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Soetendorp Institute Newsletter introducing the Feather Project
Aug 17th, 2010 - 04:02:10
Dear friends, colleagues, brothers and sisters,
Welcome to the Newsletter of the .
Faced with the plight of our neighbors in the global village where natural disasters affect misery beyond endurance we respond as citizens and governments with all we have at our disposal in humanitarian aid. And we know it is far from being enough. We have no choice but to form a true global partnership to care for Earth and one another as the Earth Charter and other documents of great urgency demand.
Throughout my life I have been convinced that 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.
So in this first newsletter of the Jacob Soetendorp Institute for Human Values we would like to highlight a new and exciting initiative to build intergenerational dialogue and collaboration between elders and youth - The Feather Project - so please continue reading to find out more about it.
In 1993 at the end of a conference of the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders for Human Survival in Kyoto, Japan I was introduced for the first time to the 'Talking Feather Ceremony' led by Native American youth. In this ceremony an Eagles Feather was handed to us, Elders, with the implicit question: Based on your life experience, what lesson would you like to share with the next generation?. I was struck by the beauty of this ceremony and its potential to enhance intergenerational dialogue by sharing authentic lessons and experiences.
Since then I carried the memories of this moment with me, and dreamt about bringing this powerful ritual to the spiritual and moral leaders who I encountered throughout my life, but this time giving the young people a more active stance so that they could share with us their dreams, visions, and ambitions for the future.
It has taken all these years until now that this dream is becoming real: after a period of preparation and research, the National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development (NCDO) provided the Soetendorp Institute with some seed funding to produce a first Feather Film Trailer to be screened at the Earth Charter + 10 Conference held in the Peace Palace in The Hague on June 29.
With the help of a talented team of young film makers put together by my co-worker Michael Slaby, we were able to produce this trailer that features Native American Faithkeeper Chief Oren Lyons, Earth Charter Commissioner Mary Evelyn Tucker and young people of a New York-based high school. To make it more appealing to the younger generation, the trailer includes some cutting-edge digital animations of a flying Eagle carrying the feather.
After the screening of the trailer at the EC+10 celebrations we were given the blessed opportunity to bring this age-old ritual to life. What a miracle that my Maori Sister Pauline Tangiora was there on the stage with us to bless the ceremony with her presence. Please feel invited to watch the video of the ritual that we recorded at the event.
With the launching of the interactive website of the Feather Project we enter a new stage of cooperation. Young people all over the world are invited to share with us their feather wishes, their dreams and visions for the future of the world they would like to see and inherit. They are invited to send us their contribution in writing, drawing or on video.
Please help us to spread this invitation by forwarding this message to the young people within your networks, and join us on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
I hope with all my heart that you will join us in sharing the lessons and dreams for creating a better future for all life on this planet, realizing the urgency expressed by Putri, the young Earth Charter Youth representative from Indonesia who participated in the feather ceremony in the Peace Palace: The future lies in the present.
May we all have a refreshing summer.
Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp
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