Gifts To the Future

The Millennium is not just for world leaders and advertisers; everyone can create imaginative and meaningful ways to celebrate this threshold moment; Philip Bogdonoff has some ideas.

We’re approaching the beginning of the Third Millennium, and granted, some of what’s coming on the other side of that threshold doesn’t look promising. Yet, imagine what could be done if we all joined together in a crescendo of activity as the year 2000 dawns. Imagine what could happen if nearly 6 billion people began giving “Millennium Gifts” – gifts that would help us and our children steer a course towards a future that restored the ecological integrity of Earth.

• The Gifts could be as simple as forgivingyour neighbor for some transgression or apologizing for something you did: The United Methodist General Assembly made a formal apology in April 1996 to two American Indian tribes for a massacre led by an Army Colonel who was also a United Methodist minister – an event that happened 132 years ago.

• You could forgive that loanyour brother owes you: Jubilee 2000 in London is asking nations to forgive the debts of the most indebted nations, many of whom are compromising the prospects for their own young people in an effort to earn enough foreign currency to repay loans to the world’s richest nations and institutions.

• You could spruce up your neighborhoodby planting a tree: Steingrimur Hermannsson, the former prime minister of Iceland, has pledged to plant 2000 trees every year for the rest of his life as long as he is able to help reforest Iceland.

• You could lend a helping handto a person in need: Fadil Fejzic, a Muslim farmer who lived in the bombed out shell of a Bosnian town, brought milk for 442 mornings to his starving Serbian neighbor and her baby girl until his cow died.

• You could help fix something that’s broken: Some leaders are suggesting that nations together could redesign the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

• You could get to know your neighborsand lett them know you – you can listen to their story and tell them yours.

When should I make my Gift? Whenever you like. Start planning now. Do it with your friends. You might want to do it with us. The Millennium Institute is helping to organize three world gatherings where Gifts will be featured.

1999 – 2000 – 2001: A millennium moment

We think the turn of the Millennium is too important to let flash by in one night of partying, so we’re stretching it out over three years! We’re calling 1999-2000-2001 the “millennial moment” and something big is being planned for each year.

In 1999, Cape Town, South Africa will host the Third Parliament of the World’s Religions. The last Parliament was held in Chicago in 1993 and drew over 7,000 people. Representatives of all the world’s faiths will come to South Africa and pledge Gifts.

Then in 2000, in Thingvellir, Iceland, at the site of the world’s oldest parliament, moral and spiritual leaders from throughout the world – people like Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama – will join in a pageant to convey their Gifts to the next generation of world leaders: a colorful assembly of children from all countries in their native dress .

Finally, in 2001, a series of youth-organized conferences will encircle the globe, starting in Costa Rica. At these conferences, Earth’s young leaders will put the Gifts to work.

Wherever you are, whatever you do, you can make a Gift – to your children, to your neighbors and community, to the Earth. Stretch, be imaginative, daring, profound. Make a Millennium Gift that will make a difference! Make a Gift that will have an impact in 100 or 1000 years – or in the following millennium!

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