We take our Quote of the Week from the St. Louis University Commencement Speech that Sargent Shriver gave in 1962. Speaking about the network of "statesmen and scholars" that the Peace Corps was creating, Sargent Shriver spoke about the responsibilities and opportunities that a world leader such as the United States had in the international community: to foster growth, development, and connection in communities around the world.
Sargent Shriver understood that with great power comes great responsibility. It is with this understanding that he shaped the Peace Corps, an organization of American citizen diplomats who volunteer their time and skills in community projects in developing areas abroad. Peace Corps volunteers tackle projects according to the needs and preferences of the individual communities in which they live. This approach supports the communities on their own terms, and in turn allows the volunteers to gain a deeper understanding of the cultures in which they are immersed. The practical and cultural exchanges that occur foster deeper connections between the individuals involved, and, by extension, between the countries they represent.
Much has changed in the world since President Kennedy called on Sargent Shriver to create a Peace Corps in 1961. However, what has not changed is that the United States continues to be in a position of power and responsibility. There is still a need for nations to work together, to foster growth and understanding. We are in many ways more connected than ever, and it is only by ensuring that our brothers and sisters around the world have a peaceful, prosperous environment, that we can ensure the same for all of us.