Robert Cain: Perspectives and experiences toward ethical leadership

Robert Cain, 22, United Kingdom

Hello! My name is Robert Cain. I’m 22 years old and an aspiring freelance writer, critic and foreign commonwealth office worker from the U.K. I’m now working through a part-time master’s degree in International Politics at City University in London.

For as long as I can remember, myself and my family have been seasoned travelers; with my dad being in the U.K.’s Royal Air Force, we moved from place to place for a time before finally settling close to London. As I traveled to other far-off places, I was introduced to hundreds of people from all walks of life which really broadened my horizons to form a considered viewpoint. At school, both teachers and my family pointed out my passion for writing and command of the English language, which eventually went into journalism at Bournemouth University. My interest in politics and global events was sparked by a unit in my second year which drastically changed the direction I wanted to take. I began a blog called “For the Road” in which I comment on various global and political events. I also wish to use it as a tool for spreading awareness of key organizations.

In keeping with my passion for traveling, I journeyed to Toronto, Canada, for a study abroad exchange; there I produced my final year project on Nuclear Disposal near a great lake. I looked at both sides of the debate, homing in the Saugeen First Nation Aboriginals. Through this project, I learned the importance of balance and considering multiple perspectives equally.

Since graduating from journalism at Bournemouth University in 2016, I have aimed beyond mainstream journalism with a wide array of experiences that have exposed me to numerous perspectives over the years. I attended a Model United Nations event and took on a leadership workshop called Frontrunner. Most recently, I volunteered with my local Liberal Democrat party in the lead-up to the U.K.’s recent election, talking to residents about current issues affecting them and getting others to come out and make their voices heard at the polls. Later this year in October, I will be taking on a mentor role in the Widening Participation scheme, which goes into schools and provides underrepresented pupils further guidance and advice on their future opportunities. Outside of this, I have kept up my writings and joined Global Young Voices in 2016.

Last year, the world faced huge divisions brought on by the onset of nasty political rhetoric, the notion of one nation being better than another has created so much toxicity and division. To solve the world’s problems and prevent them from being exacerbated further, we must work to heal these divisions and build bridges, rather than break them down.

To do this, I believe that leadership should be tackled with three central pillars: balance, ethics and morals. All too often nowadays the spread of inequality around the world causes the transfer of wealth and power into the hands of a few selected individuals and this, in turn, creates a vacuum of moral conduct. I’d want to see a world society where the top one percent (and those who cater to their demands) are held to account by all countries, making sure that they do their part of solving the world’s problems rather than acting in their own self-interest. At the FrontRunner workshop, I met a man whose internet business placed him into the elites through the nineties; but then he sought to make a positive societal change, using much of his wealth to make it happen. This is an example that should be replicated everywhere in the world.

When it comes to the Youth Assembly at the United Nations, I’m excited to see the kinds of communities and collaborations we can form, not to mention spreading our ideas. Most of all though, I’m looking forward to being exposed to unique perspectives, the way individuals view the world and society at large and what we can do to tackle the biggest problems.

Creating strong ideas for social change and spreading them through media is only the first step. We also need committed and compassionate leaders to make these changes a reality. That’s where we and the Youth Assembly come in.