Sustainable Development

Back to listJun 29, 2010

SGI-Netherlands Displays "Seeds Of Hope" at Earth Charter +10 Event in the Netherlands

100629x_netherlands_seeds_of_hope.jpg Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands views the "Seeds of Hope" exhibition

On June 29, 2010, the "Seeds of Hope--Visions of Sustainability, Steps Toward Change" exhibition was on display during the "Earth Charter +10" celebrations and conference held at the Peace Palace Academy in The Hague in the Netherlands.

Held ten years to the day after the launch of the Earth Charter at the Peace Palace on June 29, 2000, the event was attended by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, who was also the guest of honor at the original launch. It was cohosted by Earth Charter Commissioner and former Prime Minister of the Netherlands Ruud Lubbers.

SGI-Netherlands General Director Shozo Kotera, young men's leader Johan van Kreij, young women's representative Akiko Kotera and SGI NGO Liaison, Joan Anderson, were among 220 participants in a full day of discussions. Those taking part were grouped around small tables to facilitate discussion among participants after every presentation. Observations from each group were "tweeted" (posted on Twitter) by youth representatives and directly viewed online.

Twenty five youth representatives from the Earth Charter youth network from 18 countries joined the event, as well as five young Dutch Worldconnectors and 16 young professionals from the Netherlands and Brazil.

Presenters reviewed the ten years of the Earth Charter and looked forward, particularly focusing on engaging business and youth to make the shift towards a sustainable future. Speakers included Karen Armstrong, renowned writer on religion and founder of the Charter for Compassion, and caretaker prime minister of the Netherlands, Jan Peter Balkenende.

Thematic sessions were offered on various themes, and there were cultural performances by Manuel Obregon, artist and Minister of Culture and Youth for Costa Rica, who played the piano to accompany images and sounds from the rainforest.

A live animation by children from a local school created from recycled waste materials was also presented, together with an animation by live video link-up from a school in Uganda, and at the end of the day, Earth Charter Commissioner Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp introduced "The Feather Project," a method for intergenerational sharing of wisdom and dreams drawn from Native American ritual.

Recurring themes were the need for humanity to change our hearts, and that, in the words of the slogan adopted for Earth Charter +10, "It Starts With One"; both messages which are central to the "Seeds of Hope" exhibition.


[Adapted from a report from SGI-Netherlands; photo courtesy of Ed Lonnee]