The East Tennessee Regional Leadership Association welcomes you!


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Contacts for East Tennessee Regional Leadership Program

Jane Myers, East Tennessee Regional Leadership Facilitator:

Click to send e-mail to Jane Myers

Phone: 423-623-7127

Jan Mosadegh, The East Tennessee Community Design Center, ETRLA Sponsor:

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Phone: 865-525-9945

Fax: 865.523.0938

Vision Statement for 2006 Class

East Tennessee in 2020 is a model community that preserves the natural beauty and heritage of the region and effectively delivers the best healthcare, education, and economic opportunities for all.

Vision Statement for 2005 Class

East Tennessee is a collection of communities that speaks with one voice to achieve growth, prosperity, and educational excellence while protecting the environment, preserving its heritage, and enhancing its quality of life.

Vision Statement for the ETRLA Class of 2004

East Tennessee is a region nationally recognized as a center of excellence in technology, education and tourism as a result of its collaborative approach in planning, policy and decision-making and as identifiable by its unique heritage, culture, aesthetic beauty and outstanding quality of life.

Alumni Forum

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Regional Neighborhood Leadership Forum
"Building Leadership...Sharing Success"

October 7, 2004

Click here for the forum agenda.

Click here for a News Release for your use in your local newspaper.

Click here for a listing of the 2004 Robert E. Gonia Award winners in each county.

 Lessons in Leadership - 2nd ETRLA Alumni Forum:

The East Tennessee Regional Leadership Association conducted a regional leadership forum Lessons in Leadership Thursday, October 24, 2002 at the Tennessee Valley Authority West Tower, Knoxville, TN. Eighty four participants enjoyed a tremendous event that featured six unique workshops 1. Keeping Alumni Involved, 2. Curriculum Models, 3. Youth Leadership Programs, 3. Training Seminars, 4. Motivation and Recruitment, and 5. Effective Leadership Boards. Each workshop was presented twice and reports were shared with the full audience after lunch.

After lunch a panel discussion was held consisting of exemplary community leaders John Waters, Jr. (former TVA Board Chairman), Tom Stiner (former Campbell County Executive), Jim Haslam, II (Knox County Business Man and Philanthropists), and Fred Forster (President Blount County Chamber of Commerce) and facilitated by Fred Cole (ETRLA Board Treasurer). This forum was an excellent opportunity to experience first hand the wisdom and insight of these most experienced and effective community leaders. Some of the key thoughts from each panel member:

John Waters focused on the importance of community leadership by relating the story of Leadership Sevier where the three major cities in Sevier County began to think as one unit through the community leadership efforts of their program. He said, "If you give good people good information you will have good leaders."

Tom Stiner began by expressing the honor he felt to be on the panel, but even more so the honor he felt to be in the room with all the community leaders attending this forum. He defined leadership as "The art of influencing people so as to gain their willing and loyal cooperation." He then shared with us excerpts from a paper he had written describing his philosophy of leadership early in his military career. The information remains pertinent today.

Jim Haslam described Peter Drucker's definition of "What is a Leader?" as "Someone who people will follow." He also mentioned "Servant Leadership" as being somewhat different from command leadership. In command leadership the leader says "follow me and let's take the hill." Whereas today's effective leader (a servant leader), through the desire to serve first and then lead, will involve the people who are to take the hill in deciding how to best do the job at hand with greatest effect and least damange to the people and then will lead the way toward taking the hill.

Fred Forster focused us on community leadership as being situational. He described seeing different people take the lead in different situations, depending on the specific situation and the abilities of the people choosing to lead. He noted that he found the person who chooses to lead consistently has the clearest vision of the desired future for the group. He defined leaders as "People who are willing to act" and noted that with the unprecedented change we are experiencing that multi-tasking will become more and more a necessity. He explained that his children were better able to do this than he and that future leaders of tomorrow must be able to function in a multi-task mode routinely.

In response to questions from the audience, Tom Stiner reminded us of the importance to reward in public and punish in private and he insisted that it was as important to punish promptly as it was to reward promptly. Jim Haslam noted that when faced with failure he remembered General Neyland's three-step response to failure

1. There will be a tomorrow
2. What did you learn from this failure?
3. Work hard!

He also passed on counsel in response to what can parents do to best develop their children into good leaders that he learned from a friend who had successfully raised his children. This wise man said there are only two things a parent can do to raise children:

1. Spend time with your children
2. Set a good example
and then after some thought he added a third thing a parent can do, 3. Pray a lot

Fred Forster indicated the importance of taking a three-fold perspective on oneself:

1. Physical
2. Mental
3. Spiritual

Of the three, Fred said the spiritual aspect of one's life was the most important. He said he tried to stress to his daughters that integrity was number one and that integrety was made of complete honesty, honesty with others and with oneself.


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At the end of the conference the following individuals were presented the Robert E. Gonia Regional Leadership Award:
Anderson - Rick Meredith
Blount - Joy Bishop
Campbell - Tom Stiner
Claiborne - Juanita Honeycutt
Cocke - Jane Myers
Grainger - Michael Collins
Jefferson - Doris Sharp
Loudon - Harvey Sprole
Monroe - Sherry Burgess
Oak Ridge - Ray Smith
Roane - Sonny Hunter
Sevier - John Waters

News of Note

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Check out a NEWS FEATURE and learn about East Tennessee Regional NEWS!!
News of Note


TACL Conferences

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Report of the Tennessee Association of Community Leadership (TACL) Tennessee State Conference held October 22-24, 2003 in Chattanooga, TN and attended by Jane Myers, Carol Smallridge and Ray Smith.

The conference key note speaker was Dr. Mark Mendenhall of UT Chattanooga speaking on Leadership.

He began by asking us to think of a person we saw as a leader. He then defined a "Leader" as someone we willingly followed who was not one of our parents. We then described how we felt when following this person using single words. Of course, our responses were identical to 400 cast studies where this exercise has been conducted. The top ten responses are: valued; motivated; enthusiastic; challenged, inspired; capable; supported; powerful; respected; proud. We did NOT feel: fearful; stupid; sad; unconfident; manipulated; coerced; hamstrung; dominated.

A leader is defined as: "Someone who inspires a group of people to willingly persue a vision, a goal or an ideal in an effectively organizationed yet innovative fashion, and in such a way that the outcome of their fellowship experience is one of personal and collective growth."

Some quotes used by Mendenhall:

John Kotter says: "Leaders establish vision for the future and set strategy for getting there; they caus change. They motivate and inspire others to go in the right direction and they along with everyone else, sacrifice to get there."

In surveys seeking the most important leadership quality, "INTEGRITY" scores highest.

George Bernard Shaw: "This is the one true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy...

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can...

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no `brief candle' to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

John Adams - 1818: "The revolution was effected before the war commenced."

Mendenhall said that a leader must have a vision and the essence of that vision must be articulated in 30 seconds or less.

The rest of the conference focused on elements of leadership programs ranging from youth leadership to alumni organizations, regional leadership programs and successful community visioning.

In the youth leadership segment, a quote was shared: "The Power of a Leader: True leaders are not those who strive to be first, but those who are first to see the need, envision the plan, and empower the team for action. By the strength of the leader's commitment the power of the team is unleashed."

In the ALUMNI session, a successful program from Oklahoma City was featured. They have 80% participation. Their purpose is stated as: "To provide a forum and a resource for fostering relationships among members and other community leaders." They publish an annual directory that is perceived as THE listing of key individuals in the community. A quarterly newsletter is published. The ALUMNI board consists of a representative from every past class of their leadership program. Each graduating class elects a male and female representative to plan the fall ALUMNI party which is a huge community event. A 20th Anniversary Memory Book has just been published.

Regional Leadership Programs exist that cover almost all the counties in the state. The East Tennessee Regional Leadership Association was represented by the Executive Director, Jane Myers.

The TACL web site was featured and is coming along nicely. It is continuing to be developed jointly by Leadership Jackson and Leadership Oak Ridge.

The conference was most productive with many ideas being presented. It was difficult to decide which sessions to attend. We split the program and tried to cover as much as possible.

In 2006, Oak Ridge is scheduled to host this state-wide conference. Carol has gained the commitment of the TACL board to hold their conference here. She has also already started planning for a tremendous event. If you would like to help her, please let her know by sending her e-mail: Carol Smallridge .

Report on the Tennessee Association of Community Leadership (TACL) Leadership Conference held October 16 - 18, 2002 in Dickson, TN and attended by Carol Smallridge, Ted Scroback and Ray Smith.

This conference was held at the Renaissiance Center in Dickson and was presented as "Camp Leadership" and included a "Treasure Hunt along the Tracks" in downtown Dickson, a Dinner Theatre production of "Sylvia," a special program in the planetarium Cybersphere, as well as an "Old-Fashioned Dinner on the Grounds and Campfire Inspiration" with Dr. David Lee Hunter, a humorist from Knoxville. The conference workshops included "Hosting Retreats," "Taking Care of Yourself," "Interpersonal Skill Building," "Community Partnerships," Diversity in Membership and Programming," and "Youth Leadership."

One highlight of the conference was the presentation by Leadership Dickson's Dana Ramsey featuring the manner in which they have continued to involve ALUMNI. Their leadership program created a cirriculm for middle school students that included "Character Counts," "Education Edge," "Choices," ... all of which are conducted by ALUMNI. We would do well to learn from this experience and include opportunities for service by Leadership Oak Ridge Alumni, in my opinion.

A web page is being developed for TACL and will include links to our Leadership Oak Ridge pages and the East Tennessee Regional Leadership page as well. I have volunteered to co-develop the web site for TACL.

The conference next year is scheduled to be held in Chattanooga. It would be good for Oak Ridge to host one of these conferences in the near future.

In addition to the many learning opportunties and interesting activities of the conference this year, the networking accomplished all throughout the conference activities was of tremendous value. Many community leadership programs are making great strides. Their examples held good lessons learned and they readily shared their successful experiences.

As you will recall, Carol Smallridge has been appointed to the board of directors for TACL and will both contribute to their continued success and gain much knowledge and experience to translate into further improvements in our already pace setting Leadership Oak Ridge. Should you have specific questions about the above information or should you desire to learn more about the specific activities of the TACL Leadership Conference, please contact Carol (E-mail: Carol Smallridge) or Ray (E-mail: Ray Smith) or Ted Scroback (E-mail:Ted Scroback for answers to your questions and more information.

              End of TACL Conferences 

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NOTICE: Class GRADUATIONS are EXCELLENT!!!! Plan to attend and ENJOY!


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East Tennessee Regional Leadership Class of 2003 Graduation

The East Tennessee Regional Leadership Graduation Celebration for our Graduating Class of 2003 was held Tuesday, December 2, 2003 in Calhoun's on the River.

Dr. Bruce Wheeler, Professor of History, University of Tennessee was the Commencement Speaker.

Dr. Wheeler was introduced by Dave McCoy. He began by noting that in the 1930's when TVA first came to East Tennessee, their perceptions of East Tennesseans were usually stated in terms of our ignorance, our sloughfullness or some reference to our genetic limitations. TVA never understood East Tennessee. In 1905 a prominent business publication suggested East Tennessee was the best place to invest. They cited railroads, commerce and manufacturing. Some reasons that led to this conclusion were:

In 1896, Knoxville was the third largest manufacturing center in the southeast. There were two words Knoxvillians did not want to hear "Chattanooga" and "Nashville."

From the Civil War to 1900, corn, wheat and cattle were the primary crops and products produced in East Tennessee. Tobacco had not taken hold in the area (Tobacco has about run its course in our area, in Dr. Wheeler's opinion and will soon be gone as a viable crop).

Also a factor was the birth rate and survival rate of infants. In Sevier County, 28% of those under five years old died and 50% of the people died before reaching 50 years of age.

In 1860 there were 900 farms in Sevier County. In 1900 there were 3000 farms.

Another thing to hurt East Tennessee was the railroad. The reason was that because of the railroad, East Tennesseans had to compete nationally and our products did not fare well.

Lastly, the leadership did not understand what was happening and did not have a vision for the future. They tried to "build a moat" around East Tennessee and as a result, did not pursue a viable future, but rather attempted to hold on to the status approach doomed to failure.

From 1900 to 1930 the rural population increased only 14% while the population in the towns and cities increased 200%. In the 1930 depression years, there was a return to the land. In the period of 1930 to 1935 there was an increase of 400 farms in Anderson County.

In 1928 there were 26,000 telephones in Knox County. In the surrounding counties there were far fewer. 20,000 homes had electricity in Knox County and in some of the surrounding counties, there were no homes with electricity.

However, the people did have cars! In Anderson County, one farmer had an 1927 Chevrolet and another had a 1930 Chevrolet while living on small farms.

Another significant impact on our region has been interstate highways. Being a republican section in a primarily democrat state, we have had to fight for roads. When Frank Clement was the governor, he is said to have stated that when East Tennessee learned to vote right then roads would be placed there. Of course, East Tennessee did vote "right," far right!

Wears Valley is where Dr. Wheeler lives. He told of a decision that community was trying to make regarding a volunteer fire department and during a meeting a question was raised about who actually worked in the valley. Only five of 400 people actually worked in Wears Valley. The comment was heard "Well, we better hope that if we have a fire it is on the weekend!" Dr. Wheeler also stated that he would rather we just send our money to Wears Valley rather than bring it there as they were hoping to keep their valley as it is and not desiring more growth.

All that may remain of East Tennessee is the image of what others think about it. There is surely a weekend in July when there is no one left in Ohio and Michigan as they have all come to Pigeon Forge!

He told of his daughter who upon arriving in college realized for the first time that she could actually compete with anyone and that she was not truly deprived because she was raised in East Tennessee. His response was to tell her to ask the others in her college if they knew what "you-one's" (pronounces you-in's) meant. He doubted they would, but she did and that should make her feel superior to them.

Dr. Wheeler ended with a story that he asked us to steal and share with others. He admitted that he stole it from a priest. It seems the oaken beams in the dining room ceiling of Oxford University in England needed to be replaced in 1991. They had been placed in the dining room in 1394. The school administration did not know where they could find the quality of oak to adequately replace these wonderful old beams. (Dr. Wheeler said he asked a professor at UT about this and was told to install a steel I-beam and cover it with simulated oak. He said, you might do that in Farragut, but not in Oxford!). It seems a professor at Oxford was walking across campus when he happened to mention the problem of needing to replace the oaken beams to a grounds keeper. The grounds keeper said "I was wondering when you would ask" and proceeded to tell the professor that every grounds keeper over the years had known about a stand of oak trees in the back of the school property that had resulted from a grounds keeper planting acorns from the trees that were felled to make the original beams. These oak trees had been tended by each generation of grounds keepers and they had each known that someday these acorns would produce oak trees that would be destined to replace the oak beams in the dining room of the school. He commented that the East Tennessee Regional Leadership Class of 2003 were not acorns, but were oaks ready now to be used to take their place in the region to serve the needs of East Tennessee.

East Tennessee Regional Leadership Class of 2002 Graduation

The East Tennessee Regional Leadership Graduation Celebration for our Graduating Class of 2002 was held Thursday, December 5, 2002 in the Oak Ridge Mall - Community Room

Wilma Dykeman Stokely was Commencement Speaker for the Class of 2002 Graduation Ceremony (A review of her talk is not available, sorry - Ray)

Graduation for the Class of 2001

Date: Was held Thursday, November 29, 2001 Place: Calhoun's on the River, Knoxville Time: 6:30 Social Hour (with cash bar) 7:15 Dinner (Buffet) General Carl W. Stiner spoke on "How We Got to September 11, 2001" (my words, not his...Ray).

This speech was a most significant and enlightening presentation. Based upon his vast knowledge of the Middle East and its history, General Stiner provided a succinct history of Muhammad and the creation of Islam. He described the evolution of Islam from its pure state to the curruption of its more conservative elements for the purpose of justifying the current terrorism that ultimately resulted in the September 11, 2001 attack on America AND the world.

He began by stating that for us to understand where we are going, we must first understand where we have been and how we got there. Proceeding from that basic concept, he elaborated on the history of terrorism from his unique vantage point of having personal involvement in much of the key situations in the world over the past several decades.

We who were in the audience were blessed to be able to listen to such an intimate and factual review of world events. Terrorism, for us is better understood and likely more hated as a result of last evening's presentation by General Stiner. Here is the content of the evening's presentation:

Class of 2001 Graduation Celebration
November 29, 2001

What follows is not a verbatim account of General Stiner’s remarks, but my recollections and notes on his talk with additional history on Muhammad and the Islam religion inserted. I hope I have been faithful to the General’s intent. I hope you enjoy the notes from what I consider to be THE most significant speech presented locally since the September 11, 2001 terrorist event… Ray Smith

Commencement Speaker
General Carl W. Stiner, USA (RET.)

For additional information on Carl Stiner's Leadership Principles, go to: Shadow Warriors

Fred Cole introduced Carl Stiner, Campbell County farmer, career military servant, local hero, national policy advisor, international champion of United States influence in the world, natural leader and extremely astute individual for whom all who know him have the utmost respect, honor and admiration.

General Stiner began by stating the most important thing about this class is the relationships formed. He admonished the class to sustain those relationships and to know the true secret of effective leadership is the trust and respect built by relationships such as those developed among the class members of East Tennessee Regional Leadership Class of 2001. He reminded the class that during the most intense crisis even the highest-ranking staff could become stiff and unable to respond, while the trust and respect from such relationships as those formed in this class enable successful leadership. He cited two such examples of crisis when he personally called on trusted relationships to meet the need for support when the chips were truly down and each relationship was strong enough to respond without questioning why. The persons requested to support his immediate needs provided that support leading to the success of the mission. He admonished the class to use each other in similar fashion. Call on one another; help one another and the East Tennessee Region will be strong for it and leadership will flourish.

And with that said on leadership, General Stiner informed the audience that he was not going to speak on leadership tonight, but was going to give us a history lesson about Israel and Arab relations. (The following comes from Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia and provides much the same information as General Stiner related…however, I could not capture in my notes the details of all he said. Yet a basic understanding of the beginnings of Islam is vital to comprehend how and why terrorism emanating from the Middle East affects the world as it does today, therefore I have included the details here.)

Muhammed lived from 570 – 632 AD. Muhammad was born in Mecca. He belonged to the clan of Hashim, a poor but respected branch of the prestigious and influential tribe of Quraysh. His father died before he was born, and after his mother's death when he was six, he was brought up by his uncle Abu Talib. Pensive and withdrawn in temperament, he displayed an acute moral sensitivity at an early age, and he was known as al-Amin ("the trusted one"). Like his fellow tribesmen, he became a trader and made several journeys to Syria, where he may have met and conversed with Christians. He then began to manage the business of a rich widow, Khadija; she was greatly impressed by both his honesty and ability, and she shortly offered him marriage, which he accepted at the age of 25. Muhammad probably heard Christians and Jews expound their religious views at commercial fairs in Mecca, and, troubled by the questions they raised, he periodically withdrew to a cave outside Mecca to meditate and pray for guidance. During one of these retreats he experienced a vision of the archangel Gabriel, who proclaimed him a prophet of God. He was greatly perplexed by the experience but was reassured by his wife, and, as new revelations followed, he came to accept his prophetic mission. His wife and his cousin Ali became his first followers, and eventually he began to preach in public, reciting the verses of his revelation, which came to be known as the Qur'an (Koran). He gained some prominent converts, but the movement grew slowly. Muhammad's earliest teachings emphasized his belief in one transcendent but personal God, the Last Judgment, and social and economic justice. God, he asserted, had sent prophets to other nations throughout history, but, having failed to reform, those nations had been destroyed. Muhammad proclaimed his own message, the Qur'an, to be the last revealed Book and himself to be the last of the prophets, consummating and superseding the earlier ones. Insisting on the necessity of social reform, Muhammad advocated improving the lot of slaves, orphans, women, and the poor and replacing tribal loyalties with the fellowship of Islamic faith. This egalitarian and reformist tendency quickly aroused the enmity of the rich merchants who dominated Mecca. They persecuted some of Muhammad's weaker followers, and in 615 he ordered 83 families to take refuge in Ethiopia. When both his beloved wife Khadija and his uncle and protector Abu Talib died in 619, he despaired of his position in Mecca. After an unsuccessful effort to convert the nearby town of AtTa'if, he was approached by a delegation from Yathrib (later Medina), a city about 300 km (about 186 mi) to the north that was divided by tribal feuds. They asked him to arbitrate the feuds, offering him considerable authority. After careful negotiations, Muhammad accepted and asked his followers to emigrate from Mecca to Medina. Muhammad escaped Mecca just as his enemies were preparing to murder him, and he arrived in Medina eight days later. His flight became known as the Hegira (Arabic hijrah) and marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.

Muhammad was soon given supreme authority in Medina, and he began to establish the ritual practices of Islam and to carry out social reforms. He promulgated a charter that specified the rights and relationships of the Muslims, Jews, and other groups of the city. The Meccans, meanwhile, persisted in their hostility, demanding the extradition of Muhammad and his Meccan followers. They were supported in Medina by a group, referred to in the Qur'an as the Hypocrites, who had submitted to Islam but were secretly working against it. This group in turn was aided by the three Jewish tribes that were residing in Medina. Muhammad's strategy in the developing conflict with Mecca was to attack Meccan trade caravans returning from Syria and thus economically weaken the city. In 624, the first major battle occurred, in which the Muslims, despite their inferiority in numbers and weapons, soundly defeated the Meccans. In the next major battle, the following year, the Meccans had the advantage but were unable to achieve a decisive victory. A Meccan army of 10,000 besieged Medina in 627 but failed to take the city. Muhammad meanwhile eliminated his enemies within Medina. After each of the first two battles he expelled a Jewish tribe, and after the third major battle he had the males of the remaining tribe massacred for collaborating with his opponents. In 630, the Meccans, unable to conquer Medina and crippled by the severing of their trade routes, finally submitted peacefully to Muhammad, who treated the city generously, declaring a general amnesty. Tribal delegations arrived from throughout Arabia, and their tribes were soon converted to Islam. Muhammad, now the most powerful leader in Arabia, enforced the principles of Islam and established the foundation of the Islamic empire. He ordered the destruction of the idols in the Kaaba, the traditional place of pilgrimage in Mecca, which then became the holiest shrine of Islam. He granted Jews and Christians religious autonomy as "peoples of the Book," whose revelations anticipated his own. On his last visit to Mecca, at the time of the annual pilgrimage, he gave a sermon in which he summarized his reforms, declared the brotherhood of Muslims, and repudiated all distinctions of class, color, and race. He died suddenly and unexpectedly in Medina about a year later, on June 8, 632. As long as Khadija lived, Muhammad took no other wives. After her death in 619, when he was 50, he eventually married nine women, including Aisha, the daughter of his kinsman and early follower Abu Bakr, who was to become the first caliph, or successor to Muhammad. He also took a Christian Coptic slave as a concubine. Muhammad's sons all died in infancy, and the only daughter to survive him was Fatima, who married Ali, the fourth caliph. After Muhammad's death, his followers began to embellish the story of his life with mythology, probably derived in part from accounts of the founders of other religions. The story of Muhammad's ascension to heaven from Jerusalem, for instance, seems to have been modeled on the ascension of Jesus. Muhammad's heart, his early followers asserted, was miraculously cleansed of all unworthy thoughts when he was a boy of 12, and he was declared, as were the other prophets, immune from error and able to intercede on the behalf of sinners. Although the Qur'an explicitly denies that Muhammad performed any miracles, his followers soon credited him with many miraculous feats. Muslims, however, have always attributed their religion to God alone and repudiate any suggestion of the prophet's divinity. Muhammad's remarkable abilities and personality are demonstrated by the establishment and rapid expansion of Islam, which had to overcome the traditional idolatry and tribal jealousies of the Arabs and the opposition of their most powerful leaders. From the Battle of Tours brought a halt to the expansion of Islam and produced a sect called the Shiites (Arabic, “partisans”), the only surviving major sectarian movement in Islam. The Shiites emerged out of a dispute over the succession to Muhammad (see Caliphate). After the assassination of the fourth caliph, Ali, in 661, the Shiites (partisans of Ali) were those Muslims claiming that it had been Ali's right to succeed Muhammad directly and that the previous caliphs had therefore been usurpers. They maintained that only the descendants of Ali and his wife, Fatima, Muhammad's daughter, were entitled to rule the Muslim community. This doctrine, known as legitimism, was rejected by the majority of the Muslim community, who came to be known as Sunnites. The Shiites developed a doctrine of the infallibility, sinlessness, and divine right to authority of the descendants of Ali, whom they called imams (see Imam). The main body of Shiites recognize 12 imams and are called the “Twelvers”; the Ismailis recognize 7 and are called the “Seveners.” The last imam disappeared in 880, and Shiites to this day await his return, when they believe that justice will be established on earth. The imam, as the Shiites conceive him, is a repository of wisdom, absolute in his political and religious authority. Under the theoretical aegis of the 12th imam, Shiite religious leaders exercise immense influence. They are more likely to take an innovative approach to religious issues and to defy political authority than Sunnites. During the early centuries of Islam, the Shiites, politically defeated and persecuted, became an underground movement and adopted the principles of taqwa (which in this case means “dissimulation of faith”) and of an esoteric interpretation of the Qur'an (Koran). Thus, Shiites believe that beneath the explicit and literal meaning of the Qur'an are other levels of meaning, which are known only to the imam, who can reveal them to chosen followers. These principles, useful to the movement when it was politically powerless, are still accepted by Shiites. They also affirm the validity of a form of temporary marriage called muta. Shiites pay the tax called zakat (originally levied by Muhammad to help the poor and later levied by Muslim states) to their religious leaders rather than to state authorities, as they did before achieving political power (for instance, in Iran in the 15th century). As a result, many Shiite leaders in Iran and Iraq have immense wealth and property. During the 10th and 11th centuries, Shia Islam had a large following throughout the Middle East, but the spread of the popular mystical movement known as Sufism seems to have greatly diminished its strength. Today Shiites are in the majority in Iran, and large numbers are found in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, India, Pakistan, and parts of Central Asia. Their total number exceeds 165 million. In recent years several Shiite leaders, including the Iranian political leader the Ayatollah Khomeini, advocated rapprochement and solidarity with Sunni Islam. . (This completes the Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia history of Muhammad.)

Now back to General Stiner’s remarks: In 1947 the French controlled Lebanon and the British controlled Palestine. In 1948 the United Nations created an Arab state and an Israel state. The new state of Israel was immediately attacked by Arabs resulting in Israel taking much of the Arab land granted by the United Nations. Fighting continued. 1967, 1973, 1982 all saw significant fighting between Israel and various Arab neighbors. It is the United States policy to support Israel and many in the Arab world hate us for it.

In 1979 and 1980, Iran was one of the United States’ allies until the Shah of Iran made several mistakes, the largest one of which was to allow Khomeini to return to Iran. He immediately overthrew the Shah and hostage taking began. 53 Americans were held 444 days. President Carter failed to get them released and thus was not re-elected. While this may not have been the only reason, it contributed to his failure. The reason for the hostage taking was an attempt to reinstate $22M of equipment and supplies frozen when Khomeini took over Iran. $9M was released ultimately. In 1980, a Jihad or holy war was declared against the United States.

The 600,000 Arabs without a homeland because of the victory of Israel over the years resulted in raids against Israel, terrorist tactics in Jordan promoted by Yasir Arafat, a major threat to Jordan’s King Hussein and the Palestine Liberation Organization moves to Lebanon. About this time we began to realize a new form of warfare in the world. It began when one of the participants in the Tehran embassy who was educated at the University of California came to understand that the United States could not do anything to retaliate against hostage taking. And we did not effectively do anything. More and more hostage taking incidents unfolded over the next few years. In 1985 there were 14 hostages taken in Beirut. It was at this time that the United States formulated a strategy to take over the building where the hostages were being held. We practiced this maneuver and prepared for the day of the scheduled event. Two weeks prior to the action, a CIA agent in Beirut was captured, tortured and forced to identify the operatives in Beirut. All were killed. The rescue never happened. All United States intelligence in Beirut was eliminated. 241 marines were killed using truck bombs. This was a terrible time and General Stiner was personally involved in the response to the terror. He, along with Donald Rumsfield were identified by the terrorist as prime targets and even included in the press release by the terrorists as having been “taken out.” This was not true, of course.

Over the next 20 years many incidences of terrorist activity has been experienced. Each terrorist action seemed to become more brazen and fearless than the last one. Major events occurred in 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998 and 2000 with the final blow being the attacks of September 11, 2001. Sadly America’s response to these terrorist acts has been less than effective. In fact our inaction over the past several years has led the terrorist to correctly assume they can get away with ever increasing terrorist actions.

Osama Bin Laden was first brought to our attention when in an interview Oliver North admitted to installing a $60,000 security network at his home because of threats from a person he considered to be the most dangerous person in the world, Osama Bin Laden. When asked what he thought should be done about this dangerous person, Oliver responded that a team of assassins should be dispatched to kill him. This response seemed out of line to the hearing officials at the time…now we are doing much more to take him out if possible. Things have changed, huh.

Osama Bin Laden was born July 30, 1957, the 17th of 20 sons of a now deceased Saudi construction magnate of Yemeni origin. When his father died in a helicopter crash in 1968, he left an estate of $6B. Approximately $300M was Bin Laden’s share that he has invested wisely and has used to finance terrorist training and execution of terrorist actions, primarily against the United States. He is thought to have three terrorist training camps in Sudan and maybe others. It is thought that his operatives killed Anwar Sadat.

For those people who over the years have known Bin Laden and his tactics, September 11 came as no real surprise. The specifics maybe, but the attack on America was not surprising. He has had sleeper cells around the world and has been training them for some time. Why did September 11 happen? The CIA had a massive intelligence failure, the FBI internal security failed to pick up the situation, the FAA allowed lax security. The U. S. government over the last eight years allowed us to be set up for failure when the policy was implemented that prevented the intelligence agencies from hiring a spy that was in any way involved with any organization that had committed human rights violations. That is naïve at best and just dumb business. A spy is not likely to be the most sterling citizen and may well lead a distasteful life. We should use them knowing that they may not meet our standards for citizenship, but we should make use of them for the intelligence we can gain from them. Our military is handicapped when we do not have adequate intelligence.

September 11 was aimed to cripple the United States. The attack was asymmetrical in nature. Terrorism is typically asymmetrical. It can focus on chemical, biological and nuclear warfare at the same time from many different angles. Recently 17 military officers conducted a review of the terrorist threat in the chemical and biological warfare area. We concluded our initial review and produced the report containing 22 recommendations just prior to the attack of September 11. We considered the delivery system of crop duster airplanes as well as other delivery systems. After the attack on America the report took on an added importance. Just three weeks ago we met again to update the report. We found the 22 recommendations still appropriate and made only a few minor revisions. Many of the initial recommendations are already being implemented or planned for the near future. Such actions as training first responders, increased training for the National Guard and each state governor responsible for having a trained response force of 300 people. This will require funding of approximately $28M for each state to come up to the recommended state of preparedness.

The weakest link in our system right now is the susceptibility of our computer-controlled systems such as our electrical power grid. Cyber security and defending against a cyber attack is extremely difficult right now. Transportation is also a potential terrorist target as is our energy system. We really don’t know where they might attack next.

These particular terrorist today are unique in that they are trained to think of martyrdom as something very special. The teaching of the Mullahs has hijacked their own religion. While the terrorist coming from this background are the most prominent on the world scene today, they are by no means the only groups promoting terrorism. There are at least eight major groups including: The Network of Terror, the Hamas, the Hezbollah, the Islamic Jihad, the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Japanese Red Army. We must be vigilant. We must know what is going on in these terrorist groups. Only by such preparation can we hope to defend ourselves against continuing attacks.

Will the events of September 11 awake America? How long will we hold our resolve? How soon will we collectively forget the horror? We have a $7 Trillion gross national product. This war on terror may well cost America $3 Trillion! We cannot falter. We must win the war against terror!

Our forefathers gave us the greatest nation ever to exist in the history of the world. What will future generations have if we don’t take appropriate action now to stop terrorism attacks forever? One and one quarter million people have died in wars. We must stop the killing for our children’s sake. There will be no victory parades in this war on terror. It is not a normal conflict, rather is a multi-faceted evil and must be fought through a multi-pronged approach.

It is this important – our very society as we know it is at stake. We can lose all we have gained, all that has been provided us through the sacrifice and dedication of our forefathers. We must win this war on terror!

1. Do you think we will catch Bin Laden? ANSWER:Yes!
2. Can we protect our power grid? ANSWER: Cyber attack is the most vulnerability we face right now.
3. Where do you think the Anthrax attack originated? ANSWER: That is hard to say. In 1983 and 1984 weapons grade anthrax was prepared in Beirut. Iraq also has weapons grade anthrax.
4. Do you think we acted properly when we stopped our attack on Iraq before taking out Saddam Hussein? ANSWER: The President had no choice. The moderate Arabs asked us not to kill him. They had no one else that could control that area of the world.
5. Do you agree that the best defense is a strong offense? ANSWER: A balanced offensive to root out the terrorist is required. We must clean up our act relative to intelligence gathering and our response to known terrorist supporting organizations.
6. What about the 5000 people that we have in detention right now? ANSWER: Many of the people we have let into the country are students and we lost track of them. What is happening now is that we are attempting to determine who had connections with the known terrorist groups.

For more information on Carl Stiner's Leadership Principles, go to: Shadow Warriors

Class of 2001
Graduation Celebration
November 29, 2001
Vision of the East Tennessee Regional Leadership Class of 2001

East Tennessee is a cohesive group of diverse communities partnering to provide residents and guests with quality education, health care and leisure services, committed to preserving the natural attributes of the people, the land, and the culture, while providing a strong economic base and viable opportunities for the future.


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The East Tennessee Regional Leadership Association (ETRLA) exists to provide a forum for expanding the active leadership within the region and exploring the resources and potential in the various counties in the East Tennessee region.  This program results from an effort of The East Tennessee Community Design Center to build leadership programs in East Tennessee.  The ETRLA is guided by a steering board of two members from each leadership program in the East Tennessee region.

The purposes of the Regional Leadership Association are to:

1. Provide a regional approach in addressing key issues vital to all East Tennessee;

2. Discover and promote the available resources that are actively working to improve the region;

3. Create a network of concerned leaders through which information can be effectively channeled;

4. Develop recommendations for constructive actions in resolving apparent needs.

The ETRLA had its beginning in April 1999 with a successful steering team retreat. At this retreat the basic design of monthly class meetings with different counties hosting the class each month was initiated.  This format continues with representatives of alumni from the various leadership programs in East Tennessee participating.

In January 2001 a second association was formed and held its first meeting.  The East Tennessee Regional Leadership Alumni Association exists to provide communication, encouragement, leadership and a forum for continuing the networking of graduates of The East Tennessee Regional Leadership Program. 

One of the primary functions of the alumni association is to produce The East Tennessee LEADER newsletter. 


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The following links will take you to the current issue and past issues of the newsletter:

The East Tennessee LEADER Newsletter, Vol 1, Issue 1


The East Tennessee LEADER Newsletter, Vol 1, Issue 2



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To learn of REGIONAL ACTIVITIES or to ADD YOUR County's Activities, please use the "self service" calendar at the CALENDAR OF EVENTS link:

Self Service East Tennessee Regional CALENDAR of events!


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Photographs of East Tennessee Regional Leadership Program activities can be viewed at the following location:

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Please provide comments, recommendations for improvement or any other feedback on this web page by sending e-mail to Ray Smith THANK YOU!



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East Tennessee Regional Links:



East Tennessee Community Design Center


Knoxville Oak Ridge Regional Network of Tennessee - KORRNet


Nine Counties One Vision



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