After several months of intense preparation, the Soetendorp Institute officially launched the Feather Project at the Earth Chartpeacepalaceer + 10 Conference that took place in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands on June 29.

At 18:15 CET, the Feather Film Trailer was screened in front of an international audience that included Dutch Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende, followed by a live Feather ceremony led by Awraham Soetendorp. The ceremony included two young people from Belarus and Indonesia who shared their personal dreams and visions for a more just and democratic future, and then handed the Feather to the Pakistani Environmental Law expert Parvez Hassan as well as to the Maori Elder Pauline Tangiora.

The personal testimonies moved people to tears, for example when Rabbi Soetendorp shared how he was rescued by the soft forces of compassion that made it possible that he was saved during World War II as a hidden child. Turning to Dmitry Shalveau from Belarus, he said: "I do apologize that we elders do not bequest you a better world - we tried hard but we failed. Therefore the realization of this better future depends on you Dmitry, and your dream and vision that you have."

Pakistani human rights lawyer Parvez Hassan shared that his generation leaves behind a world full of treaties, laws and principles but that it is the core task of the young generation to do better than the elders and start walking the talk, and indeed start implementing the rules and principles that have been drafted.

ec10When the Maori grandmother Pauline Tangiora held the Feather, she remembered how many young indigenous men are being held in prison and told the story how she and other Maori women wanted to bring food to their imprisoned sons but were denied access by the authorities.  She then turned to Feather Project Manager Michael Slaby who reminded her of these young men behind the prison bars, sang a Maori song with tears in her eyes and said "Let us indeed give our love and support to our young men so that they do not endure the same fate as the generations of young indigenous men whose potential is being lost as they are locked away."
Michael Slaby then closed the ceremony by inviting the young people in the audience to start creating their own Feather videos, and start uploading them on the Feather website.

The Soetendorp Institute


Jacob Soetendorp Institute for Human Values
Van Wijngaerdenstraat 21
2596 TW The Hague
The Netherlands