International Professional Advanced Leadership course

Ambassador Robert T. YAMATE closing remarks


Good afternoon.
His Excellency the Minister of National Defense,
The Honorable Chief of the General Army Staff,
The Honorable Deputy Commander of the National Gendarmerie,
Commander Gibson and Mr. Roarke, instructors of the International
Professional Advanced Leadership course,
Participants of the Int’l Professional Advanced Leadership course,
Honored guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Thank-you for inviting me to the closing ceremony of the International Professional Advanced Leadership training course.  And thank you all for taking the time out of your schedules to talk about, learn, and – most importantly – carry forward into your respective organizations the principles of leadership you have discussed over the past couple of weeks.

Leadership, as you all know, is one of the hardest skills to develop. This is mainly because there is rarely an opportunity to exercise ‘being a leader’ without actually doing it.  Unlike a foot race, where you may train for weeks to get stronger and faster, when you lead a team you’re doing it everyday and, more than likely, you have a mission to accomplish.

If you are a bad leader – and I’m sure none of you are – you don’t usually find out until you get fired or your team fails to achieve an objective.  That is why forums like this, where the instructors can share the principles, case studies, and experiences with you and you can share anecdotes with each other, are so very important to honing the leadership skill set.

By sharing in environments such as this one, we can work on the principles and foundations of leadership without risking the mission.  And by taking part in this environment, we become better managers and leaders for the teams that work for us.

As leaders, we all strive to make our teams successful in their endeavors.  We are all given sets of challenges to overcome – whether they are budgetary, personnel shortfalls, or unreasonable deadlines, or even an unreasonable boss – who I’m certain none of you have.

We all must take whatever ‘tools’ we have in our skillset and get the job done.  Courses like this one help us by ensuring out skills are as sharp as they can be before we are tested.  Hopefully, we can also create a space in which our subordinates will flourish in and they will garner some of the skills that will make them effective leaders in future.

It is a privilege that his Excellency the Minister of National Defense and your leadership, both military and civilian, deemed it important to let us share our American experience with you through this course.

I say a privilege because this is a two-way street.  The stories and experiences you shared and discussed these past two weeks in Madagascar; our instructors will take back with them to the United States and will shape and flavor the curriculum for future classes to come.  For that sharing, and for that collaboration, a most sincere ‘Thank-you’ to all of you here.

I look forward to the future when many of you will ascend to the most senior positions of the government and continue to practice the leadership principles from this training of the past two weeks.

And so – Take part, take charge, be a leader, and together, work to keep Madagascar strong, keep Madagascar successful, and keep Madagascar proud.

Thank you very much.