Reflections on Leadership and Legacy By Aleksandar Jovanovic, Sremska Mitrovica
Painting by Aleksandar Jovanovic, all rights reserved.
Serbia . . .
such a short, yet such a deep, thoughtful word. That one small country in the hills of the Balkans. From the fields of Kosovo, hear the sounds of the sword, echoing the words...
"God of Justice, You who saved us From disasters till this day, Still hear from now on, our voices, And from now on, be our help!".
As a figure of Narcissus with wandering thoughts glazed over the clear lake, so do our hymns reflect and remember Serbia’s past.
Serbia. A country of heroes. History has shown that each new victory was preceded by a good leader. That role belongs to the chosen ones. To be successful, a leader must be as firm and steadfast as the Statue of Liberty, as brave and determined as Prince Lazar, as strong in faith and persevering as the Patriarch—these are the characteristics of a good leader.
"Hear the song of heroes of the Kosovo Hymn of Mount Athos monks, Last salute for the Patriarch, Coming to God’s sacred door "
I sat in my room last summer and wrote this verse as the church bells were paying tribute to Patriarch Pavle. I admire his greatness. I was thinking about his great faith that led the Serbian people through a turbulent past. He was a truly great man, deserving to paint his portrait in the final verse--"And our Temple of Saint Sava, sends his last greetings to you."
Yes. These were three great personalities who have made a big impression on me and a huge fingerprint in Serbian history—Prince Lazar, St. Sava, and the Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Pavle. In them I find inspiration. They awaken my creativity. To do something for Serbia, we have to have their qualities—courage, willingness, and faith in every aspect of our field of impact.
And now when I look at my country Serbia, in the 21st century, I remember the international saying which goes--"History repeats itself". From the perspective of the past, and knowing our history, I can say that this is really true. Our geopolitical and strategic position is still attractive to international players, we are at the crossroads of Europe and the East. The winds blow from different directions, but we're still here, standing firm on the ground and remaining faithful to the Creator. History repeats itself, while the fighting spirit continues. This is today's Serbia, a country of known and unknown heroes.
Although my grandmother always said, "You will be our pilot," I knew that aviation would not be my path. I was always proud of my dad's story, as my great-grandfather flew a plane of King Peter Karadjordjevic to London, before the start of World War II. He was a brave officer in the Royal Air Force who still lives in England. His courage accompanies me today, but my path, apparently, will be different.
I see one path for the future of Serbia as humanitarian actions, performed through organizations and through individuals. Many around me have a big heart to visit nursing homes, orphanages, schools for children with special needs, blind homes, hospitals, and various other places to help those who are in need. In my town, I know several young disabled individuals who need emergency financial and other assistance in order to live their daily lives. Serbs in my generation continue the tradition of our ancestors such as the "Kosovo girl", who after a bloody battle at the Battle of Kosovo, helped and cared for many wounded soldiers. By helping others, we remain united and spread the impulse of love to those who need it and meet the basic Christian duty of "bearing one another's burdens, and with it you will fulfill all the law." Through the prism of humanitarian action, we apply this commandment!
Ralph Waldo Emerson said - "Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” If you really have the courage of Prince Lazar, the willingness of a Saint Sava, and faith as Patriarch Pavle, nothing is impossible: we can do quite a lot for our country of Serbia. 2000 years ago, there was a leader. Serbia needs leaders who model their leadership after him: the leader who serves, but with a firm and steadfast integrity and authority; a leader with a clear vision and a loyal team.
That leader was Jesus Christ.
Aleksandar Jovanovic holds a Law Degree from the University of Novi Sad. A native of Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia, he is currently finishing a masters in Business and Industrial Management at Union University in Belgrade.