Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Greg Obi authors chapter for “Grassroots Leadership and the Arts for Social Change”


Ohio University Chillicothe’s Assistant Professor of Business Management Technology, Greg Obi, recently authored a chapter in book by the International Leadership Association (ILA) on agents for social change.

The book, titled “Grassroots Leadership and the Arts for Social Change,” was released in late March and seeks to explore the intersection of grassroots leadership and the arts for social change by accentuating the many victories artists have won for humanity.

Specifically, his chapter focused on Fela Kuti, a Nigerian activist who utilized his music for social change. The chapter, “Fela Kuti: The Man, The Music, The Activist,” provides a nostalgic journey for Obi to reflect on his joyful childhood in Nigeria while paying homage to Kuti.

“Choosing to write about Fela was an easy one for me, having been born and raised in Nigeria,” said Obi. “I think most Nigerians would think of Fela once the topic of artists as grassroots leaders for social change is introduced. Much has been written about him, but most of these past works have been one-dimensional; treating Fela mostly as a music icon, which he really was.”

Obi hopes to be able to change the thought dynamic surrounding leadership and social change through his work on this book.

“Traditionally whenever we speak about leadership and/or social change, we erroneously think of only corporate and political leaders as those who can engender social change,” he explained. “But history and experience has proven otherwise. Hence for us educators, if we must train our students for real-life work and practice, our paradigm must shift from the traditional.”

He continued, “the presentation of music icons such as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti as agents for social change is a step in this paradigm shift. Such work I hope would cause the reader to rethink leadership and identify otherwise unrecognized social change leaders within their own environment.”

By exposing students and other readers to the possibilities of activism and social change taking on many different forms, Obi hopes this comprehensive text will provide a more practical perspective on the topic.
 
He explained that the book draws upon artists from various parts of the world, who are involved in social change using different mediums. As opposed to the reader needing to travel the world to be exposed to these artists first hand, the book transports them, introducing new concepts, ideas, and thoughts along the way.

Since Obi was able to reflect on a legend in his home country, he felt he owed a debt of gratitude to Fela himself.

“It is a humbling honor for me to be amongst the 20 authors selected out of over 80 submissions for this series” he noted. “I think I owe the debt more to Fela himself, whose life and work, wherever mentioned, draws attention and interest from a diverse audience.”

The book is available through major retailers online and in stores and Obi will be donating two copies to the Quinn Library on campus.

Greg Obi is an Assistant Professor of Business Management Technology and is the campus coordinator of the Business Management Technology Program at OUC. He earned his Master of Business Administration from Purdue University.

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