TOEFL Class Shares Influential World Leaders

Here’s a selection of EC Boston’s TOEFL class essays on world leaders: 

toefl1. Juanes

Only a few people can change the fate of an entire nation, and in many cases the whole world, with their actions. Among of these people, names such as John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King stand out for their contribution. These two leaders greatly influenced the U.S. destiny, the first one as president and the second one as an advocate of civil rights.  They both contributed to the end of the segregation in this northern nation. Colombia, on the other hand, has never seen such a strong leader, or maybe Colombians do not know their history well or are not so proud of it, thinking of a good leader can be extremely hard.  Nevertheless, there are millions of Colombians who work for a better future in their communities. In addition, sometimes, famous people use their influence to affect Colombian fate. And Juanes, a singer, is one of them. He works to give opportunities to the people who have suffered from anti-personnel mines in my country and for a world “without” borders.

The most important contribution of Juanes is his foundation “Mi Sangre,” which translated to “My blood.” Colombia has faced a terrible armed conflict for more than 40 years, and many of the victims are innocent people who while walking, or playing, in rural areas activate a land mine. Many of these victims have lost their lives; however, millions have to live with the horror of the war marked on their body. Juanes’s organization works for the rehabilitation of these people, but even more important than a simple prosthesis, it helps these victims to build a better future and overcome their terrible experience. Moreover, Juanes works in the prevention of the violence, showing people that they have an alternative.

Another one of Juanes’s significant accomplishments is his concert without borders. He came up with this idea when Colombia and Venezuela were facing a terrible political crisis. He thought that two nations that are “brothers”, share a common past, and have strong bilateral commerce cannot break relation just because the two presidents disagree. So, he made a free concert just on the border of these two countries where the citizens sung in one voice and all of them wore white T-shirts as a symbol of peace. Around ten different singers from different nationalities followed Juanes; and thousands of people joined the event. The concert may be not end the crisis, but helped the politicians to understood what the people were thinking. This one was the first concerts of peace without border. The second was in an even more controversial location, Cuba.

Maybe Colombia has not had a strong leader such as JFK or Martin Luther King, but there are many Colombians that right now are building a better place to live. This can be seen in the news about this country. Ten years ago, this nation was only known for drugs, violence and kidnaping; however, today people can see how beautiful this nation is and its strong economy. Juanes is only one of the many Colombians who are improving the country. His foundation has given opportunities to the victims of the conflict, and his concerts have highlighted the importance of looking beyond the border and really seen the people who live in each side of the line.


2. Lech Wałęsa

I chose Lech Wałęsa as an Important Leader because , for me like fore anybody that calls himself a polish man, he played a significant role in regaining the independence of Poland. I strongly believe that nobody can say that he did something greater for our country than what Wałęsa did.
During the second half of the XX century Poland was under Russian occupation, which Lech Wałęsa was fighting against. Working in Gdańsk’s Shipyard he supported the resistance and formed the trade union called “solidarity” (“Solidarność” in Polish). This trade union played a crucial role in breaking the Russian occupation over Poland. With this small piece, later he managed to finally put an end to Russian suppression.
Even though Wałęsa found himself in great danger during fighting for independence of his fatherland, he never gave up, but kept pushing forward. Many times he endangered his family and friends because when the government couldn’t catch somebody, they started to look for his weaknesses. Moreover his political commitment put him in jail several times. He also remained jobless for long periods of time because of his resistance efforts. But they never managed to break his spirit. He remained for his goal.
That is why I chose him for this particular topic. In my point of view he shows all the most important traits of character, I reckon, a great leader should have. He was determined, strict and hopeful and this helped him achieve his dream of independent country. But the most important thing of all that is that although he achieved his goal, and gained power to change the government in Poland, he never became corrupted with that power, and always showed effort to make that country a better place to live for all of us.

3. Nelson Mandela

A leader is a person who has a big influence in people by guiding or directing people to achieve a goal, making important contributions to the population. There are a lot of different leaders among history who made important contributions for people, like Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy, but we’re going to talk about Nelson Mandela, and why he is considered a committed leader and a hero  to millions around the world.

Nelson Mandela was the first black president in South Africa, who led the anti apartheid struggle in South Africa and guided his country to a democracy country. He is regarded because of his compassion and forgiveness, and is an example of how we can transfer power and make reconciliation a way to  build a solid nation. He sacrificed his freedom for the freedom of others and he forgive those who jailed him, after spend more than 20 years in prison and through his fierce, achieved the union of his country.
Nelson Mandela represents the best of what humanity had to offer, and he was a great example of passion and purpose under democratic ideas and he was also a political genius and a charismatic figure. Even though Nelson Mandela helped to change South Africa, the country still has a lot of problems, but he will be remembered around the world for his message of peace and unity and obviously, he changed the course of history.

To conclude, we can say that a good leader is not only a person who has power with money or who manages big companies, a good leader is a person who with commitment can lead a group of people to make their dreams and goals come true. For me, leadership is not only about business or money, real leadership is about inspire people to do their best with values and an ethical behavior. To be a good leader requires to be transformational and have the courage to risk and sacrifice, following his convictions.

4. Napoleon Bonaparte

Countries and mankind don’t achieve their goals, be competitive and become better than others without a guide; they need someone to show the way and lead them on the way of improvement. Most of the people are like she eps, they need one to take the lead. Why ? Because it’s so easy to just follow than take risks. The  main great nations of our past were led by strong men, with charisma; we can easily think of Julius Cesar, Winston Churchill and much more. I’d like to talk about, from my perpective, the main character of French history : Napoleon Bonaparte and see by which skills he achieved his journey.

Let’s go back to the XVIIIth century, in France. Just after the revolution, the country is quite lost, in a period called “La Terreur” translated as “the terror”. This era is just a revenge of the French inhabitants on the monarchy. Nothing else was really built. At that time, a Corse (a person living in a French island named Corsica) young man was evolving in the army until becoming, by force, the first consul of France. He had strong goals and nobody was here to stop him. He wanted power, so he took it. Because he was from the army, he wanted to make France bigger and more respectful from the others countries, so, he ran many foreign campaigns in order to enlarge his beloved homeland.

By his charisma, he built an Empire, going from Spain to Russia, From Italy to Sweden. His last enemy was the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, he never had the opportunity to take his conrol. Anyway, by his skills, he made one of the greatest armies of the history “La grande armée” which he led through all Europe to conquer lands and treasures. Nowadays, in military schools, they still teach how Napoléon led his battles and the decision he made. Some battles like Austerlitz are now some classics and remain in our memories.

However, Napoléon didn’t let the country as it was before he had taken his control. Thanks to his political skills, he made a lot of reform such as the law code, the metric system expansion, rewards and the education system. He was imaginative and wanted what France needed.

Nowadays, there are no leaders as powerful as before because the system had changed and our minds also. The powerfull counteries are all democrats, making he power divided to avoid some “putsch”. Basically, we are still remindful and impressed of what some humans, as you and I, were capable to do and to raise a country so high. But, in my opinion, sometimes the leader is just some puppet. What I mean is, it’s not about who is the leader but the nation. I’ll quote Napoléon to illustrate my thought “France needed me more than I needed France”. It doesn’t matter who is the leader, but only the mankind.

5. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

America leaders such as Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy contributed allot to the development of the United States. In most nations, if not every nation, there have been at least one influential leader that redefined how citizens think about their country. In my country, Saudi Arabia, that leader is King Abdullah, the current King of Saudi Arabia. His leadership influence is clearly shown in three main areas; compassion, education and health.

First of all, ever since the day he became the king, he showed outmost compassion tothe citizens and concern for their living conditions. He has driven government officials to initiateprograms targeted to tackle issues related to unemployment and housing. In the unemploymentarea, a major regulation was passed to pressure private sector companies to hire more locals and lower the dependency on expats. Furthermore, another program was launched to assist job seekers in finding jobs through advisory and job matching and even some financial support. In the area of housing, major reforms have been done to the housing market regulations enabling locals to get lower interest rates on housing loans. Similarly, a low cost housing program was launched to assist low-medium income families into owning a home.

Secondly, the king has focused on education making the kingdom become the higest country in the world in spending on education as a percentage of its GDP. The kingdom’s numberof universities have increased seven folds in the past ten years and the kingdom have sponsored almost 200,000 of its citizens to study in top tier education contries such the United Sates and the United Kingdom.

Lastly, during the king’s tenure major improvements in health care have happened. One of which is medical insurance for employees and their families becoming mandatory. Moreover, the network of hospitals and medical centers have quadrupled its capacity. Furthermore, the Saudi Food and Drug Adminstration was estalished to take over licensing of drugs, medical devices and health aspect of food from the ministry of health.

To sum up, the king had major contributions and influences on society that makes him a great leader. He shows compassion and care for the lives of the citizens and insure proper living conditions in terms of job opportunities and housing. In addition, he invest in the future of the country through education. Lastly, he makes considerable reform and improvements to raise the level of health care in the Kingdom.

6. Oda Nobunaga

In my country history, leaders have changed history. Oda Nobunaga  was a samurai and almost achieved to govern my country in Sengoku period, which is known for wars period in Japan. The war had lasted for more than 100 years in only my country before he became one of the best leaders. He had great leadership,created strong and rational strategies which made him famous, and was the first person who almost governed my country which means he was charismatic.

There are some stories of his leadership that are  little atrocities and made him famous as a realistic person, however, I consider that he needed to govern my country.For example, he burned a temple and killed 4000 people because the people who lived there were against him. Even it was the biggest temple at the period and there were 4000 people, including his sister who married a person who was against him and lived in the temple as a spy. Moreover, it is sad he killed a lot of his assistants when they made a tiny mistake. I consider this strict behavior like this is sometimes needed to achieve a goal.
 In addition, he is known as a good strategist. At the time, guns were strictly regulated to import from other countries but he somehow imported them and used them as effectively as he could because the guns could not shoot like machine guns. It took a long time to shoot  again, that is why he created a unit which had a lot of people who made lines and prepared to shoot. The strategy is rational and there were not misfires anymore.
Finally, he was a charisma leader. Even though, he was not born in a rich family, he tried to be the first person who governed my country when there was 100 years war. As I mentioned, he was creative and intelligent so it was not so far to govern the country. However when he almost reached the achievement, his assistant revolted and assassinated him. That reason why the assistant did has not been solved yet. It is said he treated his assistant badly or his assistant wanted to be the first person. Additionally, even though he was assassinated, he has done many things that changed the country and eventually his other assistant who had the same notion as him governed the country.
To sum up, I believe these things are required to be a great leader.