PATHWAYS TO PEACE
“This is a marvelous concept.”
-Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel
A key objective of the 2011 World Youth Peace Summit will be the creation of literally thousands of Pathways to Peace programs. Supporting this initiative will be the opening of the Office of Peace Projects. This office will assist Summit participants with the implementation of the many, many Pathways to Peace projects, and will conduct empirical research on the efficacy of these initiatives. The office will provide administrative direction, information and opportunities to network with other organizations and people who might be helpful in advancing their efforts.
A Wide Range of Pathways to Peace Opportunities
Project implementation may connect to existing service projects or new efforts. Some Pathways to Peace initiatives will focus on large-scale issues such as poverty, nuclear proliferation and the environment. Other Pathways to Peace initiatives will be community-based programs involving some project that fosters peace, such as juvenile justice, conflict resolution, youth sports programs, mentoring and civil rights. One such example is already under way. Medical-school deans are meeting with institute representatives to forge a scholarship program for foreign students to study medicine in the U.S., and then return to their homelands to literally save lives through the Pathways to Peace program. The concept was presented to the Institute by esteemed physician, Dr. Stephen Lahey. What follows is Dr. Lahey’s proposal, an example of the many proposals that will be submitted in the coming years.
A Medical Pathway to Peace
Presented by Dr. Stephen Lahey
The Institute for International Sport and the World Youth Peace Summit, conceived by the remarkable vision of Mr. Dan Doyle, is uniquely positioned to have unprecedented influence over the lives of many young people from all over the world. The power of this opportunity cannot be overstated. These programs have accomplished enormous political, social and cultural goodwill in the emerging phenomenon known as the “global community” by attracting young scholar-athletes and scholar-artists to participate together, free of traditional geopolitical biases and impediments. Athletics and the spirit of competition appear to be an unusually effective vehicle (a so-called “hook”) to attract young people from all walks of life. The same is true of the arts. Traditional beliefs or even generational animosities of differing cultures appear to be irrelevant in this unique setting. The political implications of this simple accomplishment are staggering.
The next step in the Institute’s noble mission is to create literally thousands of Pathways to Peace initiatives throughout the world through the launching of the 2011 World Youth Peace Summit. This presents the opportune time to pursue a new direction, or more properly a new amplification of this successful program. Based on the notion that through athletics and the arts many young people can be developed into natural leaders from their own communities by their participation in the World Scholar-Athlete Games, individuals can be further identified as potential “academic superstars” who would have the potential to go on and make further, very real, contributions in their home communities as future physicians. While not minimizing the importance of careers in law or economics or even theology (which may be additional scholarly tracts to consider) it can be generally accepted that the physician has the power to, quite simply, save lives. As such, this bold initiative might actually be the organization’s most significant opportunity to make a profound and long lasting contribution to international good will and world peace. Additionally, this gift would be self-sustaining throughout the professional life of each potential ambassador/physician.
If the admittedly ambitious notion of identifying academic superstars who would go on to become ambassador/physicians is to be realized, it would take the cooperation of several U.S. medical schools. The American system of medical education is unrivaled and acceptance to American medical schools is highly coveted. Obviously, participating medical schools would have to appreciate the overwhelming social value of this initiative which has a decidedly global flavor. They would have to fully endorse the program if they were to agree to offer even one medical school position to a carefully hand-picked and fully sponsored student from our organization. These students would, of course, be required to meet normal acceptance criteria established by each school. It would be the responsibility of the parent program, headed up by Mr. Doyle and selected members of a new Board to, in essence, “sell” the concept to these medical schools, i.e. a new strategy to create new knowledge in different parts of the world and, perhaps in this innovative and simple way, promote world peace. Perhaps one day, the institute would see twenty or thirty of “our” ambassador/physicians providing care and comfort to thousands of people who would, otherwise, never have access to the simple basics of health care that we, in this country, often take for granted. This newly created “World Health Corps” may become a most effective way to demonstrate the institute’s commitment to the concept of a global community and the noble pursuit of world peace.
Stephen J. Lahey M.D.