TO OUR READERS

By , managing editor

The Peace 2010 ad disappeared from the pages of The Christian Science Monitor the last week in December. Since then, the senior editors of the paper have been busy reading the more than 1,000 entries received -- plus 200 entries from those 18 years of age and younger. The response to our invitation to write a scenario for peace in terms of looking back on the next 25 years was impressive. Most of the essays approached the maximum length of 3,000 words and represented thousands of hours of thought and writing.

The letters accompanying many of them were full of the sense of excitement and gratitude at being challenged to think specifically about the peace process. Along with publishing the three winning essays early in April, we intend to share some of the thoughts the writers had on the contest itself.

Essays emphasized different parts of the peace process. Some began with the military or economic considerations that might begin to move the United States and the Soviet Union off dead center in their relationship with each other. Some saw a strengthening of world organization. Others included a limited nuclear exchange or equally momentous event which changed the thinking of the superpowers and galvanized public action. Many were from members of peace groups, and articulated a strategy by which some of today's action groups eventually change the outlook.

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Another group could be called ``change of consciousness'' essays, in which significant numbers of people began to change the manner in which they viewed the world's problems to one more inclusive of mankind.

We have looked for realism in selecting the better essays. But what constitutes realism is not only what is based on military power or diplomatic skill; many essays have had a convincing scenario in which the paradigm through which events are viewed is changed.

From all these approaches to peace, we have now selected approximately 50 essays. These are being reviewed by our four outside judges, who will meet in Boston in mid-March to determine the three winners.

To judge this final group, we asked for assistance from a distinguished panel of world citizens: Kurt Waldheim, former secretary-general of the United Nations; Curt Gasteyger, director of the Program for International Studies in Geneva; Lincoln Bloomfield, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former member of the National Security Council; and Stansfield Turner, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and a former NATO commander. The varied disciplines, professional experience, and national outlook represented by this group ensure that a global perspective will be represented in the judging.

Who wrote to us? Members of large law firms; political figures; novelists; career people in international organizations; members of conflict resolution groups; academics; doctors and other professional people. Most of all, people who did not even hint who they are, other than that they were concerned enough to think through some of the steps that must happen if we are all to enjoy a more peaceful world. One hundred twenty-three of the entries came from 30 foreign countries; 30 of them were written in German, French, or Spanish.

The editors thank every person who wrote us regarding the contest. The thought that has gone into these essays is itself a constructive force for peace and will forward the peace process. One entrant said that writing his essay was the best Christmas present he had last year.

The seriousness of the response from our readers was also a kind of present for us; it indicated the deep mutual relationship we know exists between this newspaper and its readers. Thank you. -- 30 --{et

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