The Million Dollar Round Table annual meeting is always an inspiration, and this years at Anaheim was no exception.
There were many fine speakers delivering important messages from the main platform, but I was particularly impressed with the presentation by Aaron David Miller. Miller has been advisor to six of our Secretaries of State, including Colin Powell, on the subject of the Arab-Israeli peace process.
In his address, Miller said that when he saw all the well-laid plans go up in flames in recent months, he became convinced that there would be no peace under present conditions and leadership. History, he said, too often requires in any conflict “one winner and one loser,” and that does not meet the test of a perfect solution. Lasting solutions require each party to concede as well as gain in the search for peace. That being the case, he reckoned that something new had to be injected into the process.
With the foregoing in mind, he founded the organization called “Seeds of Peace.” The objective of Seeds of Peace is to bring together young people from the Palestinian community and Jews from Israel, along with young people from India and Pakistan. At a camp in Maine these young people, at the outset, shared their views of each other in frank and open discussions. In the beginning there was fear and distrust, but at the end of the three weeks, trust and understanding developed and a true desire for peace emerged.
At the end of Millers talk, he presented two young people, typical of those attending the camp. One was a 24-year-old Israeli, Koby Sadan; the other, Bushra Jawabri, a 20-year-old Palestinian. Each related how they initially felt enormous hostility toward one another, but how that animosity melted after they better understood how they, as individuals, faced life with all its problems.
Seeds of Peace is about building future leaders who will seek solutions where everyone is a winner.
As I listened to these three speakers, my mind drifted into thoughts about some of our own contemporary problems. In particular, I began to develop a strong sense of importance of the issue of developing our own future leaders. Readers of this column know that I have long been concerned about the decline in membership of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and how frustrating it has been to our leadership at the national level to stem this hemorrhage.