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What makes a leader? Mapping leadership in our region

27 October 2010   |   Analysis   |   By Fergus Hanson and Alex Oliver

Does Australia understand the leaders of our region? Is our $1.4bn in scholarship funding reaching the right people? There is good reason to believe that leaders matter, and that they are particularly important in developing countries. This 2010 Lowy Institute Analysis presents the results of the first phase of the Institute's Leadership Mapping Project, a major empirical study on leadership in our region, and traces pathways to leadership in East Timor and Samoa.

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    This Lowy Institute Analysis (the full text can be downloaded above) is the result of nearly 100 interviews with senior leaders in Timor-Leste and Samoa, from the President and Prime Minister down. The study yielded intriguing insights into the pathways leaders have taken to power, and the role Australia did (or did not) play in their lives. The findings have important implications for future Australian policy development in the areas of scholarship, special visits and alumni programs, and the potential for fruitful collaboration between government, the private and non-government sectors in building greater understanding and stronger relationships with the leadership in our region.

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    Current work in the Leadership Mapping project is now underway in Papua New Guinea (see here), and is conducted with the assistance of an Australian Research Council linkage grant in conjunction with Griffith University in Australia and Yale University in the United States.