October 28, 2005

Intergenerational leadership focus of Senate forum

What: Forum on Intergenerational Leadership, sponsored by the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Intergenerational Initiative, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Who: College students and retirees who have been appointed delegates from universities and community colleges throughout Illinois. Senate President Emil Jones, Jr. will open the historic one-day forum.

When: Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2005, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Where: Illinois Senate Chamber, Springfield.

Why: Emphasize the importance of generations and cultures working together to improve education in a world and state that are growing older. President Jones will welcome delegates and briefly discuss a new publication called “A Family Story is a Gift,” dealing with intergenerational leadership.


The world is aging and that demographic change has tremendous implications for younger and older generations and for education at all levels. Global aging brings an opportunity for intergenerational leadership.

What is intergenerational leadership? Students and retirees will ponder that question in a historic meeting led by Senate President Emil Jones Jr. in the Illinois Senate Chamber. The Day in the Senate is sponsored by the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Intergenerational Initiative at SIUC.

Students and retirees from higher education will consider how they can work together more closely to benefit education. Jones says that “intergenerational leadership is based on an understanding of history – of how our families struggled, succeeded, failed, started over again. It is about the respect we have for one another across generations and cultures, and how that respect is intrinsic to democracy.”

“Intergenerational leadership is the essence of learning,” says James L. Kaplan, chair of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. “Learning about other generations, their needs, issues, and ability to be involved to improve the educational system.”

Jane Angelis, director of the Intergenerational Initiative at SIUC, says, “As we anticipate a world that is older, we must look for opportunities and not dwell on problems. One resource that hasn’t been effectively tapped is the strong team of younger and older generations working together – Intergenerational Leadership. The potential is boundless.”

During the “Day in the Senate,” Jones will also release a new publication, “A Family Story is a Gift,” which is one way of connecting generations. The publication was prepared by history and education experts who volunteered their time to save their stories. The publication fosters communication skills, interviewing, reading, writing, analyzing, and youngsters asking questions to the older generation. Elders are encouraged to tell and write their stories so that their progeny will understand the lessons of failure, perseverance, and success.

The setting for the Senate Forum on Intergenerational Leadership is the Illinois Senate Chamber. The 68 participants are equally divided students and retirees. They will deliberate in hearings and finish the day with recommendations. Jones says, “Leadership evolves. It isn’t something that the retirees and students will take home with them on November 1, but they will have a fresh perspective and commitment to foster connections between generations on our campuses and in our communities.”

For more information on the forum, contact Jane Angelis at 618/453-1186 or via e-mail at SenateForum@lib.siu.edu.