On March 8, 1965, Sargent Shriver addressed the Arkansas state legislature. At the time, he was the head of both the Peace Corps and the Office of the Economic Opportunity (OEO), which was the federal office that created the War on Poverty programs. As we can see in the quote, Sargent Shriver drew connections between two issues, poverty and peacebuilding, to show that many of the problems that we face are connected. Likewise, the solutions are connected, and only when we work together can we solve them.
In his work, Sargent Shriver tackled many of the same social and political issues that we face today, and his approach to problem-solving was both optimistic and pragmatic. He was all too aware of the differences that human beings dwelt on, and all too aware that true problem-solving required us to focus on our common goals. By concentrating on the values that can unite people -- family, community, safety, prosperity -- and by empowering people to shape solutions that fit their local needs, he was able to create national and international organizations that continue to support communities at home and abroad.
We must have the courage, diplomacy, and open-mindedness to overcome our trivial differences so that we can tackle the real issues that continue to disrupt our collective well-being.