Let me add my welcome to our 30th annual Evening for Peace. Over the years we’ve honored some remarkable Peace Leaders, and tonight we do so again.
Thirty-one years ago we founded the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation with a dream that citizens could make a difference on the most important issues of our time – Peace in the Nuclear Age and the abolition of nuclear weapons. We knew that what we were doing was important, but we only glimpsed the full potential of what the Foundation could be and how much we were needed in the world.
Since our founding, the world has dismantled more than 50,000 nuclear weapons. That’s the good news. The bad news is there are still 17,000 in the world, and one is too many. A relatively small regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan could result in a global nuclear famine taking the lives of upwards of a billion people. A full-scale nuclear war would end civilization and most complex life on the planet. So, there remains important work to do.
I want to offer a few words of advice and encouragement to the young people here tonight. I have five brief points.
- Be citizens of the world, embrace the world, see it in all its magnificence, and work to make it a more decent place for all.
- Be leaders of today; don’t wait for tomorrow. The truth is that we need you now, and what you do now will help shape the future.
- Always choose hope. Hope inspires action, as action inspires hope.
- Never give up. To accomplish any great thing requires perseverance.
- Finally, learn how you can strengthen your vision and skills by working with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Find out more about the Foundation at wagingpeace.org.
Now, a few words of thanks to our supporters in the room and beyond.
- Thank you for caring so deeply.
- Thank you for joining your dreams of a better world with ours.
- Thank you for making possible what we do each day to build peace and abolish nuclear arms.
It is a rare and beautiful thing to have an organization like this Foundation, through which people can work day in and day out for the noble goals of assuring humanity’s future. If you would like to become more involved in the Foundation’s work, let us know.
Now, it is my great pleasure to introduce you to our honoree, Rabbi Leonard Beerman.
We honor him as the co-founder, with George Regas, of the Interfaith Center to Reverse the Arms Race – an Interfaith Center that made it clear that nuclear weapons are a paramount moral issue of our time.
We honor him as a wise and compassionate man.
We honor him as a man of conscience and uncommon decency.
When peace has needed a voice, Rabbi Beerman has spoken.
When justice has needed an ally, Rabbi Beerman has stood firm.
When dark clouds of war have gathered, Rabbi Beerman has been a ray of light.
When nuclear weapons have put all that we love and treasure at risk, Rabbi Beerman has been a source of hope and moral strength.
On behalf of the Directors and members of the Foundation, I am very pleased to present to Rabbi Leonard Beerman the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s 2013 Distinguished Peace Leadership Award.