“The beginning of wisdom is humility,” said Dr. Ephraim Isaac at a lecture last week, followed by “the arrogance of educated people has to stop.” With three degrees, including a doctorate from Harvard, this Tanenbaum Peacemaker from Ethiopia is hardly an uneducated man himself. Yet, he has spent countless hours listening to the ideas and concerns of what he calls “ordinary people.”
For Ephraim, famous for rejuvenating his country’s tradition of eldership, this has a point: Ordinary Ethiopians – ordinary people everywhere – are essential to the transformation of conflicts and social problems. They, especially the elders among them, must be included in local and national efforts for change. And the Western educated, whether African or from the U.S. or Europe, should not forget or ignore these sources of wisdom.
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