Ark of Hope
Jubilee Queen attends Earth Charter Conference

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Story by KIT (Royal Tropical Institute, Netherlands)

Photographs by NCDO (National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development, Netherlands)


Her Majesty Queen Beatrix attended the anniversary meeting of the Earth Charter, held at the Tropenmuseum of KIT (Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) on 9 November 2005. The Charter aims to promote to a fair, sustainable and peaceful future for the youth of our time and future generations. The visit was part of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. She was presented with the first copy of the book The Earth Charter in Action, and she placed a personally designed book cover containing children’s drawings in the Ark of Hope.

The Earth Charter presents an inclusive vision on values and principles for a just, sustainable and peaceful future, providing an ethical framework for globalization and international cooperation in the 21st century. The document has been composed after a dialogue involving thousands of people and hundreds of organizations throughout the world. It was launched in June 2000 at the Peace Palace in The Hague in the presence of Queen Beatrix.

To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Charter a conference took place at KIT from 7-9 November 2005. The aim of the meeting was to reflect on the impact of the initiative up till now, and to discuss future directions and activities. The programme consisted of working groups, presentations, dialogues and cultural manifestations. The participants, including many youngsters from across the world, are engaged in putting the principles of the Charter into practice in their own setting.

Also present were the members of the Earth Charter Commission: former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers, UN-advisor Maurice Strong, professor/philanthropist Steven Rockefeller, the Jordanian Princess Basma Bint Talal, and Erna Witoelar, UN ambassador for the Millennium Goals. Partners in the organization were KIT, NCDO, Plan Nederland and the international Earth Charter Initiative.

Ark of Hope

Queen Beatrix’s visit began with a welcome ceremony at the Ark of Hope, the symbolic depository of the Charter. The Ark, created by the American artist Sally Linder, offers everyone an opportunity to give creative expression to his or her ideas regarding the core values of the Charter. These ideas are bundled in special booklets. Tucked inside the Ark (an artistically designed Oakwood chest), they make their way around the world.

For the Ark of Hope, Queen Beatrix created a book cover, inspired by the Dutch landscape. She was welcomed by 25 Dutch children singing a song about the Ark, joined by rap artist Brace. Each of the children then offered the Queen a drawing depicting their wish for a clean and peaceful world. These drawings were the winning entries in a contest organized by the Tropenmuseum Junior and the children’s magazines Samsam and Kidsweek. The Queen placed the drawings in the book cover and placed the book in the Ark.

Earth Charter in Action

At the concluding plenary assembly of the conference, KIT President Jan Donner presented conclusions and recommendations formulated during the gathering. Her Majesty was then presented with the first copy of the book Earth Charter in Action - toward a sustainable world. This book contains more than 60 descriptive and thematic essays by prominent international activists and experts in the areas covered by the Charter. They include Mikhail Gorbachev, Jane Goodall, Leonardo Boff, Steven Rockefeller, Ruud Lubbers, Yolanda Kakabadse, and Wangari Maathai. Both the content and the structure of the book are inspired by the Charter.

Queen Beatrix was offered the book by Mirian Vilela, director of the Earth Charter Initiative and Maria Weers from the Netherlands. Maria was born in 2000, the year in which the Charter was launched. Her presence underlined the central concern: to create a just, peaceful and sustainable world for future generations. The 192-page book is dedicated to ‘young people …] committed to high expectations and ideals. It is their wish to turn the principles of the Earth Charter into deeds.’ The book is published in Dutch, English and Spanish.

Queen Beatrix receiving page
Queen Beatrix receiving Temenos Page for her Book

Queen with children
Queen Beatrix with Dutch children and the Ark of Hope

Queen with Ark
Queen Beatrix adds her Temneos Book to Ark of Hope

Published: Friday, March 10, 2006.
Story By: KIT (Royal Tropical Institute, Netherlands) Photographs by NCDO (National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainabl
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