In April 2012, Nobel Peace Prize Laureates from around the world gathered in Chicago for the first ever US-hosted World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates to discuss pressing issues and share wisdom with students, youth and professionals. The Hunger Project sent a delegation of five professionals to the Summit who will share their experiences here on the blog. Our second review comes from Microsoft investor and University of Washington Alumnus, Amanda Arch!
“Do not wait for permission. Do not wait for someone to tell you how to make a difference, you will be waiting forever. Find the issue that makes you most agitated and go fight for it.” These were the remarks of Professor Jody Williams on the opening day of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates that took place in Chicago from April 23-25th, 2012. While it has been over a month since the summit, these words continue to echo through my mind. It was a poignant call to action, which I am still grappling with how best to address.
I remember sitting on the plane home filled with such wonder and excitement. Over three days I heard some of the most impactful, dedicated, and iconic leaders of the last century share their perspectives on the critical challenges currently haunting humanity – global warming, nuclear weapons management, gender inequality, corruption in capitalism. To be in the same room, feeling their energy and passion on these issues was a surreal experience. Throughout the summit there was also an added emphasis on how young people can get involved. The theme of the summit was “speak up, speak out for freedom and rights” and they were encouraging active participation from the audience. The Laureates were passing the torch and have the highest expectations for the next generation. Passive complacency with the status quo is not going to be acceptable.
Over the last month I have been reflecting on how to homogenize their request with my daily life. As I drive to work every day I look around and question what injustices provoke emotional responses in me? The answer is always the children of my community, country, and world who are born into a life without the necessary means to have a real chance at success. I sincerely believe education is our planet’s most powerful resource. When I think of the seminal moments that shaped my childhood they were: hours reading in the library, playing soccer, learning to use a computer, music appreciation – the necessary elements for a solid education foundation. It definitely agitates me that the majority of children of the world will never have these experiences simply based on their misfortune with the birth lottery. But how do we replicate this at scale? How can we focus on education if children are still unable to meet their basic human needs of food, shelter and safety? Queue the Hunger Project.
I left the summit feeling proud to be associated with an organization addressing these macro concerns at the individual level. World peace will continue to be an elusive concept until every person on Earth has a comparable advantage. The Hunger Project’s work to transform men and women’s lives to better themselves and live out their full potential is helping achieve this goal. Now more than ever we need to speak up and speak out for their plight and leverage technology to spread awareness further. Understanding the underlying issue that truly agitates me the most has stirred a deeply-rooted compulsion to fight for a future I know is possible. I look forward to continued engagement with the Hunger Project community to think of innovative solutions to advance our cause and establish a sustainable legacy for years to come.
Photo: Professor Jody Williams at 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates by Sara Wilson