"Do not wait to be appointed 'boss' to be a leader." This is what Josette Sheeran, who directs the UN World Food Programme, told graduates at the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.
But what if a whole group of people decides to become the "boss," at least for a while?
Take what happened back in 1947 when a train whistled across America making stops in various cities as it headed east. This may not seem out of the ordinary. But the purpose of this train most certainly was.
At every stop people would bring cans of food and load them into the boxcars. This was the Friendship Train, collecting donations for Europeans starving after World War II. The food would be shipped overseas after reaching its final U.S. stop.
This was most definitely an act of compassion. But columnist Drew Pearson, whose idea launched the Friendship Train, explained that it meant something else too: a change in the leadership roles of our foreign policy.
Instead of just heads of state and other high-ranking officials making deals to decide war and peace, it was ordinary citizens taking the reins and leading the way on international relations.
Pearson wrote that in the past when it came to foreign relations, "a lot of people have stood on the sidelines feeling helpless, futile, frustrated...Now, however, for the first time in history, the average American sees a chance to do something to influence the foreign policy of his country. For food quite definitely has become an instrument of foreign policy. It is just as much an instrument of foreign policy as tanks or battleships, possibly more so. Food means the difference between a chaotic Europe or a gradually reconstructed Europe. In the end it may mean the difference between peace and war."