Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp joined Bishop Desmond Tutu in speaking to over 10.000 people about the “Power of Dignity” at the German Protestant Church Congress ("Kirchentag") in Cologne, 6 – 10 June, 2007. Speaking against the backdrop of the majestic Cologne Cathedral, Rabbi Soetendorp opened his moving speech by quoting the Earth Charter’s call to create a global partnership to care for Earth and one another. He then read parts of a statement on peace in the Middle East that he drafted with Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan. The statement had been prepared for the main publication of the Kirchentag, a book in which religious leaders, Nobel Peace Laureates and Heads of State expressed their visions for a humane and just economic order that builds on the power of dignity instead of the power of financial capital.

Rabbi Soetendorp concluded by sharing his life story - a story of being rescued by a German-born woman who opened the door for a baby in a suit-case. “Looking at the millions and millions of children, women and men that are enduring hunger and poverty and that are looking at us in despair, I feel that we are holding the door in our hands. Will we be able to open the door and achieve the Millennium Development Goals to feed those who are in need?”

Touched by this moving testimony, the audience thanked him with standing ovations and spontaneously began singing the Hebrew song of peace and reconciliation, “Shalom Aleichim.”


The Soetendorp Institute


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