Byline: Joan Broz
Three Nobel Peace Prize laureates recently brought a simple message to roughly 1,200 people at Benedictine University: Peace must be taught.
The two-hour presentation was the latest in the "Great Issues - Great Ideas" lecture series.
It brought together Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica and author of the Arias Peace Plan; Mairead Corrigan Maguire, an activist for peace in Northern Ireland; and Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and Boston University professor.
Juan Williams, a political commentator on the TV news program "Inside Washington" led the panel. He called the group a "gathering of minds and spirits" from different parts of the world.
Williams said each of the panelists had worked in critical situations and put themselves on the line for peace.
Wiesel spoke first, noting "violence is the language used when language ends."
Civilians are being "butchered" every day, he said, and it disturbs him that the world seems unconcerned. He questioned what could be done when brothers and sisters all over the world do not respect one another.
Wiesel has worked on behalf of oppressed people for most of his adult life. At the age of 15, he and his family were sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice," Wiesel wrote, "but there must never be a time when we fail to protest."
The first round of applause came when Wiesel said leaders of the world should join together to ban land mines. It should be remembered, he said, "there is more for man to celebrate than to desecrate."
As the second speaker, Arias gave statistics to outline the immense poverty and suffering in the world today.
"Governments of developing countries waste precious resources on arms around the world, when feeding, educating and clothing the impoverished should be their priority," he said.
He called for redirecting resources with compassion and love because each country's survival in the 21st century will depend on all the others.
"Be concerned for a neighbors' well-being - the choice is up to you," he said.
"It is time to realize men, women and children are more important than arms," Arias said.
Stopping the sale of weapons must be international, he said. …