What they told the Class of '88. On taking risks
TO promote change, to work for a dream, means that we have to prepare to take risks. When in Costa Rica we abolished the army, most people thought we were wrong and that that was an impossible dream. Out of that risk we enjoy now a very different country in Central America. When we proposed the peace plan for Central America, many people thought we were wrong and that that was an impossible dream. Out of that risk we now have a chance for peace, and guns have been silenced in Nicaragua for the first time in 20 years.
Don't ever fear the risks you will have to take to build a different world. Don't ever fear the risks when you are acting on your principles. You will soon learn that the accommodation with the old world, a world where you see violence and injustice, poverty and submission, offers no reward.
The dreams that you allow to die will not be replaced. Martin Luther King, Jr. said once that ``Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.'' I have seen many times men who abandoned their dreams. I have seen those misguided men who believe they can solve all problems with guided missiles. These are men without values and the world cannot afford their leadership into the 21st century.
The return to a life and a world dominated by values is urgent if we want peace to prevail. We should no longer be ashamed of feelings, of piety. It is not true that they degrade reason and science. Piety is no less than the intelligence of the soul and we need heart and brains to recover the world in our hands, for the values we cherish.
Nobody can ignore the problems of today, least of all intellectuals. Now, more than ever, my friends, you shall have to bear the loneliness of being leaders.... We require builders, men and women of vision and tenacity. We must commit ourselves to transform privileges into rights for all and never to convert the sweat of all into the privilege of the few.
Among all the values we have to restore in order to provide a new leadership, peace is the one we should never neglect even under the most desperate circumstances....
Peace is a never-ending process, the work of many decisions by many people in many countries. It is an attitude, a way of life, a way of solving problems and resolving conflicts. It cannot be forced on the smallest nation or be enforced by the largest. It cannot ignore our differences or overlook our common interests. It requires us to work and live together. Don't ever abandon your dreams. If you believe now that one poet has more vision than all the politicians, don't change that belief. Go out and take risks to achieve that vision. Together, we will be proven right!
From an address given at Harvard University