Ted Turner Receives Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
1987 Distinguished Peace Leadership Award
Presentation Speech by David Krieger
The following is the text of David Krieger's presentation speech at the award ceremony.
WHO IS GIVING THE AWARD
"The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation exists because we believe that peace has become an
imperative in the Nuclear Age. The power of our technologies, including nuclear
technology, has made it necessary for humanity to mature more rapidly and find ways to resolve our
conflicts without resort to violence. It is the pursuit of peace with justice that motivates our efforts,
and gives rise to our many activities.
We are an educational organization that believes education should be closely linked to action. We
work to abolish nuclear weapons, to strengthen international law, and to use science and technology
for constructive rather than destructive purposes.
PAST WINNERS AND TED
The Foundation has tried to shine a light on outstanding leadership for peace. Almost since our
inception, we have given an award for Distinguished Peace Leadership to those who have spoken
out and acted courageously for peace. Some of the most outstanding peace leaders of our time
have received this award, including the XIVth Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mairead
Maguire, Helen Caldicott, Father Theodore Hesburgh, Jacques Cousteau, Carl Sagan, Linus
Pauling, and Ted Turner.
We have honored these individuals because we believe that our world is in need of inspiring role
models. We have reached a point in human history at which we cannot continue with the old modes
of thinking without courting disaster of unfathomed magnitude. Albert Einstein reminded us that "[t]he
unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift
toward unparalleled catastrophe." Each of the individuals we have honored has in his or her own
way tried to change our thinking and avert this catastrophe. Each of these individuals has chosen life
As we approach the 21st century, we have reached a crossroads in human history. The Cold War
has ended, but nuclear dangers continue. In some respects, due to command and control problems
in Russia, the dangers of nuclear weapons being used by terrorist groups or nations may even have
increased. India and Pakistan have entered the Nuclear Weapons Club. It is obvious today that this
club has lost its exclusivity. It must either disband and abolish its nuclear weapons, or it must face
the reality that nuclear weapons will proliferate to many additional nations.
World crises are becoming more frequent. Economic crises. Environmental crises. Social crises.
Human rights crises. These crises have been caused by both internal and external factors producing
societal disintegration, compounded by an institutional structure at the global level that is neither
adequately organized nor supported by states to avert these crises.
Amidst these crises, we can justifiably feel that there are tremendous opportunities. All crises carry
with them opportunities for transformation. Our time is no different in this regard. With the power of
our technologies, the risks are infinitely greater if we choose violence, just as the potential benefits
are infinitely greater if we choose peace.
We believe that the road to peace in the 21st century must be built on universal respect for human
dignity, as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If respect for human dignity is to
become universal, we need a new type of citizenship in our world, a citizenship of the whole planet -
Earth Citizenship or World Citizenship.
In this conviction, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has created another major award, a World
Citizenship Award, which we plan to make to individuals of high distinction who have acted for the
benefit of all humanity.
I believe that we could have chosen no better person to set the standard for this award than our first
recipient, Ted Turner. Ted's vision has not been limited by borders. Like the rest of us, he has seen
the photos of Earth from outer space that demonstrate that the world is one. But unlike many of us,
he has acted upon that understanding as a businessman, an educator, an environmentalist, and a
Ted had the vision to create the Cable News Network, a network that now links the world. He
initiated the Goodwill Games, the Better World Society, and the Better World Fund. He also made
the largest private gift ever to benefit the United Nations, helping that organization fulfill its promise
to the poor, to refugees, to those whose human rights are being abused.
Ted Turner has been a thoughtful and generous citizen of the world. He has been creative and
persistent. He has been bold and imaginative. He has accepted personal responsibility for being a
good citizen of our beautiful and fragile planet. He has helped to demonstrate the broad possibilities
of world citizenship. Ted has marked a path for others to follow into the future. For this we will honor
him on November 6th in Santa Barbara with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation's first World
David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
Ted Turner received the foundation's World Citizenship Award in 1998. Ted Turner's Acceptance
Speech for the 1998 World Citizenship Award