2019 Distinguished Peace Leadership Award Acceptance Speech
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 28 Oct 2019
When we founded the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, the world was adrift in nuclear dangers. We began with no resources, only a belief in the necessity of awakening people everywhere to the dangers of the Nuclear Age – a time in which our technological prowess exceeds our ethical development.
We took a chance in 1982, and here we are nearly four decades later. The Foundation has been a steady, consistent and creative voice for Peace and a world free of nuclear weapons.
In the mid-1980s there were over 70,000 nuclear weapons in the world. Today there are less than 14,000.
This is progress, but clearly the job is not completed. The use of only a small percentage of these remaining weapons could end civilization as we know it and possibly the human species.
To end the nuclear threat to life on our planet, we must overcome ignorance and apathy. We must, as Einstein warned, change our modes of thinking or face “unparalleled catastrophe.”
At the Foundation we are working to create peace literate societies – societies based upon empathy, caring, kindness and overcoming fear, greed and trauma. Our Peace Literacy Initiative, headed by Paul K. Chappell, a West Point graduate, goes to the root causes of war and nuclear weapons. It is a profound way of waging peace.
As the next generation prepares to take the helm at the Foundation, I leave to them these thoughts, which go back to our founding:
- First, peace is an imperative of the Nuclear Age. Any war can become a nuclear war – by malice, madness, mistake, miscalculation or manipulation.
- Second, we must abolish nuclear weapons before they abolish us. There is no doubt that this potential exists.
- Third, to succeed will require extraordinary ordinary people to lead their political leaders.
I put great faith in Rick Wayman’s leadership skills. I know he will steer the Foundation competently into the future.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said,
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”
I would add, as I’m sure he would, that we must work diligently to attain this reality. That is what the Foundation does each day, and its work must continue.
It is up to all of us to assure that this happens. The future requires no less from us, and we should demand no less from ourselves.
Among the books I’ve written is a dialogue with the Buddhist leader, philosopher, poet and educator Daisaku Ikeda called Choose Hope. My hope for each of you is that you will choose hope, continue to support the Foundation, and help change the world.
I will conclude with a poem:
A Conspiracy of Decency
We will conspire to keep this blue dot floating and alive,
to keep the soldiers from gunning down the children,
to make the water clean and clear and plentiful,
to put food on everybody’s table and hope in their hearts.
We will conspire to find new ways to say People matter.
This conspiracy will be bold.
Everyone will dance at wholly inappropriate times.
They will burst out singing non-patriotic songs.
And the not-so-secret password will be Peace.
David Krieger, Ph.D. is founder and president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. Amongst several of his wide-spanning leadership endeavors in global peacebuilding, he is a founder and a member of the Global Council of Abolition 2000, councilor on the World Future Council, and is the chair of the Executive Committee of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility. He has a BA in Psychology and holds MA and Ph.D. degrees in Political Science from the University of Hawaii as well as a J.D. from the Santa Barbara College of Law; he served for 20 years as a judge pro tem for the Santa Barbara Municipal and Superior Courts. Dr. Krieger is the author of many books and studies of peace in the Nuclear Age. He has written or edited more than 20 books and hundreds of articles and book chapters. He is a recipient of several awards and honors, including the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology Peace Writing Award for Poetry (2010). He has a new collection of poems entitled Wake Up. For more visit the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation website: www.wagingpeace.org.
Tags: Nuclear Abolition, Nuclear Ban Treaty, Nuclear Weapons, WMD
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