call to service surround the globe. role of defending freedom in its hour of

maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it.

Now the trumpet summons us again not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation”—a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself. Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort? In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.


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And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.

PROFILE: John Fitzgerald Kennedy became the youngest elected US President in 1961. His years in office were marked by Cold War tension, including the Bay of Pigs

Invasion, Cuban Missile Crisis and the building of the Berlin Wall, but also by his commitment to civil rights and equality. One of his first acts after inauguration was

the establishment of the Peace Corps, a US volunteering programme that still exists today. Kennedy was assassinated three years into his presidency.


101  GOLD MERCURY INTERNATIONAL  Visionary Leadership Speeches. John F. Kennedy: Ask What You Can Do for Your Country

Other Visionary Leadership Speeches include: Albert Einstein. Peace in the Atomic Age. Andrew Grove. The Random Walk. Aung San Suu Kyi. Opening Keynote Address, NGO Forum on Women. Bill Gates. Don’t Let Complexity Stop You. Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself. George Wald. A Generation in Search of a Future.

James Dyson. Engineering the Difference. John D. Rockefeller Sr. Early Experiences of a Young Business Man. John F. Kennedy. A Vision for World Peace in an Age of Nuclear Threat. Mahatma Gandhi. Quit India. Martin Luther King Jr. I’ve Been to the Mountaintop. Muhammad Yunus. Each of You Has the Power to Change the World. Nelson Mandela. Address to Rally in Cape Town on His Release from Prison.

Richard Branson. What Makes a Champion. Robert F. Kennedy. Day of Affirmation Address. Steve Jobs. You’ve Got to Find What You Love. Ted Turner. We Have to Put Our Money, and Our Souls and Hearts into Our Actions. Warren Buffett. Look for People with Those Qualities That You Admire. Yitzhak Rabin. Address to the US Congress.

For further information on Visionary Leadership Speeches visit: goldmercury.org


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Gold Mercury International Who we are GOLD MERCURY INTERNATIONAL THE GLOBAL GOVERNANCE AND VISIONARY LEADERSHIP THINK TANK Gold Mercury International works with organisations and their leaders to navigate complexity, identify challenges and opportunities and create the strategic paradigms and business models for the future. Our global society is in transition and will continue to face critical challenges that will require innovative governance strategies and new mindsets that will deliver transformational change. Since its founding in 1961, Gold Mercury has been at the forefront of global governance by promoting visionary leadership and advancing international cooperation as bastions of a future sustainable world. At Gold Mercury International we live by our sustainability principles and promote our missions through our advocacy activities. These include: monitoring globalization, governance and sustainability; developing research to address universal challenges; publishing and educating on new ideas and frameworks; advising on strategic visioning and organizing world class awards and leadership summits. Our CORPORATE VISION SYSTEM® is the most innovative management and governance tool in the world. It is designed to assist organisations and their leaders in developing and implementing strategic vision. Our work with organisations involves transforming their corporate cultures and innovating their business models and their brands so they can generate profits from creating sustainable value for all stakeholders and global society. GLOGO®, our Global Governance Monitoring and Rating System, is a unique framework to organize world complexity and report on the impact of transformational events and decision-making affecting the future of our planet. Our Global Governance Network of experts (GLOGONET) includes the brightest minds who work to solve the world’s most critical challenges. The historic GOLD MERCURY AWARDS® for Global Governance exemplify visionary and sustainable leadership. Our award laureates include the most visionary individuals and organisations who are contributing to solve the most pressing global challenges.

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