Speech at the Luncheon to Celebrate the Establishment of Endowment Fund for the NPCA's Sargent Shriver Award for Humanitarian Service

"Peace Corps Volunteers continue to serve humanity after their Peace Corps service overseas is completed."
Washington, D.C • June 21, 2002

I am deeply moved by this gathering of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and Staff.

I want to thank those who established the Endowment for the National Peace Corps Association Shriver Award, worked for its success, especially today, Arlene Goldberg, who conceived of the idea and has given generously of her time, and talent, and financial assistance, and Paul Dewey who implemented the establishment of the Endowment to make it a legal entity. There are so many people who have contributed to this Endowment. I will name a few, but I know I risk leaving someone out. So, please forgive me if I do. I want to thank Gretchen Handwerger for working with Arlene, and Frank Mankiewicz for signing the fundraising letter, and George Dunkin who cannot be with us today.

I appreciate the generosity of everyone else who has contributed so to this Endowment, and especially to those who were motivated to include my name in the very title of the Award.

I received a copy of the book giving a description of the Shriver Award and its Winners last week. I sat down immediately and read the whole document right away. I was both fascinated and inspired by what these men and women have already done and continue. So, I can honestly say that I am both humbled and honored to have an Award with my name on it given to people who are devoting themselves to such inspiring and worthwhile pursuits.

When we first started “The Peace Corps” we were lucky enough to attract Volunteers who were idealistic and committed. Those first Volunteers showed the world that young Americans could go overseas and work and live with the people they were sent to assist. Peace Corps Volunteers worked and taught, but they also learned, about other cultures, religions and races. Peace Corps Volunteers brought their knowledge of other countries back to the United States, and their speeches here at home helped to educate Americans about the people the Volunteers had served in faraway lands.

Ever since, thanks be to God, “The Peace Corps” has had no trouble attracting Americans, both young and not so young to serve overseas. In fact, it is fair to say that “The Peace Corps” always receives more applicants than it can accept. That has been true in its entire 41 year history!

Fortunately, for all of us, Peace Corps Volunteers continue to serve humanity after their Peace Corps service overseas is completed.

That is why I am grateful to all of you not only for your own service in “The Peace Corps” but for your recognition of the contributions being made by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to their communities, wherever they live, both here and abroad, and no matter how old those Returned Peace Corps Volunteers may become.

I pray that all the winners of these Awards now, in the past, and in the future, will be dedicated to the objectives of “The Peace Corps” forever. People in our nation, and people everywhere, will never achieve “Peace On Earth” for all, unless they are all inspired and eager to make that Goal the greatest objective of the 21st Century! No one better exemplifies “Peace On Earth for all than Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. So let us “Rejoice in the Existence and Actions” of PCV’s after they return to the USA, and those who live abroad. Their presence, their actions, their speeches will contribute profoundly to the achievement of “Peace On Earth” in this, new 21st Century. Nothing, and no one, deserves greater respect and support than PCV’s working for “Peace On Earth” everywhere now! May God Himself help them in their work, and may all of us pray for their success everywhere.

Peace requires the simple but powerful recognition that what we have in common as human beings is more important and crucial than what divides us.
Sargent Shriver
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