It took more than a year of asking, but the efforts of Bruno Giussani, TED's international curator, paid off in a big way.

After Pope Francis appeared on the screen to thunderous applause, the crowd then settled in to hear a TED talk from the world's most important and powerful religious leader.

The almost 18-minute talk followed the usual TED format with personal storytelling up front to introduce a few big ideas, and was even tailored to the specific audience (The Pope made overtures to TED, the conference's theme of "The Future You", and the TED audience itself).

If you want to watch the talk before continuing, here it is:

The core theme of the talk was like a call to action to leaders everywhere. And if the message is followed, it will produce a cadre of truly remarkable leaders:

Use your power to care for others.

And when doing so, connect it to humility and tenderness.

We all know what it feels like to be around a leader that exudes this. The most remarkable leaders are considered such because they leave a mark on us, in the form of feeling cared for, with compassion and the glow of humble servitude as a backdrop.

Pope Francis first warmed the audience to this powerful Big Idea with these words:

"First and foremost, I would love it if this meeting could help to remind us that we all need each other, none of us is an island, an autonomous and independent I.

How wonderful would it be, while we discover far away planets, to rediscover the needs of brothers and sisters orbiting around us."

In a time where airline atrocities dominate the headlines, where we more publicly pummel each other with each passing day, I find myself thinking: Maybe it's time we all come back down into a more thoughtful and tender orbit.

Like any good TED talk, Pope Francis reached a crescendo with these electric words:

"Please allow me to say it loud and clear, the more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more responsible you are to act humbly. If you don't, your power will ruin you, and you will ruin the other.

There is a saying in Argentina. Power is like drinking gin on an empty stomach. You feel dizzy, you get drunk, you lose your balance, and you will end up hurting yourself and those around you, if you don't connect your power with humility and tenderness."

And, also in accordance with a good TED talk, the Pope closed with this poignant sentiment:

"The future of humankind isn't exclusively in the hands of politicians, of great leaders, of big companies. Yes, they do hold an enormous responsibility. But the future, is, most of all, in the hands of those people who recognize the other as a "you", and themselves as part of an "us". We all need each other."

Yes, this was a TED talk. But more than that, it was a timely talk. A chance for leaders to become remarkable, at a time when the marks we're leaving on each other are anything but tender.

Published on: May 1, 2017
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