Harvard’s Drew Faust tells students studying history is an ideal way to learn about leadership

Historians in the News
tags: education, Harvard

During the first Morning Prayers of the new academic term, Harvard President Drew Faust outlined her hopes for the future by turning her eye to the past and calling on her listeners to do the same.

“A concern for the future requires us all to commit to exploring the past — to in some measure be historians,” Faust said Wednesday morning.

In keeping with tradition, Faust delivered her comments at the opening service of the year, a daily ritual of reflection, prayer, scripture, and song on Monday through Friday during the fall and spring semesters. At the dais, Faust stepped back from her role as president, instead speaking as a scholar of the past.

Studying history has made her a better leader, said Faust. She called her academic work “in many ways the ideal training for leadership,” helping her understand what makes change happen, who embraces it, who doesn’t, and why. History has also helped her understand that “things could have been otherwise” and that “we have the power to make things otherwise.” Faust said she also has gained from her field of study and research a “profound humility,” and empathy.

“Studying history has diminished my eagerness to judge or condemn people — in the past or present — and has enhanced my desire, and I hope my capacity, to understand, to see the world through others’ eyes.” ...

Read entire article at Harvard Gazette

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