Can you remember where you were when the Berlin Wall crumbled? Watching CNN in our global living room, we shared a hope that the end of the Cold War signaled an end to the madness of the nuclear arms race and we were on our way to a more peaceful world. I, like many here tonight, dreamed of building a nuclear weapons free world from the debris on the streets of Berlin.
More than ten years later we stand instead on the verge of a new nuclear nightmare. India and Pakistan have the Bomb. The Russian economy, a new form of Russian roulette, makes safeguarding nuclear materials nearly impossible. Iraq ignores UN weapons inspectors and North Korea’s nuclear brinkmanship challenges international agreements. And to the shock of most everyone in this room, the United States Senate defeated ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall we are on a dangerous backslide. The awful possibility of a nuclear accident and the threat of nuclear weapons continue to form a backdrop for our everyday lives.
With your help, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation stays in the fight. It exerts bold leadership to educate the public about the dangers of the Nuclear Age. We are providing leadership in Abolition 2000, a network of some 1,800 civic groups and municipalities in 93 countries; we are one of eight leading organizations in The Middle Powers Initiative; and we are launching a Campaign to Alert America.
The Foundation is home for the Coalition Against Gun Violence, The Renewable Energy Project, the Nuclear Files, The Peace Education Project, and Artists for Peace. We publish a highly respected journal, Waging Peace Worldwide, and we now receive over two million hits a year on our web sites, www.wagingpeace.org and www.NuclearFiles.org.
Dreams have crumbled but are not crushed. Our first ever two-day Peace Leadership Training for Youth, this year was led by the brightest young people I know: Marc and Craig Kielburger and Roxanne Joyal, Carah Ong of Abolition 2000, and Zack Allen of the newly created Institute for Global Security. Santa Barbara’s young people will be offered tools to build the dream of a nuclear weapons free and peaceful future. I believe that the training of a new generation of peace leaders would be an accomplishment that this year’s recipient of the foundation’s Distinguished Peace Leader award, King Hussein, would applaud.
While we work at training this new generation, we will also be doing everything in our power to assure that we fulfill the greatest responsibility of any generation – to preserve our world intact for the next generation.