Author Archives: Trent McKnight

Compassion: Slobodan Milosevic

slobodan_milosevicSeveral years ago I had the opportunity to attend the International Court Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. I was on Semester at Sea, and one of the law professors had a connection to the United Nations that allowed us to witness the trial of former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic. The Milosevic Trial began each morning at 9:00 and ended at 1:45. We went through security and attended the session after their lunch recess. A glass wall separated the gallery from the actual court; and we wore headphones connected to a Multilanguage radio for translation of the dayʼs proceedings.

Milosevic chose to represent himself and was in the middle of cross-examination of a Mr. Markovic, his former Chief of Information. Everyone, with the exception of the accused, witness, clerk and security were fully robed. The three judges, from Rwanda, Britain, and Japan, wore a red sash to differentiate them from the rest of the court. Each sat fully distinguished with gray hair and glasses. The panel of prosecutors was positioned to our right and Mr. Milosevic on our left. A council of interpreters sat above the court in closed boxes while everyone in the court and gallery wore headphones. And there I was, a small-town West Texas boy, witnessing the first head of state to ever stand trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Continue reading

Welcome to the TXSLF Blog

Jesus SermonWelcome to the Texas Student Leadership Forum on Faith & Values Blog.  We invite you to share your stories, thoughts and experiences on leadership and the four tenets of the Forum.  Our hope is that through this community, we can better understand how our lives can be used to make our community, state, nation and world a better place.

The four tenets are derived from the leadership of Jesus of Nazareth–notably the most influential person to ever walk the earth.  However, these four tenets are not meant to be the “last word” on his leadership; his life, leadership and legacy are far too complex to be categorized into four simple containers.  Rather, the leaders of the Texas Student Leadership Forum have chosen these four tenets as the starting place to rethink leadership.  Here is a quick primer on the four tenets and an example of a leader from history who lived that tenet in a remarkable way.

Self Knowledge
The greatest leaders know who they are.  They have an acute sense of the reality of themselves.  They know from where they came and have a sense of purpose for where they will go.

Dr. King knew who he was and where he came from.  It was from this soul force that he discovered his purpose and pursued it, even in the face of adversity and death.

William Wilberforce had a defined purpose: abolish the slave trade and reform society.

Yet, he knew he could not accomplish this without a community of like-minded friends who loved each other deeply, held one another accountable and encouraged each individual to discover himself and know his purpose.

Forgiveness & Reconciliation
Jesus said, “A house divided cannot stand.”  When divisions separate our oneness, forgiveness and reconciliation are the only ways to heal.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa to heal the bitter division between blacks and whites after decades of apartheid.

Lasting influence is not achieved through grandiose platforms and polished rhetoric. It is achieved through simple acts of daily compassion.

Mother Theresa changed the world because she loved her neighbor as herself.  In order to do this, she had to love herself first.