An Interview with Scilla Elworthy – When I was thirteen

In February 2017 The Lovers has invited Dr. Scilla Elworthy to be part of the Salon Mondaine and to fascilitate a Workshop “Pioneering the Possible” the day before where Claudia Rinke has interviewed her.

Text Clau­dia Rinke, Foto Dar­shana Borges

I saw on tele­vi­sion how russ­ian tanks were rolling into Budapest to crush the upris­ing in 1956“, says Scil­la Elwor­thy, who was nom­i­nat­ed three times for the Nobel Peace Prize . „Kids my age were throw­ing them­selves against the tanks.“ The young girl imme­di­ate­ly want­ed to go to Budapest, to help with the sit­u­a­tion. Her moth­er con­vinced her, that she need­ed to get train­ing if she want­ed to be of any use. „Although I couldn’t do very much at that age, since then I have known deep inside me what I need­ed to do and be. I had no choice. I had to stand up for peo­ple harmed by extreme vio­lence. I had to under­stand what was going on and try for bet­ter solu­tions to what was hap­pen­ing. I want­ed the truth.“

Almost thir­ty years lat­er she came into her true pow­er as a peace activist by found­ing the Oxford Research Group, an NGO to bring to light how nuclear weapons deci­sions are made. „We called it the Oxford Research Group, because that’s where I lived at that time. We actu­al­ly start­ed at my kitchen table.“ she explains. „We analysed who designed the war­heads, who built the sub­marines and air­crafts, who pro­vid­ed the data for tar­get­ting and deploy­ment, and who had author­i­ty to give the orders and sign the checks.“ She also got groups of con­cerned cit­i­zens involved to devel­op fruit­ful dia­logue with nuclear deci­sion mak­ers.

Ever since Scil­la Elwor­thy has been ded­i­cat­ed to the trans­for­ma­tion of con­flicts. She was involved with the Elders, a group of wise peo­ple from all over the world who could guide bet­ter deci­sions for the future of humankind, and found­ed Peace Direct, an orga­ni­za­tion for peace ini­tia­tives.
„Through my long expe­ri­ence work­ing on the front­line of con­flict and soci­etal change I under­stood, that this work how­ev­er pas­sion­ate and gen­uine, is more effec­tive if it is based on inner intel­li­gence, on self-aware­ness and the abil­i­ty to under­stand oth­ers. We need to com­bine inner aware­ness with out­er action“, she explains her inter­est in inner work.

You can’t remake the world without remaking yourself.

Also Lead­er­ship begins with the rad­i­cal mas­tery of one’s inner being . This is one rea­son why the whole world cried, when Nel­son Man­dela died. He was a leader with mighty inner pow­er and integri­ty. Unfor­tu­nate­ly many polit­i­cal lead­ers make deci­sions based on a short-term per­spec­tive; they are just focussing on the next opin­ion-poll or elec­tion. They do not serve the inter­ests oft he next gen­er­a­tion, nev­er mind the plan­et or the bios­phere. But trans­lat­ing the inter­ests of future gen­er­a­tions into poli­cies and actions would lead to more sus­tain­able solu­tions today – every­where. “

I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to speak with Scil­la Elwor­thy at „The Lovers“ in Berlin, where she facil­i­tat­ed a work­shop on „Pio­neer­ing the Pos­si­ble – Awak­ened Lead­er­ship for a World that works”.


Writ­ten by Clau­dia Rinke 

Clau­dia Rinke ist eine Gren­zgän­gerin. Sie hat als Juristin auf vier Kon­ti­nen­ten für inter­na­tionale Anwalt­skan­zleien und für die Vere­in­ten Natio­nen gear­beit­et. Schreiben ist ihre Lei­den­schaft. In ihren Büch­ern für junge Erwach­sene behan­delt sie Fra­gen wie „Was bedeutet es, in ein­er glob­al­isierten Welt aufzuwach­sen?“ „Welch­es sind die Her­aus­forderun­gen und wie kön­nen sie bewältigt wer­den?“ Clau­dia Rinke ist davon überzeugt, dass wir uns in ein­er Zeit der weltweit zunehmenden Ablehnung und Gewalt auf unsere gemein­samen Werte unab­hängig von unser­er Reli­gion, Haut­farbe und Nation­al­ität besin­nen müssen.  „Was macht uns als Men­schen aus und was ist uns gemein­sam?” – “Wollen nicht alle Men­schen nur glück­lich sein?“ und „Wie kön­nen wir in ein­er glob­al­isierten Welt gut zusam­men leben?“ Ihre Büch­er regen zum Nach­denken an, motivieren zum Han­deln und zeigen Lösun­gen auf, die jed­er umset­zen kann.

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert