Breadcrumbs

Professor Debashish Munshi recalls New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's time as a student at the University of Waikato.

It’s now two decades since Jacinda Ardern was a student in one of my communication classes at the University of Waikato in Hamilton.  But I still remember her vividly as a bright, inquisitive, articulate, and engaged student who asked questions and actively enriched class discussions.

She was part of the first cohort of the then newly-launched Bachelor of Communication Studies (BCS) degree. As an interdisciplinary degree, the BCS attracted students who wanted to major in subjects across the humanities, the social sciences, and management. This was perfect for a student with an expansive mind and Jacinda excelled in the degree. Look where she is now – an outstanding political leader and an exemplary communicator.

In our role as academics, we teach students. But there are many students we learn from as well. Jacinda is one of them. Even in those early undergraduate years, she raised the bar of classroom learning with her thought-provoking contributions. She was then, as she is now, deeply conscious of issues of justice. Today Jacinda is a role model for us all.  She has led the country out of the COVID19 crisis with sound leadership and has been a voice of reassurance for the entire nation.

We teach emotional intelligence in our classes. Such intelligence is the ability to recognise the most appropriate feelings for a particular situation and the skill to communicate those feelings sensitively effectively, and authentically. Jacinda is the epitome of emotional intelligence. Her greatest strength is her authenticity.

A lesson in leadership

During her first term in office, Jacinda Ardern led her country through a major terror attack, a deadly volcanic eruption, and the coronavirus pandemic. Now in her second term, she continues to lead the island nation’s Covid-19 response and economic recovery.

In the face of such challenges, the Prime Minister’s clear, empathetic communication style has attracted comment from leadership experts around the world.

Ms Ardern completed a Bachelor of Communication Studies majoring in Professional Communication and Political Science at the University of Waikato from 1999 to 2001.


Related stories

Shipping containers

Modelling international trade regulations reveals hidden impacts

New Zealand recently signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), an historic trade agreement between…

Hon Grant Robertson

Tumultuous Times: National economics forum to ask the big questions

The University of Waikato is set to host a national economics conference on 3 and…

Newly promoted academics

New Professorial Appointments for Waikato

University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley has announced academic promotions for one new Professor…

Why nice people commit fraud

Could kind, well-liked leaders be putting their company at greater risk of financial fraud than…

Curb population growth to tackle climate change: now that’s a tough ask

Population growth plays a role in environmental damage and climate change.

Pou Temara, Mark Bowden, John McIntosh, Mike Sutton

2021 New Year Honours list recognises Waikato achievements

A former University of Waikato staff member and four alumni have been recognised for their…

Management grad champions business with a social heart

Management graduate Aaminah Ghani is the third generation of women in her Kiwi-Indian family to…

Waikato Management School

University of Waikato ranked one of the top world-wide for accounting

The University of Waikato has recently been ranked as one of the top institutions in…

Ngarunui Beach, Raglan

Airbnb not the culprit in holiday hotspot’s housing crisis

A new study has found Airbnb is not wholly to blame for the shortage of…

callum-saunders

Elite on the track

When most of his Marlborough Boys' College mates were looking at tertiary study closer to…

Kim Pickering

Major funding boost for circular economy research programme

Engineering Professor Kim Pickering has been awarded $10.9m in Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment…

Theresa Gattung

Catching up with: Theresa Gattung, CNZM

In 2007, BMS alumna Theresa Gattung received one of the first Distinguished Alumni Awards. We…