Reflections as 2011 is coming to an end
The celebrations were not confined to the classrooms but extended to the wider public; especially in Amsterdam and Rotterdam were the schools organized public events in their city centers where they expressed their mutual respect in dance and song. The widening circles of the Day of Respect activities are a source of inspiration in an increasing number of countries, notably Scotland and Aruba, where partner organization are preparing to introduce the Day of Respect in their national school systems.
Reflections on the Charter for Compassion and the Earth Charter on the occasion of the 10 Year Earth Charter Celebration in The Hague on June 29, 2010
Almost a generation ago, in 1992 the then emerging global civil society joined the political leadership at Rio de Janeiro in an unprecedented inclusive effort to mobilize the world community to safeguard the earth and one another.
The conference hall where the heads of states met and the camp of tents where the non-governmental organizations interacted were at different locations far away from each other but at the end of the proceedings we met to share our findings.
There were misgivings on both sides. Would governments and citizens be able to rise to the occasion to enact the value change required?
The assembled representatives had not been able to adopt an Earth Charter - a declaration of fundamental ethical principles as a basis for sustainable development was sorely missed. Politicians appealed to us members of civil society. And these words have been engraved in my soul ever since
"Please admonish us, prod us, make our life difficult so that we may garnish our courage to dare take actions that are necessary to care truly for the earth and the world community but may on the short run contravene national self interest"
Thus the civil society Earth Charter drafting process was initiated in the spirit of an emerging planetary consciousness, which expressed itself in the most open and participatory worldwide consultation jointly led by the then established Earth Council and Green Cross.
A dream coming true – launching the Feather Project
written on 2 July, 2010 I would like to share with you some extraordinary events in the life of the Institute. Throughout my life I have been convinced that the cooperation between the generations is the key to unlock the sources of boundless compassionate energy to establish the world the All Merciful One wanted us to have - in the words of my father Jacob “a world filled with cooperation, love, truth and righteousness.”
In 1993 at the end of the conference of the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders for Human Survival in Kyoto dedicated to value change where Green Cross was created I was introduced for the first time to the feather ceremony led by Native American youth. I was struck by its beauty and potential to enhance the intergenerational dialogue by sharing authentic lessons and dreams.
Since then I carried the memories of this moment with me through my life, and wanted to do activate the great potential of this sharing of stories as the feather is being passed around. It has taken all these years till through the institute this dream has become a reality.
There on the stage in the heart of the Earth Charter 10 year anniversary we were given the blessed opportunity bring this age old ritual to life. What a miracle that my Maori Sister Pauline Tangiora was there on the stage with us who we wanted to involve in this project for a long time.
Haiti: We all feel the pain
Copenhagen - It is all about trust
Written on December 17, 2009 the final day of the Copenhagen Summit - Twenty years ago in the summer of 1989 circumstances brought me to Sicily where a scientific conference was held about nuclear energy to be used for early warning systems in case of earth quakes. At the end of the conference pandemonium broke out when a resolution was put forward to take action against the threat of climate change. An ugly divide became apparent between scientists of impeccable standing who accused each other alternatively of forsaking the search for scientific truth for politically motivated propaganda purposes or committing the crime of silence in the face of the greatest threat humanity was facing. Shouts of treason, appeasement, cowardice, corruption were in the air.
Connection and Coincidence, November 11
Yesterday, I attended the ceremony of the Human Rights Defenders Tulip, an award for an outstanding human rights activist. I was honoured to be in the jury of this award and proud of its winner: Shadi Sadr, an unrelenting women’s rights activist in the face of hardship and repression in Iran. On the same day, it was exactly 20 years ago that the Berlin Wall fell, starting a cascade of events that brought the East and West together again. Another event had its anniversary yesterday: the Kristallnacht, the cruel attack on Jewish people in Germany, during the night of November 9-10, 1938.