University of Vermont

College of Education and Social Sciences

Doctoral Programs in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Kenneth Smith: Iraq: My Stories of Life, Liberty & Leadership (2014-08-26)

Smith, Kenneth | 427A Waterman | 2014-08-26 | 1:00 p.m.

…this war is lost, and the surge is not accomplishing anything…

–      Harry Reid, April 19, 2007

 

Human nature prevails. Our desire is to live. Our unalienable right is to be free; to enjoy the fruits of our labor. How we spend our limited time on this earth pursuing happiness is up to each of us: uniquely, individually, with our own distinctive personality, intellect and motivation. In the following personal exploration and scholarly analysis, I discuss how our inherent gift of life and the desire for liberty form an integrated platform from which leadership personifies itself in the lives of many. I examine how my life and the lives of others from both Iraq and America connected on the plains of Al Anbar Province to form a common bond of humanity – not of clashing cultures – that ultimately led a nation of thirty million people to freedom. I integrate conversations with Iraqis to inform my conclusions about the utility of our occupation, the role leadership played and the implications for theory and practice. This dissertation explores the political, economic and religious distinctions and underlying similarities between perceptions and reality as they relate to life, liberty and leadership in disparate cultures framed by war and peace, and concludes with suggestions how multi-cultural organizations in general, and educational leadership communities in particular, can practically apply what I learned in daily work processes and relationships.

 

If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent ruin.

– Samuel Adams, 1780

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