Living Together in Peace

“How can all of us — white, black, yellow and brown people — of different nations and different cultures — live together in peace? ... I suggest that we start to offer courses in the seven great world cultures, six of which are now vying for space on our ever-diminishing globe. The cultures I suggest are these: The Moslem Culture; The Hindu or Indian Culture; The Chinese or Japanese Culture; African Culture; Hebrew Culture; Christian Culture; and by way of background and perspective, the Classical Cultures of Greece and Rome.”
Sargent Shriver |Illinois State Normal University| February 7, 1958

Sargent Shriver spoke these words 60 years ago in a speech that emphasizes the importance of modernizing education. Even in 1958, Sarge recognized that while the global population was growing, technology was making the world a smaller place. In order for us to be able to resolve our differences as a global community, one of the things we had to do was educate ourselves about each other. What was at stake if we did not do this was nothing less than world peace.

Sarge gave this Address to the Illinois Schoolmasters Club Meeting in his capacity as the head of both the Chicago Board of Education and the Catholic Interracial Council. Although his focus is on education, his emphasis on international affairs and diplomacy reveal a point of view that would make him a skilled diplomat and peacebuilder in the decades to come. His notion of global citizenship was well-developed even before he achieved national and international prominence leading the Peace Corps under President Kennedy, serving as US Ambassador to France under President Johnson, and working with religious and secular leaders on issues of global importance including denuclearization.

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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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