Eli A. Wolff, Partners for Youth with Disabilities & Brown University | Mary A. Hums, University of Louisville
January 15th, 2019
Posted In: Awareness, In Real Life, National Mentoring Month Blog Series
Eli and Mary have both worked in the area of mentoring for social change and have been part of the organizing team for the International Mentoring Day on January 17 of each year on Muhammad Ali’s birthday and during National Mentoring Month.
Mentoring is universal: it is an influential vehicle for individual and community empowerment. The power of mentoring helps people navigate the intersections, interconnectedness, and indivisibility of humanity.
Given the power of mentoring, what can those cherished relationships do beyond providing personal benefits to individual mentors and proteges? Can mentoring inspire peace in communities experiencing conflict or contribute to tranquility, harmony and unity among people? In addition to its value for helping people succeed in their jobs and lives, perhaps mentoring is also an underutilized tool for creating a more just and peaceful world. So how do mentoring, peace building, and peace keeping connect?
The United Nations, governments, and international civil society organizations work to promote peace, development, and human rights. Within this realm, the power of mentoring can be utilized as a catalyst for advancing and supporting important initiatives and programs around the world. The power of mentoring can help to sustain, grow, and enhance current, emerging, and future leaders in this space. How can mentoring become a core pillar within the United Nations system? We need look no further for guidance than to the example of Muhammad Ali and his core principles. Here is what Ban-Ki Moon, former Secretary General of the United Nations had to say about Muhammad Ali:
“Mr. Ali was far more than a legendary boxer; he was a world champion for equality and peace. With an incomparable combination of principle, charm, wit and grace, he fought for a better world and used his platform to help lift up humanity.”
January 17 is International Mentoring Day, the date chosen in honor and memory of Muhammad Ali’s birthday and his legacy as a global humanitarian and mentor for peace. Ali lived his life through his core principles – confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect and spirituality. Think about how mentoring is reflected in these core principles, in particular, respect and spirituality.
The principle of respect is defined by the Muhammad Ali Center as “esteem for, or a sense of the worth or excellence of, oneself and others,” and the principle of spirituality is defined as “a sense of awe, reverence and inner peace inspired by a connection to all of creation and/or that which is greater than oneself.” Isn’t that what mentoring is all about after all – nurturing a sense of worth and building connections? When those connections and authentic relationships are grounded in peace, there is no limit to the positive influence individuals and communities experiencing those connections and relationships can share and model.
Throughout National Mentoring Month, we must continue to highlight and celebrate the power of mentoring and bring attention to the critical connection between mentoring and peace in the United States and around the world. January 17 gives us the opportunity each year to reflect and honor the power of mentoring for peace. Celebrating the impact and influence of mentoring on this day serves as a call to action for individuals and organizations around the world to bring attention and voice to the powerful contribution of mentoring in our global society.
Engage with us on social media for International Mentoring Day!
Photos courtesy of the Muhammad Ali Center