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Reviving the ‘Golden Rule’: Advice from our 2016 Excellence Award Winner

Tierneigh is currently in her fourth year of a Bachelor of Arts with the degree of a Bachelor of Laws, majoring in Indigenous Studies. Tierneigh was a delegate on the 2014 Global Leadership Symposium to Brazil, and has worked for the Northern Territory Government to ‘Develop the North’ and recently finished an internship with the Australian Law Reform Commission on the Elder Abuse Discussion Paper among many other achievements.

Let me start by telling a short story.

When I was 5, I was caught picking flowers from my elderly neighbour’s front garden. They weren’t hanging over the fence and available for picking like my mother had advised.

“How would you like it if you woke up to find that someone had picked all our mangoes?” My mother scolded. I remember thinking “how on earth I will I put the flowers back on the trees so that there would be enough frozen mangoes to last the sweltering wet season. The point my mother was making was that I wouldn’t like it, so why would I do it to someone else? This seemingly innocent experience, taught me a very important life lesson, which I carry with me today as a global leader.

The golden rule, is, to treat others how you wish to be treated. It has been written about extensively, referenced in personal and professional conversations and is widely seen as a universal principle to live by. I believe this is the foundation for a positive, nourishing and prosperous world. The behaviours incidental in the golden rule begin in our homes (stealing the neighbours flowers), travel out into our community and have a domino effect that floods the world around us. The golden rule is instrumental in being a good global leader, and can help to shape popular leadership around the globe.

I can neither quantify nor properly describe the great opportunities and experiences I have had since joining the GLP. I have explored issues of domestic violence and the law in India, experienced Brexit first hand whilst interning with a multinational bank in Hong Kong, taught and mentored numerous underprivileged students from the top end of Australia to the depths of the Maasia, Kenya.

Whether I’m helping a fellow student with an assignment, or practicing appropriate cultural sensitivity and respect while working with Indigenous elders, I have strived to actively practice the Golden Rule in everything I do.

While some could say that this rule forces us to impose our views on others and implies a one size fits all approach, I would argue the contrary. The golden rule is not a utopian notion nor does it guarantee we won’t make mistakes along the way. However, through my experiences, I have seen that it does remind us not to deceive ourselves with a double standard, keeping us honest and respectful in our conduct – both are instrumental elements to being a good global leader.

The task of our time is to build a global society where people can live together in peace. Our world needs global leaders who practice the golden rule and can set an example for others to follow.

As a recipient of the 2016 Undergraduate Global Leadership Award I invite anyone reading this to build your capacity for empathy and to try to understand and feel another person’s perspective. With this, you’ll be able to recognize the selfhood and intrinsic value of all those around you.

If there is one thing I have learnt during my time as a Global Leadership Participant and Ambassador, it is that global leadership and the golden rule go together like frozen mango and the wet season.

Let’s revive the golden rule.

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