Wisdom of the Ages: The Elders

Wow do I love this. This auspicious group has been working since 2007, but they are new to me. The Elders is a group of global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, to offer their influence and wisdom to the process of peace building and to address human suffering. In addition to Mandela, Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter, Graca Machel, Desmond Tutu, and Aung San Suu Kyi are a few others of the elders.The group was gathered and launched by Sir Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel.

eldersThere are so few cultures that still revere the wisdom that comes with age, the life spirit and lessons passed down through generations–it’s almost as if we move too quickly and are so desperate to reinvent and improve that we end up re-inventing the wheel instead of building upon the knowledge of those who have gone before us. What a loss.

The Elders focus on international rights issues and take on new challenges as they arise. Their collective plate is currently full with initiatives focused on: the difficult and fraught transition to democracy in Burma; issues based on equality for women and girls and calling for an end to religious and traditional practices that discriminate (perhaps you heard that Jimmy Carter, after 60 years, recently left the Southern Baptist church over their institutionalized repression of women); the humanitarian tragedy in Sudan; the unrest and division on the island of Cyprus; the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe; and the Every Human Has Rights campaign—a wordlwide declaration.

Big, heady issues. Big heads taking them on. When was the last time you reached out to the generation before yours for guidance? Your parents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, family friends, business mentors, or anyone older needn’t be a world leader to have incredible gifts of wisdom that are yours for the asking.

Ask.

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