Friday, March 28, 2008

Global Heroes as Role Models

My mother, Frances Alleman-Luce, had challenged me to think about what would make Orphans International unique in the bleak world of orphanages. I told her I planned to have memorials to twentieth century leaders on our campuses. I hope to unveil memorial plaques and, eventually, statuaries on our campuses for aesthetic, inspirational, and valuable educational purposes. There is value and importance in remembering the good who have walked among us, as well as remembering the evil that is possible when good people stand by. Our campuses will prominently feature memorials to thirty-six heroes who have shaped our lives, our hearts, and our world. The plaques will initially be hand-painted, three by six feet (1x2m), mounted to display boards which will be planted in the ground with two posts and covered with a roof, similar to notice boards found throughout U.S. national parks.
Our children deserve to have strong role models.

The most noble thoughts of the last century were thought by Nobel Prize recipients from around the world. Orphans International Worldwide would pay special attention to the words of these leaders through curriculum, library holdings, and inspirational memorials. These leaders include former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, Albert Schweitzer, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela, Yitzhak Rabin, Pearl S. Buck, Menachem Begin, Heinrich Böll, Willy Brandt, Albert Camus, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, T.S. Eliot, Gabriel García Márquez, Dag Hammarskjöld, Ernest Hemingway, Herman Hesse, Yasunari Kawabata, Rudyard Kipling, Le Duc Tho, Sinclair Lewis, Thomas Mann, Eugene O’Neil, Anwar Sadat, Jean-Paul Sartre, Eisaku Sato, Isaac Bashevis Singer, John Steinbeck, Rabindranath Tagore, and Elie Wiesel. Orphans International’s goal is to provide quality shelter and education to possible future Nobel Prize recipients.

Without saints, secular or divine, sanctity can too easily be viewed as mere abstraction. However, the sincerity of Anne Frank, the courage of Mahatma Gandhi, and the blood of Oscar Romero make sainthood a reality for us all.

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