blessingBuilding on the successful "Wings for Rio + 20" Multistakeholder Dialogue held in May 2012 in the Peace Palace, the Soetendorp Institute co-organized "Wings for Earth Charter". The event took place in Amsterdam on September 13, 2012 and involved the other co-hosts of Wings for Rio - Inner Sense and Earth Charter Netherlands.

This time, the focus of the event was on the Earth Charter, highlighted by Earth Charter Commissioner Ruud Lubbers and Alide Roerink, who gave her farewell as Dutch Earth Charter Coordinator.

The event featured the "Thumbs Up Africa" project of three young people from the Netherlands, who soon will soon embark on the biggest adventure of their lives - a hitchhiking tour from the Groningen, Netherlands to Cape Town, South Africa.

Their "Thumbs Up Africa" tour of more than 15.000 km will bring them through 14 different countries. It is their plan to visist different social and environmental projects along their way, and highlight them on their interactive travel blog.

During the Wings for Earth Charter event, the three hitchhikers joined a Feather Ceremony that was held to bless their journey. After the ceremony, indigenous elders gave Neda, Christiaan and Sierd a traditional blessing while the whole audience was holding hands, prayingand listening to a song by Jyoti, the convener of the International Grandmothers Council.

This ceremony was joined by Grandmother Rita Pitka Blumenstein from Alaska and Grandmother Julieta Casimiro from Mexico from the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, as well as Princess Irene of the Netherlands. Please find some impressions of the event here.

The Soetendorp Institute


Jacob Soetendorp Institute for Human Values
Van Wijngaerdenstraat 21
2596 TW The Hague
The Netherlands