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Pillars of Peace Hawaii: how can young people become ethical leaders?

“We all have leadership qualities in us; the question is where does your inspiration come from and how can you contribute?” Gro Harlem Brundtland

From the greatest impediments to peace to ethical leadership, view the highlights of The Elders’ discussion with students.


The Elders at Pillars of Peace Hawaii's student discussion | Hawaii Community Foundation

While in Oahu for Pillars of Peace Hawaii, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Hina Jilani and Desmond Tutu took part in a live-streamed event with students.

Following a central theme of ethical leadership and promoting the values of responsibility and compassion, the three Elders answered questions sent from students via social media. Levels of online engagement were high, with dozens of live tweets and questions submitted, and over 1,300 people watching it live or since broadcast.


One of the questions posed to the Elders was on leadership. How did they become leaders and how can young people do the same?

Desmond Tutu explained that leadership was thrust upon him, later elaborating on how the support from others spurred him on with his work:


While Gro Harlem Brundtland reflected on how young people can become leaders:


The topics covered during the discussion ranged from activism and the current crisis in Gaza, to peace more broadly. Answering the question:


Gro Harlem Brundtland said “Egoism – people thinking about themselves, not looking at the whole.”

Hina Jilani took a different approach:


Each Elder left the students with a final message. Hina Jilani urged the students to focus on the positive, despite the challenges and difficulties they may face, reflecting:

“People used to make fun of me for standing 25 years with a placard saying 'down with such an such law'... Yes I did stand there for 25 years but what we succeeded in doing was making women visible as a force to contend with.”

Desmond Tutu spoke last, rising from his chair to tell the students:


The event ended with a hula dance, one of the opportunities the Elders had of discovering Hawaiian culture. They were eager to learn about Hawaii’s history, diversity and values, meeting with civil society groups and leaders while in the state.


After the debate, some of the students in the audience were interviewed about their experience of the discussion:

“They looked at us as people with real potential to go out into the world and I didn't expect that from them.”

Hawaii News Now featured some of these interviews in their news report.

Watch the debate

Watch the video of the debate with the general public, "A just and inclusive global community"

On the Web
We were truly blessed to have @TheElders visit Hawaii. What inspirational moments from this weekend's events will you never forget?#PeaceHI
"We can disagree and still get along" Gro H Brundtland - so true! That's how we can solve problems #PeaceHI
What makes an activist? You need aversion to injustice, to be outraged. Be comfortable with own conscience. Hina Jilani #PeaceHi @TheElders
Gro Harlem Brundtland: "If you continue to fight for what you believe in, change happens." @PillarsofPeace @TheElders #PeaceHI
RT @LisaCNN: Inspiring words from @TheElders this evening @PillarsofPeace in Hawaii #PeaceHI http://t.co/1twcKd8x…
"We hurt in the anguish of both sides." Desmond Tutu on #Israel-#Palestine conflict #PeaceHI
One action to further peace - "Be engaged or don't complain." Hina Jilani @TheElders #peacehi http://t.co/dWVke661…
Inspiring words from @TheElders this evening @PillarsofPeace in Hawaii #PeaceHI http://t.co/1twcKd8x…
“You have the capacity to change the world.” – Desmond Tutu tells young people at #PeaceHI http://t.co/6OiFg4Cb… http://t.co/D8cCJVHB…
"Wherever women are in trouble, we must raise our voice" Hina Jilani @TheElders #PeaceHI
"Know very well that you are going against the tide. Many times we have rested too soon and have been swept back." - Hina Jilani #peacehi
RT @TheElders: "Get out there and say that you are going to change the ethos of society!" Desmond Tutu's message to young people #PeaceHI
"I'm a prisoner of hope" Desmond Tutu #PeaceHI http://t.co/oASt8IYB…
"Get out there and say that you are going to change the ethos of society!" Desmond Tutu's message to young people #PeaceHI
#PeaceHI - how will impacts of climate change impact the future's ability to achieve peace?
I was discriminated against as first #woman PM - Brundtland. Had to persevere for other women, to make it easier for the next ones. #PeaceHi
MT @TheElders When you stand in a crowd & they say you are a leader, it's only because you are standing on the shoulders of others #PeaceHI
How talk with leaders who have violated human rights? "Be polite and just say what's on your mind."Gro Harlem Brundtland @TheElders #peacehi
Desmond Tutu: "It's amazing what children can be" when you give them a voice... @PillarsofPeace #PeaceHI
"Leaders have to be pushed, inspired, coached to do the right thing" Gro Harlem Brundtland in regards to climate change. @TheElders #peacehi
Peace is gritty business. How can we achieve it? Jilani - need universal standards of justice, use these. #PeaceHi
What is biggest impediment to peace? Egoism of leaders and not looking at whole picture. Gro Brundtland #PeaceHi. @TheElders
How can young people become ethical leaders? Highlights from The Elders' @PillarsofPeace student discussion http://t.co/6OiFg4Cb… #PeaceHI
"Misconception of sovereignty is an impediment to peace. Governments/states are not sovereign. People are sovereign." Hina Jilani #peacehi
Historical events tell us ultimately morality is going to win. http://t.co/ncIiANPE… #PEACEHI
It really is possible through democracy and political action to move things in the right direction. Gro Brundtland. @TheElders #PeaceHi
What does the future hold for liberalism and social democracy? #PeaceHI

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