Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I

Important Utterances on life from His Majesty Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001 19:23:16 -0600


By what means can man's achievements in this world be best remembered? Many people believe that this could be done by the erection of physical and material structures; others believe that their works are in themselves lasting monuments. We for our part, think that mans contributions which live to influence the life and progress of posterity, are the most permanent monuments that can ever be erected.

Knowledge paves the way to love, and love in its turn fosters understanding, and leads one along the path of great common achievements. Although the fruits of education can be applied to evil as well as to good things, you Ethiopian students should avoid having a bad reputation and be eager and energetic in your studies, be loyal to your country and obediant to your teachers, eschew lies and follow truth, respect good and be heirs of good work. Through education one can keep himself healthy; one can acquire the knowledge of many other things; but without health, education and growth of a population are unattainable. Education and the quest for knowledge stop only at the grave.


From the beginnings of recorded history, right up to the Middle Ages, and even as late as the beginning of the Industrial Age in which we live, agriculture has always constituted the fundamental source of wealth for the human race. For example, when the world was sorely distressed by lack of food immediately after the Second World War, Our country, although she herself had for five long years been strugling to recover from the terrible damage inflicted upon her during the war, was yet able to perform a significant service in supplying foodstuffs to the countries of the Middle East.

A country and a people that become self sufficient by the development of agriculture can look forward with confidence to the future. Only when a solid agriculture base has been laid for our countrys commercial and industrial growth can we ensure the attainment of the ultimate goal of our development programme, namely a high standard of living for our people. Commerce and industry, being concerned in the main with production and distribution, can only develop and profit from existing resources, but cannot actually create things which did not exist before. Even in this nuclear age, in spite of the revolutionary changes in mans way of life which science has brought about, the problem of further improving and perfecting agriculture methods continues to hold a position of high priority for the human race. It is hard to believe that a substitute can ever be found for the occupation of agriculture--a sacred task graciously conferred upon man by God to serve as the source of his well being and the basis of his wealth. Agriculture and Industry are indispensable one to the other. Only close co-operation between these two branches of knowledge can guarantee the fulfilment of Our programme of economic development for our country.


Although the first institution where men received formal training in engineering was established only a little over two hundred years ago, the science of engineering is one of the worlds oldest. The existence from ancient times of marvels of construction--among which Ethiopia proudly numbers the monuments at Axum, the remarkable rock churches and other engineering wonders--attest to the long history of the profession. Mans education never stops. Place your faith and trust in Almighty God; for, without His assistance and guidence, man is but a weak and puny creature.


He who would be a leader must pay the price in self-discipline and moral restraint. This entails the correction and improvement of personal character, the checking of passions and desires, and an exemplary control of ones bodily needs and drives. We all know that the need for good leadership in every walk of life is much greater today than ever before. Every aspect of living demands guiding hands. It is important however to remember that leadership does not mean domination. The true leader is of different sort: he seeks effective activity which has a truly beneficient purpose. He inspires others to follow in his wake, and holding aloft the torch of wisdom, leads the way for society to realize its genuinely great aspirations. In every significant event in history you will find a courageous and determined leader, an inspiring goal or objective, and an adversary who sought to foil his efforts. In any normal society, every one has some opportunity to show himself ! as a leader. The leader is marked out by his individual craftsmanship, his sensibility and insight, his initiative and energy. Leaders are people who raise the standards by which they judge themselves-- and by which they are willing to be judged. The goal chosen, the objective selected, the requirements imposed, are not merely for their followers alone. A love of high quality, we must remember is essential in a leader. Dependability is another requirement in a leader. To embark successfully on a career involving leadership demands a courageous and determined spirit. One mark of the great leader is that he feels sufficiently secure to devote his thought and attention to the well being of his subordinates and the perfection of his task, rather than being constantly worried about the appoval or disapproval of others. Leaders have to submit themselves to a stricter self discipline and develop a more exemplary moral character than is expected of others. A leader must stay ahead.! Further a leader must possess initiative, which is the creative abili ty to think in new ways and do new things. He cannot be content merely to see new trends and take advantage of them, he must keep his imagination vividly alive, so as to originate ideas and start trends. A word of warning is in order here. To help ones subordinates or dependants at the cost of harm to the public is tantamount to sacrilegs and blaspemy. A good leader is devoted to his work and will willingly forego even the demands of sleep to see its accomplishment. This does not mean that he is impetuous. On the other hand, he maintains a balance between emotional drive and sound thinking. No matter what our point of departure in speaking of leadership, we reach the inescapable conclusion that the art of leadership consists in the ability to make people want to work for you, when they are really under no obligation to do so. The true leader is one who realizes by faith that he is an instument in the hands of god, and dedicates himself to be a guide and inspirer of the noble! r sentiments and aspirations of the people. To sum up, there is no power on earth that can take a clerk from his desk or a mechanic from his bench, and easily mould him into a leader. To develop oneself, one has to develop ones own initiative and perseverence--a man has to strive in order to grow.

From Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I.

Posted: Fri - February 21, 2003 at 12:00 AM