Thomas Friedman's latest book, That Used to Be Us, is an astute analysis of how the United States has fallen from its admired position in the world, and why today's youth--for the first time in our nation's history-- cannot expect a higher standard of living or longer lifespan than their parents. Sometimes I think I can feel the resignation to this decline among neighbors, colleagues, and clients. This sense in America that the good life is unfairly and unfailingly eluding us seems particularly noticeable to me today. The first reason is that it's Veteran's Day and I have been reflecting on my mom's service as a WAC during WWII, as well as the values that she and others in her "greatest generation" imbued in us, their children.
The second reason this sense of pessimism about America's future is on my mind today is that there is such a different feeling here in the Middle East, especially among the women leaders with whom I am working. They are full of hope, vision, enthusiasm, courage, creativity, anticipation, and a deep belief that anything is possible. Their view could be summarized as That's Going to Be Us, because they have a shared vision, seem to have found their own voices, and are set on participating fully and authentically in the economic, political, and social changes that are reshaping this region.
These leaders are not trying to mimic the US, or anyone else. Their approach, forged from their own histories and cultures, is truly connective--dedicated to being inclusive, transparent, ethical, entrepreneurial, and constructive. As these women leaders grow their regional network, the positive impact of their work will cascade throughout their families, communities and the entire region. I look forward to witnessing the results they create together.