Posts Tagged ‘Jimmy Carter’

All Together Now: A Celebration of Service

Photo: Associated Press

Tonight at 8PM, NBC will air All Together Now: A Celebration of Service, the first time since President Obama’s inauguration that all four surviving presidents will gather. Clinton, Carter, Bush & Bush will assemble at the Kennedy Center for the event sponsored by the Points of Light Institute to honor President Bush, Sr. for his contributions to engendering a country that embraces volunteering and service. Since all four have been champions of community involvement for all Americans, it is a nice move to bring all together to show that making a difference in the world means political parties make no difference. Performances this evening will also feature Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Cee Lo Green, Reba McEntire, Sam Moore, Brad Paisley, Kid Rock, Darius Rucker, and Carrie Underwood to champion the service movement (and up the cool factor for different generations).

25 million more Americans are volunteering today than were in 1989—and we’ve only just begun. Dip into the well for a little boost of inspiration.

The Elders

eldersWow 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.

There 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.