“If tolerance, respect and equity permeate family life, they will translate into values that shape societies, nations and the world.”
Born in Wolozyn, Poland, in 1923, Shimon Peres immigrated with his family to Palestine in 1934. He became an activist while living on a kibbutz as a youth. His long career in public service began at age twenty-four, when Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, appointed him head of the new state’s navy. Peres went on to serve as a member of the Knesset, minister of defense, finance minister, and prime minister. As Israel’s foreign minister, Peres shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasir Arafat for their negotiations toward a peace accord. In June of 2007, Peres was elected President of the state of Israel for a 7-year term.
Born in 1941, Oscar Arias Sanchez studied law and economics in his native Costa Rica, the United States, and England. He began his political career in 1970 in the left-wing National Liberation Party and was elected president of Costa Rica in 1986. He immediately set about working for peace in Central America, bringing the leaders of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua together for negotiations. Arias won the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize for his continuing efforts to foster democracy and peace among his war-torn neighbors. Since leaving office in 1990, he has continued his work through the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress.
Ambassador Andrew Young began work in the Civil Rights movement when, as a Protestant minister, he joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1960. Instrumental in the fight for desegregation, he became one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s closest associates and served as executive director of the conference from 1964 to 1970. In 1972, Young was elected the first African-American congressman from Georgia since 1871. He served two terms in the House before joining the Carter Administration as ambassador to the United Nations in 1977. Young served as mayor of Atlanta from 1981 to 1989.