REPLogo (1)

"Own Your History"

A leadership course on the creative edge



History shows us that healing reconciliation is possible. Students will look at the forced relocation and internment of Japanese-Americans and then South African apartheid and the life of Nelson Mandela. They will see that by objectively facing such terrible events, a process for healing and justice can follow.

7. The World War II Japanese- American internment: Leaders, crisis, and lessons

dfdfWe all confront “crises” in our personal life, school, community or as a citizen of the country. The bombing of Pearl Harbor and the subsequent internment of Japanese –American citizens during World War II were crises not only for the nation and many communities, but also of course for affected individuals and families. The range of responses to the wartime events and the postwar responses toward Japanese-Americans, both officially and in the community, allow consideration of the possibility of “owning the crisis” and for reconciliation afterwards. This history also provides a springboard for considering crisis responses by individuals and communities.


How did a variety of Americans respond to these crises? How do you think you would have responded at the time, if a US leader, a California leader, a Japanese –American, or a white next-door neighbor of a Japanese –American? [ask this question at the very beginning of this module, and then again at the very end. ]


(1) Responses to the war crisis after Pearl Harbor: President, military, California leaders, California citizens, Japanese-Americans, Hawaiians: Each will give a press conference on the crisis and his/her
response in 1942. How was the “enemy” identified, and why? Assess each with the leadership principles, in this wartime context, and in light of FDR’s Four Freedoms.

(2) Response to internment, 1943: (a) a camp meeting of interned Japanese–Americans; (b) a meeting of concerned citizens, including range of white California residents and lawyers for Japanese –Americans.

(3) Postwar responses—reconciliation?: town meeting with US and California officials, community leaders and ordinary folks, both white and Japanese –American advocates for reconciliation and reparations. How do you turn “enemies” into “allies” with whom you can have a positive working relationship?

(4) Student project on coercion/bullying (part 1). Starting questions: Has this module affected how you would react to: seeing a classmate being bullied; being in a school/peer group and disagreeing with the prevailing views/position of the group; reacting to an authority figure [teacher, principal, police] treating [e.g.,] a person of color, woman, LGBT person, through word, attitude, or action based upon stereotyping or other views unrelated to the actual facts of the situation? How can a person, community, country act to “own” a crisis and deal with coercion/bullying ?

8 . Nelson Mandela and Reconciliation in South Africa

dfsdfdfThis unit focuses on a great leader for reconciliation –Nelson Mandela. After more than two decades of severe imprisonment under the brutal white supremacist Apartheid regime, he became the leader for the majority-rule post-Apartheid South Africa and implemented a policy of reconciliation through a formal Truth and Reconciliation Commission process. His performance in the context of this South African history is a study in creative and bold leadership. His pursuit of reconciliation as a means for addressing the horrific Apartheid regime, while also building bridges to the future, is an important model for the world.




8A. Background:

(a) Development of a non-slave Apartheid system in South Africa


What led to the establishment, maintenance and changes in the segregation/apartheid system between 1910 and 1990, including labor status/conditions, education, residential segregation, social rules in mixed race areas (e.g., cities) and tribal areas? What opportunities did Africans have? How did this Apartheid compare to segregation/Jim Crow in the US? Prior to 1990, what forces for changes were there in South Africa, and outside it?


Pairs will make Presentations about specific aspects of Mandela’s life.


8B. Robben Island imprisonment—Leadership in confinement

c5Everyone is subject to constraints, limits, and at times coercion of some sort: rules and authority figures; financial/economic position; peers/social groups; an individual’s feelings/view of herself/himself, etc. Mandela and his African National Congress (ANC) colleagues were subject to all of these limits during their virtually absolute confinement for many years.


How did these experiences shape the leadership qualities, skills and methods of Mandela and his fellow ANC prisoners?


(1) Pairs presentations from the perspectives of prisoners, guards, wardens, government officials. A roundtable discussion among prisoners; pairs presentations on personal qualities and issues when managing a highly constrained environment.
(2) Student project on coercion/bullying (part 2): small group projects on examples of collective actions for change: strikes, boycotts, embargoes, nonviolent actions and demonstrations

8C. The South Africa Truth and Reconciliation Commission

137688-004-EC2CD3EBThe Mandela government established a South Africa Truth and Reconciliation Commission (SA TRC) to examine the oppression and abuses under Apartheid, allow perpetrators to acknowledge their actions,
and promote forgiveness among victims. This process has been a model used in other countries, such as Rwanda and Canada, as well as in a few US communities.


How did the SA TRC pursue these goals? Is reconciliation between oppressors and their victims possible—what is necessary for each person to advance genuine reconciliation and what are the obstacles? what is the role for social institutions (government, schools, unions, churches, civic organizations, the arts, etc.)? What is the relationship between reconciliation and justice?



(a) a roundtable discussion among Mandela, Tutu, white government leaders, ANC leaders; (b) small groups reenactments with pairs representing a specific victim, the oppressor, and a TRC moderator (based on actual examples)


9. “Half-time” – Leadership in Pop Culture and Society–identifying and assessing leadership styles and methods of figures in diverse areas of American culture and society


150Leaders of varying sorts (pop music, sports, film, the arts, etc.) and with varying styles are all around us and often play powerful roles in shaping our culture, and thus our history; they become leaders and show leadership qualities in a myriad of ways.

Leaders of varying sorts (pop music, sports, film, the arts, etc.) and with varying styles are all around us and often play powerful roles in shaping our culture, and thus our history; they become leaders and show leadership qualities in a myriad of ways.

Leaders of varying sorts (pop music, sports, film, the arts, etc.) and with varying styles are all around us and often play powerful roles in shaping our culture, and thus our history; they become leaders and show leadership qualities in a myriad of ways.

null (1)Questions:

How does assessing leadership by pop culture figures help you understand and assess your own leadership qualities and qualities/skills you would like to develop further?


Students will pick a pop culture figure and have great latitude to make a presentation on that figure—a dialogue with another figure; a Presentation (report, poster, performance); an
Improv/skit embodying the character, etc.