Wisdom Thinkers Network


INSPIRE 14! Inspiring Oswego County

watch our introductory video

Linking character education in schools with the essential soft skills for employment and life skills for citizenship in our great country and the world, all through the power of stories. Our goal is to equip all of our children with a character-rich foundation needed for a meaningful life in school, community, and the workplace. 

We are bringing Oswego County schools, the community, and businesses together to prepare our children for the tests of life – so that they can stay in the county and change the story!

Inspiring Oswego County has grown out of a year-long initiative kicked off in September 2014 with a county-wide leadership level conference entitled “Inspire14!”

We currently have 4 districts – Central Square, Fulton, Hannibal, Sandy Creek – and CiTi (Oswego County BOCES) who use our wisdom stories, Stories to Light Our Way, and are part of our ongoing community engagement efforts to bring the community, businesses and educators together in regular discussions to support our children.


Why aren’t our children prepared for the tests of life?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 – Oswego, NY, Click here for photos of event
Community leaders, business representatives, and educators met in Oswego recently to discuss ways to reduce bullying in schools and provide students with the tools to become successful citizens. The “Inspire 14″ program was hosted by the non-profit organization Wisdom Thinkers Network and attempts to prepare children for the future through storytelling.

Ralph Singh, chairman of the Wisdom Thinkers Network, says the program fosters collaboration between students and their communities.

“With so much emphasis on testing for academic achievement, it seems we’ve forgotten how to prepare our children for the tests of life” 
~ Ralph Singh, Chair, Wisdom Thinkers Network

1. Re-Enchanting Humanity: Stories for a Sustainable Future

Wednesday, November 28 – Friday, November 30, 2012
Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

Hosted by

Hendricks Chapel and P.A.R.C.C. (Maxwell School),

In partnership with 

SUNY – E.S.F., Le Moyne College Office of Mission and Identity
and the McDevitt Center for Creativity and Innovation at Le Moyne, and others


Only weeks after one of the most divisive elections, and months following the Earth Summit drew competing lines on Mother Earth, we gather to tell the stories of our civilization and search for a shared narrative to restore civility and move us beyond the conflict to peace.

“The stories we choose to tell and how we choose to tell them, determines the course of civilization,”
~Ralph Singh, Chair, Wisdom Thinkers Network

WTN Roundtable 2012

Today competing ideologies dominate the landscape leaving citizens little room for peace. They have put our world on a deadly course of destruction. Dominated by the divisive rhetoric, empathy has vanished and no one stops to listen to each other anymore. We have forgotten how to share our stories. Can sharing and learning to honor each other’s stories lead to a shared narrative? At the root of all, regardless of ideology or discipline, Wisdom Thinkers recognizes a spiritual connection which will allow us to transcend our individual positions and work to create a shared narrative for the future of humanity and of our planet – a new ethos for a shared planet?

Recognizing that our behaviors, our cultures, and our policies grow out of our stories, Wisdom Thinkers Network is gathering a diverse group of visionaries, from around the country and around the world inSyracuse. We are bringing storytellers and artists together with leaders from key disciplines and traditions to reflect on what stories have influenced our current position, and what stories can indeed help change the course of civilization towards a more compassionate, inclusive, and that includes our environment, pluralistic, civil society.

Roundtables will focus on:

I Stories of Our Being – Our place in the Cosmos
II Stories of Our Relationships with Nature – How do we value our environment
III Stories for a New Economy
IV Democracy – Our Stories and the Structures to Support Them

THURSDAY, NOV. 29    An Evening of Stories and Music for Sustainability
7:00–8:30 p.m.            Maxwell Auditorium (with open reception in Maxwell Foyer at 6:00 p.m.)

Panel discussion and cultural program to share emerging narratives. Open reception preceding the event will allow the public and university community to gather with presenters and participants.

  • Remarks by Ralph Singh and by Professor Marjorie DeVault on the role of narrative in social change
  • panellist include Rabbi Brad Hirschfield (Co-President of CLAL), Dr. Naresh Singh(former UN Advisor for
  • Poverty and Sustainable Livelihoods), Nick Stuart (President and CEO of Odyssey Networks)
  • Stories presented by Francis Parks, storytelling matriarch and founder of Sojourner Story Festival
  • Music offered by jazz clarinetist David Rothenberg, with world-renowned sound designerDoug Quin
FRIDAY, NOV. 30         Building the Story for a Sustainable Future
10:40 a.m.–12:30 p.m.      Global Collaboratory, 060 Eggers Hall

Discussion of emerging narratives assisted by visual facilitator Julie Stuart. Audience contributions will be welcome as the group identifies opportunities for change and begins to frame a call to action.


2. Responses to “Re-Enchanting Humanity: Stories for a Sustainable Future”

  1. Naresh SinghNovember 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    “The basic challenges to sustainability or sustainable development depend on the simple question what is it we want to sustain? The answer to that question might be economic growth, human happiness, human development, nature, human progress, human freedoms, choices or options to make a sustainable livelihood, etc.etc…..Chances are we will pick more than one these and even if we picked one, it might depend on others. Whatever we pick however we will find that the dominant pathways of our current civilization are not likely to lead us there. On this 20th anniversary of the Rio conference on sustainable development, 2 common picks are likely to be sustainable human development and environmentally sustainable economic growth. A lot has been done in these areas over the last 2 decades or more, but progress has been so slow we seem to lose our way. We have revised our concepts, developed new theories, and tools, done groundbreaking research and developed new technologies, engaged in public awareness programs, had gatherings of world leaders to commit their nations to change etc.. What else needs to be done? WTN will suggest that we need to change the dominant narrative of our civilization through the stories we tell. Share some stories that you think will have such power and who might be the audiences to whom these stories might be addressed.” Naresh

Searching for Answers and Wisdom in a Post 9/11 World

Searching for Answers and Wisdom in a Post 9/11 World:
Emmy Award Winner, Arthur Miller, in a public dialogue with the Wisdom Thinkers Network

Thursday, September 8, 2011
8:15 pm – 9:30 pm
Buttenwieser Hall at the 92nd Street Y, Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street, Manhattan

For the month following 9/11, people’s behavior changed and a true sense of community and concern flourished. Then we returned to “normal”. Today we are still locked in ideological gridlock, buried under fear, and unable to have a civil conversation. What can we learn by reweaving our wisdom stories into a new narrative, and what role can each of us play? How do we nurture our children to become active citizens committed to creating a more compassionate, pluralistic, civil society?

Arthur Miller, Emmy Award-winning moderator of the Fred Friendly Seminars, and currently University Professor, NYU Law School

Convener: Ralph Singh, Chair Wisdom Thinkers Network


  • Karolyn Buys, international youth leader and conflict mediator
  • James R. Doty, M.D, Founding Director, Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University
  • Richard (Dick) Ehst, President and COO, Customers Bank, ranked 4th in the nation
  • Dr. Noor Gillani, Chairman, Pyar Foundation and ret’d NASA scientist
  • Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, Co-President Clal, popular Washington Post Commentator
  • Dr. Stuart A. Kauffman, complexity theory pioneer, author of “Reinventing the Sacred”
  • Rabbi Irwin Kula, Co-President Clal, Walter Cronkite Award Winner
  • Dr. Nina Lynn Meyerhof, Ed.D., Founder, Children of the Earth
  • R. Gustav Niebuhr, Professor and Noted Journalist
  • Iya Amibelle Olatunji, African American Matriarch
  • Carlos Portes distinguished Latino representative and liaison at Ground Zero
  • Diane Schenandoah, Native American artist and Wolf Clan Faith Keeper
  • Dr. Naresh Singh, one of world’s leading experts in poverty reduction and advocates for sustainable livelihoods
  • Asma Uddin, lawyer, and founder and editor-in-chief, altmuslimah.org


A special Thank You to our sponsors, partners, and friends, for helping to make this program a success.


And those who wished to remain anonymous.

Community Strengths Institute – currently on hold

CSI – Giving People a Voice Again

We convene a consortium of business and community leaders working with educators to bring hope to the rural and urban poor and inspire the leading students with the vision and resources so they can stay home, change their stories, and revitalize their communities.

The Institute fulfills our original goal of extending our leadership roundtables to grass roots communities. These home-grown leadership forums will also provide a direct bridge for students to participate in local efforts to support the positive changes they envision.

  • Purpose: To give “Voice” on issues identified by the participants, that they would like to address using the “Change the Story” program to frame topics. Topic is decided by group consensus.
  • Group is : Community members, parents, PTO members, senior citizen groups, service organizations, volunteer fire departments, Grange, HS Seniors, Elected representatives, businesses and Anyone who cares about positive change.
  • Length: 6 sessions , 1.5  to 2 hours, evenings or weekends, once a month
  • Starting in the ———, Contact your School District Administrator to Let them know you would like to participate
Translate »