Brazil: Leadership is still missing

Brazil has been facing a really challenging time, marred with political uncertainty and abrupt changes.  With billions of dollars deviated in bribes, government expenditures reaching far beyond revenues, and a strong political polarization process, the country concluded the painful process of impeaching President Dilma Rousseff on August 31st.

Dilma did not exercise adequate leadership since taking her first term. By assuming an authoritarian and unilateral approach, she quickly lost the congressional majority. In her second term, after terrible bribe scandals, Dilma’s political party ended up under judicial investigation for receiving illegal funding for her political campaign and for the misappropriation of public funds through state-owned companies, mainly Petrobras, the big national oil enterprise.

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Dilma’s Vice-President Michel Temer, who now assumes the presidential role, has not convinced Brazil of anything; he has less than five percent of popular support. Despite being a sign of hope for economic players, he seems unable to relate to the population. With no background in social policies, he has never delivered a single inspirational speech.  His relationship with Congress is restricted to exchanging political positions in exchange for support; any debates are between them and for only them.

It's a shame that we are living in such a situation. By 2018, we have no idea whether Brazil will live. Hopefully a miraculous leader will not arise with some heroic yet drastic proposal; this has been how the big, crooked governments established themselves.

To find a solution for this deep leadership crisis, which not only affects Brazil but other neighboring countries with social uncertainty and polarization, young leaders must play a much more participative role. Rather than fostering a young generation that are experts in joking or throwing Pokémon balls, there is an urgent need for the emergence of young leaders with a strong sense of future ownership, respectable and inclusive ideals, and a proactive approach.

In fact, Brazilian society presents some good examples of this. One of the main drivers of popular mobilization for political change is the ‘Movimento Brasil Livre’ (Brazil Free Movement), which has played an important role in pressuring politicians and the Supreme Court to fight corruption. Led by young people, the institution promotes constant dialogue through social media, and mobilizes peaceful demonstrations vying for “independent press, economic freedom, separation of powers, free and reputable elections, and the end of direct subsidies to dictatorships."

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As well as these committed and courageous young leaders, we all must use our energy and creativity to build successful actions for positive change. There is much to do and different issues to approach, such as finding global alternatives for clean energy, developing more inclusive political models to solve social conflicts, optimizing online participative learning processes, and empowering good initiatives through crowd funding and social media.

If we want to have a peaceful and prosperous future, we must and will commit to the development of our societies. It is time to get together and join forces. This is the only chance we have to shape a sustainable future. 

Asafe Ribeiro Morais is a One Young World Ambassador from Brazil. He is a Project Manager at Siemens. Passionate about sustainability, he helped develop the Social Reponsibility and Talent Development Program, coordinating over 60 interns to help local communities by giving workshops in local schools, initiating cultural events, and constructing emergency homes in neighborhoods in need.