I on Poverty: Provocations

Each week, friends, allies, colleagues and respected leaders and thinkers from around the world offer their thoughts, ideas, aspirations and plans for a better world. Some are new voices, some clarion calls from the past. Some seriously poignant, others satirically pointed.

All provoke me in good and thoughtful ways. Here are this week's favorites:

"If people themselves don't change, we will never solve the problem. That's why I work with youth. When you want to give shape to the tree, you must begin very early." -- Rafiki Callixte, Executive Director, Les Enfants de Dieu, Rwanda. To learn more visit Firelight Foundation.

"Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor." -- James Baldwin, 20th Century American novelist.

"Thank you for inviting me to Opportunity Collaboration. I needed to crash-test the Monterey Institute's training program and gauge interest in it. I got very useful feedback, expressions of interest beyond my expectation plus multiple intellectual orgasms." -- Yuwei Shi, Dean & Professor of Strategic Management, Graduate School of International Policy and Management, USA. To learn more visit the Monterey Institute of International Studies or Opportunity Collaboration.

"I'm idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way." -- Carl Sandburg, 20th Century American poet.

"We must not only give what we have; we must also give what we are." -- Cardinal Joseph Mercier, 20th Century Belgian Catholic Bishop.

For the poor life is "fragile, cheap, dangerous and unpredictable." -- Michael Holman in Last Orders at Harrods.

"The moral advantage of being the architect of many losing causes is highly over-rated." -- Arthur M. Schlesinger, 20th Century American historian.

"How big you are doesn't measure of how good you are at driving social change." -- Sally Osberg, President, Skoll Foundation.

"I used to think I was poor. Then they told me I wasn't poor, I was needy. They told me it was self-defeating to think of myself as needy. I was deprived. Then they told me underprivileged was overused. I was disadvantaged. I still don't have a dime. But I have a great vocabulary." -- Jules Feiffer, American satirist.

"A political leader shows people the way, moving in front of the people and showing them a path. A human rights advocate, instead, walks behind the people, and, if anyone is left behind, takes their hand to help them." -- Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Iran's first female judge.

Send me your favorite proverbs, provocations and punditry, or post them here.