Tutu urges young and old to listen to each other

Published October 2, 2008

Geneva – Younger and older people need to work to build a culture that encourages communications across generations, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu has said in a statement to mark the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons.”Today we need a culture that encourages us to share and learn from each other,” Archbishop Tutu, who turns 77 on 7 October, said in his Oct.1 statement sent to an interfaith gathering in Geneva considering “Cultures and religions for all ages”.In his message, read out by Thabo Sephuma, a 28-year-old South African, Tutu called for a “culture that espouses listening, of fellowship, dialogue, mutual respect and of working together across generations”.”To the elder generation, my challenge is, take your role seriously. Be sensitive to the needs of the wider society. See how you can contribute individually and collectively, and act,” said the former archbishop of Cape Town in South Africa.”To the younger generation,” he said, “my challenge is, learn from the older generation. Do not repeat our mistakes but build on our successes, and find new ways to make this world a better place.”As an example of the contribution of older people, Archbishop Tutu pointed to a group of which he was a co-founder in 2007 called the Council of Elders.The group consists, said Archbishop Tutu, of 12 elder statesmen and women, “whose goal is to stop wars, promote peace, stamp out diseases, and curb global warming”.Other members include former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, former South African president Nelson Mandela, and child rights activist Graca Machel. “We work to support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict, and inspire hope where there is despair,” said Archbishop Tutu.


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