Tag Archives: Nobel Peace Prize

Happy Birthday, President Jimmy Carter

1 Oct

Today marks Jimmy Carter’s 88th birthday.  Despite his detractors, Carter remains one of my heroes.  When we look at a list of his accomplishments during and after his Presidency, we see that he sets a very high bar for his successors and exposes Tea Party/Republicans to be racist, bigoted, homophobic, misogynistic people who are on the wrong side of history.

During his tenure as President, Carter created the Department of Energy and the Department of Education.  Yes, we used to have a President that urged Americans to conserve energy, and advocated for price controls and for technology — quite the contrast to Bush W. and Romney with their misguided notion of aggressive consumerist philosophy.  We have now over 30 years of evidence that Reagan’s “Trickle Down Economics” does not work!

While Reagan took the credit for the Iran-hostage situation, it was actually Carter who set up the framework to free the hostages. It was also Carter who brokered the Camp David Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel — no small feat.

Of course, Carter really shines after his presidency.  In 2002, Carter earned the Nobel Peace Prize.  He and his wife Rosalynn helped to start Habitat for Humanity, showing their dedication to addressing poverty.  Sadly, we don’t even address families living in poverty anymore. Carter has also come out in support of Marriage Equality and while his faith makes it difficult for him to support abortion, he has clearly stated that he supports a woman’s right to govern her own body.

What an amazing legacy President Carter has carved: a long standing dedication to civil rights for marginalized populations and a long standing dedication working to eradicate poverty.  We can only hope for more Presidents who will leave such a legacy.  President Obama is certainly on his way.

Happy Birthday, Nelson Mandela

18 Jul

Happy Birthday, Nelson Mandela

Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to Nelson Mandela and wish him a Happy Birthday. Mandela is chiefly known for his anti-apartheid activism and founding Umkhonto we Sizwe.  His activism to fight British Colonialism landed him in prison for 27 years.  Mandela had the wacky idea that the people of South Africa should have the right to govern themselves and to be represented in government without imperial interference.

After being released from prison, it was Mandela who was the chief architect for Democracy in South Africa.  Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.  Mandela’s legacy was to work toward reconciliation for South Africa and to combat poverty and the inequitable distribution of power–a true hero for TSM.  In 1993, Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

TSM readers should know that South Africa has had full marriage equality since November of 2006. Mandela’s feelings about marriage equality for the LGBTQ community:

I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.

The Constitutional Court of South Africa clearly stated that:

banning same-sex marriages represented a harsh if oblique statement by the law that same-sex couples are outsiders, and that their need for affirmation and protection of their intimate relations as human beings is somehow less than that of heterosexual couples.

Wow! Talk about progressive and standing up for social justice.  What an honor to celebrate such a hero as Nelson Mandela.

Black History Month 2012: Ralph Bunche

17 Feb

Today we honor a celebrated diplomat and political scientist, Nobel Laureate Ralph Bunche. In 1950, Bunche was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in Palestine, the first person of color to be awarded this honor.

Ralph Bunche was born in Detroit, MI at the turn of the 20th Century. He was a brilliant student, emerging top of his class in high school and at UCLA. He earned his Master’s and PhD in Political Science from Harvard while teaching at Howard University. He chaired the Howard PoliSci department from 1928 to 1950.

During World War II, Bunche served with the OSS and parlayed that experience into a post with the State Department after the war. He was closely involved in creating the charter for the nascent United Nations and worked closely with Eleanor Roosevelt on the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Starting in 1947, he began working on the Arab-Israeli conflict and was the UN’s primary negotiator. Firm but fair, he was respected by all parties and helped craft the first major Middle-East armistice. He went on to help mediate in numerous other strife-torn regions and was eventually made UN Undersecretary-General.

Bunche was also involved in US politics, especially the civil rights movement. He helped support the 1963 March on Washington and was an outspoken advocate for racial equality. Despite his prominence, he suffered direct racism in his neighborhood, being denied membership in a local tennis club in 1959. Ralph Bunche was an amazing force for good in the world. Let us try to live up to his vision:

May there be, in our time, at long last, a world at peace in which we, the people, may for once begin to make full use of the great good that is in us.

Hero of the Week Award: October 7, Nobel Peace Prize Winners

7 Oct

Heroes of the Week

Today the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three activist women, recognizing  their nonviolent role in promoting peace, democracy and gender equality.  This year’s prize is shared between: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Liberian President (yes, even African countries elect women leaders before the United States–ummm, which is the third world?); peace activist Leymah Gbowee; and Tawakul Karman, activist for democracy in Yemen.

The tireless work of these strong women leaders earns them this week’s HWA.  Not only do these women deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, but this sends a clear message that evolved nations work to create parity between genders:

Anyone who knows anything of history knows that great social changes are impossible without feminine upheaval. Social Progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex. (Karl Marx)

Given the attacks on women and women’s health and reproductive rights in the United States, we have a long way to go for social progress here.  “We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society,” said Thorbjorn Jagland of the Nobel Committee.

I congratulate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakul Karman and hope their recognition shall inspire women in the United States to take leadership positions and work towards social change. Click here to read more about these wonderful, powerful women making a difference in the world.

Celebrating Jane Addams

6 Sep

Happy Birthday, Jane Addams

Happy Birthday, Jane Addams.  Addams was recognized around the world as a person who dedicated her life to social justice.  In 1931, Addams was the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Addams may well be best known for starting Hull House in Chicago.  Here is the current mission statement of Hull House:

Jane Addams Hull House Association improves social conditions for underserved people and communities by providing creative, innovative programs and advocating for related public policy reforms.

Jane Addams Hull House Association provides child care, domestic violence counseling and prevention, economic development, family services, job training, literacy training, senior services, foster care, independent living, and housing assistance for 60,000 children, families and community members each year in communities in and around Chicago.

Hull House also advocates for social and public policy reforms and initiatives that impact the lives of the men, women, and children in the communities we serve.

Yes, Addams would be much despised by many of today’s Republicans.  All of that social work nonsense, helping the poor and marginalized.  One can actually visualize Eric Cantor and John Boehner spitting at our Jane.  Empathy and caring for our communities seems to have gone out of vogue–the legacy of Ronald Reagan made viciously cruel and real by the Teahaddists.  The fact that Hull House has a Center for Civil Society would seem to run contrary to the philosophy of this current crop of Republican Presidential candidates who deride the poor and sign pledges to discriminate against and scapegoat those in the LGBT community.

As the reputation of Addams and Hull House became well renowned across the country, Addams was recruited to Chicago’s Board of Education in 1905.  In 1909, Addams became the President of National Conference of Charities and Corrections.  Unfortunately, the National Conference of Charities and Corrections no longer exists; it died in 1917 with the Great War.  In 1917, the National Conference on Social Welfare was formed and would later become National Association of Social Workers in 1985.

Although the word feminist did not exist at the turn of the 20th Century, our Addams certainly embodied the principles of a modern feminist.  Addams was a suffragist and believed that women should control their own destinies–my what a novel idea!  She was also a well known pacifist and served as the President of the International League for Peace and Freedom until 1929. I can’t even imagine any of our current political leaders being a part of the International League for Peace and Freedom without being called “unpatriotic”–how sad.  Big shock that Addams was expelled from the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) for her pacifist ideals and her very vocal and public opposition to the war.  I am grateful for the work accomplished by Addams and hope that I and many others will take inspiration to make the world a better place for ALL!

The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life–Jane Addams

Women’s History: May 21

21 May

May 21, 1935, Jane Addams dies.  Addams was best known as the Founder of Hull House, Peace Activist, and Social Reformer.  Addams was also the very first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  Addams fits perfectly into the theme of TSM blog; she stands for social justice and feels morally obligated to help the disenfranchised and the marginalized. She is what I would call a “do-gooder.”  I hope shall leave such a legacy when I am gone and inspire others in the way Addams inspired.  While Addams did consider herself religious and eventually identified as a Unitarian, I do believe those of us that do not subscribe to any organized religion can be just as effective.

Quote of the day:

Old-fashioned ways which no longer apply to changed conditions are a snare in which the feet of women have always become readily entangled.–Jane Addams

Women’s History, January 27

27 Jan

Happy Birthday, Vicki Baum.  Baum, a Jewish Austrian writer was best known for Menschen im Hotel (“People at a Hotel”, 1929). Menschen im Hotel was then made into the movie Grand Hotel, which won an Academy Award.  Baum wrote over 50 novels.

Happy Birthday, Mairead Maguire. Maquire, an Irish Peace Activist, co-founded, with Betty Williams, the Community of Peace People, an organisation which attempts to encourage a peaceful resolution of the troubles in Northern Ireland. The two women received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.

Nobel Peace Prize Winner

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