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Ram Dass Harriet Tubman William Wilberforce Kuan Yin Cyrus the Great Eva Peron Eckhart Tolle Muhammad Ali George Orwell Betty Williams Jimmy Carter Frederick Douglas Paramahansa Yogananda Annie Besant Eleanor Roosevelt Kofi Annan Akbar the Great Saint Teresa Rudolf Steiner Swami Vivekananda Albert Einstein Thomas Paine Gangaji Lech Walesa Leo Tolstoy Sojourner Truth Helen Keller Rumi Sri Chinmoy Mr. Rogers Socrates Princess Diana Sri Aurobindo Bishop Desmond Tutu Benazir Bhutto Abraham Lincoln Franklin Delano Roosevelt Susan B. Anthony Harriet Beecher Stowe John F. Kennedy Bob Marley Florence Nightingale Mikhail Gorbachev Marie Curie Nelson Mandela Joan of Arc Wangari Maathai U Thant Laozi Thich Naht Hanh St Francis of Assisi Mahatma Gandhi Malala Yousafzai 14th Dalai Lama John Lennon Sri Krishna Jesus Christ Buddha Chief Ouray Mother Teresa Martin Luther King Jr Rosa Parks Pope John Paul II Confucius Jane Goodall Magaret Mead Yitzhak Rabin

  • Ram Dass

    Ram Dass: (1931 – ) is a spiritual teacher and author of 70’s book – “Be Here Now”. Known for his travels to India, his relationship with the Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba and founding the charitable organizations Seva Foundation and Hanuman Foundation. Pondering the words of Ram Dass, “It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed” seems a balanced way to deal with life. Ram Dass has dedicated his life to reaching out and sharing his teachings across the world. Learn to love everyone is the cornerstone of Ram Dass’s philosophy and teachings. His web site states that – Spiritual practices are designed to awaken us out of separateness into connection with all things, with Spirit, God, the One. His philosophy and teachings are designed to bring us back to the one behind many.

  • Harriet Tubman

    Harriet Tubman: (1822 – 1913) was a former slave who escaped and returned to lead slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. She served as a spy for the US army during the civil war and was an active participant in women’s suffrage. A well-known speaker on slavery and advocate for rights of African Americans and women, Harriet lived by her words “Every great dream begins with a dreamer”. A part of the indomitable legacy of Harriet Tubman was that no matter the odds you face, “keep going.” She set goals and objectives that were obtainable. Even if many around her thought the goals beyond reach, she knew that they were achievable. She never took small and safe steps for fear of failure. She took giant steps with every challenge and succeeded where many others failed. When leading slaves to freedom, Harriet Tubman would not tolerate failure.

  • William Wilberforce

    William Wilberforce: (1759 -1833) was one of Britain’s great social reformers and House of Commons member. In particular, Wilberforce is remembered for his active participation in getting Parliament to outlaw the slave trade. He died in 1833, just three days before Parliament passed the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, which effectively banned slavery in the British Empire. His words live on, “It is the true duty of every man to promote the happiness of his fellow creatures to the utmost of his power”. A highly rated 2006 film was made about him called Amazing Grace, staring Ioan Gruffudd, Albert Finney and Michael Gambon. His work is also taught at schools around the world. Many individuals, inspired by his work, have formed a variety of organizations to stop modern slavery that still exists. In his early years he wrote “We are too young to realize that certain things are impossible… So we will do them anyway.”

  • Kuan Yin

    Kuan Yin: (5th century BC) The Bodhisattva or goddess of compassion, “The One Who Hears the Cries of the World”. A Bodhisattva is a person who dedicates their life to relieving the suffering of others. A mythological figure for some, she symbolizes deep compassion. May this web page encourage all who visit to embrace a life’s path of goodness, benevolence, forgiveness and all the great virtues a compassionate heart brings forth. May you walk in peace and bring peace to others.

  • Cyrus the Great

    Cyrus the Great: (590–529 BC) was a tolerant and ideal monarch, called the father of his people by the ancient Persians. In the Bible Cyrus is the liberator of the Jews who were captive in Babylonia. Cyrus the Great also conquered the Medes and united the Iranian people under one ruler for the first time. Cyrus was the planet’s first world emperor to openly declare and guarantee the sanctity of human rights and individual freedom. His attitude towards others can be seen in the words, “We love ourselves notwithstanding our faults, and we ought to love our friends in like manner”. The Cyrus Cylinder is the first human rights charter in history. A facsimile, of this small clay item, is present at the United Nations building in New York City. Cyrus ruled according to Zoroastrian beliefs, but made no attempt to impose Zoroastrianism on the people.

  • Eva Peron

    Eva Peron: (1919 -1952) served as Argentina’s First Lady from 1946 to 1952. Eva Peron or ‘Evita’ became a powerful political figure with a large support base among the poor and working class trade union members. She inspired millions with her campaigns to help the poor and give women the right to vote. May we open our hearts to these words, “I demanded more rights for women because I know what women had to put up with” and gain greater respect for those who bring new life to this world. To her supporters she was a saint who strove to overcome poverty and injustice, most famously as subject of the 1976 musical Evita. Even today, Evita has never left the collective consciousness of Argentinians. The content of her character and quality of her heart are reflected in these words “Charity separates the rich from the poor; aid raises the needy and sets him on the same level with the rich.”

  • Eckhart Tolle

    Eckhart Tolle: (1919 – ) is the author of The Power of Now and A New Earth. In 2008, a NY Times writer called Tolle “the most popular spiritual author in the United States”. Tolle is not identified with any one religion, but is influenced by a range of spiritual works. Depressed in early years, at 29 he had a transformation. Tolle then spent several years wandering in bliss before becoming a spiritual teacher and world renowned author. Tolle states that “a teacher is there to help you remove that which separates you from the truth”. Looking at politicians and pondering his words, “Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath” and embracing teachings that speak of the need to be right, as often a violent act, can give us greater wisdom in selecting leaders.

  • Muhammad Ali

    Muhammad Ali: (1942 – 2016) was an Olympic and World Champion boxer, with a unique personality, based on self-belief and strong religious and political convictions. Ali famously said, “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs?” Ali’s statement that “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth” makes it obvious Ali, born Cassius Clay, was not a typical boxer, more a seer of truth. Ali even received a Grammy nomination, for “Best Recording for Children”, with 1976 spoken word record, The Adventures of Ali and His Gang vs. Mr. Tooth Decay.

  • George Orwell

    George Orwell (1903 -1950) gave up his privileged education to spend time with the unemployed of the Great Depression. His greatest contribution was warning about the dangers of totalitarian regimes (through Animal Farm and 1984). Orwell’s focus was not to promote a certain point of view, but to arrive at the truth; exposing the hypocrisy and injustice prevalent in society. Reading his works and contemplating this quote, “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act”, sheds light on the bravery of Orwell and others who take a similar stance, so desperately needed today. “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”.

  • Betty Williams

    Betty Williams (1943 – ) was a co-recipient of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work as a co-founder of Community of Peace People, dedicated to promoting a peaceful resolution to the troubles in Northern Ireland. At the time she received the Nobel Prize, Williams worked as a receptionist and was raising her two children with her first husband Ralph Williams. She heads the Global Children’s Foundation and is President of the World Centers of Compassion for Children International. She is also the Chair of Institute for Asian Democracy in Washington D.C. and one of the founders of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, living her words, “There is no use talking about the problem unless you talk about the solution”.

  • Jimmy Carter

    Jimmy Carter (1924 – ) Former President Carter is a Nobel Prize winner and a deeply compassionate man. His contributions to humanity include Habitat for Humanity, the Carter Center and numerous ventures to promote peace, freedom, democracy, human rights, and efforts to alleviate suffering in the poorest countries in the world. Mr. Carter is widely considered to be the most exceptional president, in recent memory, for his humanitarian efforts. Sadly his statement, “We cannot be both the world’s leading champion of peace and the world’s leading supplier of the weapons of war”, has been totally ignored by succeeding presidents, and armed conflict permeates the planet. “Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries.” Sweet words demonstrating a deep well of compassion.

  • Frederick Douglass

    Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) was a former slave, who became the most influential African-American leader of the Nineteenth Century. He was deeply committed to working for the emancipation of all slaves and ending the injustice of slavery and racism in America. He gave many stirring speeches criticizing injustice and raising the hope for a nation where all people were treated equally regardless of race, sex or religion. His quote, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”, should bring shame to a society and country that disenfranchises, sabotages, jails and murders both younger and older African-Americans, with impunity. His words, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress”, gives us motivation to join in the effort for universal freedom.

  • Paramahansa Yogananda

    Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 – 1952) was an Indian yogi and guru who introduced westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his book, Autobiography of a Yogi. Known as “The Book that Changed the Lives of Millions,” more than four million copies have been sold, in 45 languages, inspiring the likes of Steve Jobs and George Harrison, on their spiritual journey. The Self-Realization Fellowship continues sharing his unique and practical teachings, such as “The happiness of one’s own heart alone cannot satisfy the soul; one must try to include, as necessary to one’s own happiness, the happiness of others”.  More than 500 temples, retreats, ashrams, and meditation centers around the world offer retreat programs, inspirational services, and a variety of options to share in spiritual fellowship.

  • Annie Besant

    Annie Besant (1847 – 1933) was a political reformer, women’s and workers rights activist in 19th Century Britain. A leading member of the Theosophy Society she also supported Indian independence. She is known for stating, “Better remain silent, better not even think, if you are not prepared to act” and “There can be no wise politics without thought beforehand”. These quotes speak to the climate of the day. The 21st century brings us mindless babble on much of the internet and forethought of many politicians is mired in the quest for power, greed and the insane belief that only their religion is the truth. Besant’s legacy includes the Besant Hill School, in Ojai CA. Classes are taught using the Socratic method, a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presumptions.

  • Eleanor Roosevelt

    Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962) was First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, during FDR’s presidency. She was also a staunch advocate for human, workers and civil rights. As a delegate to the UN General Assembly Eleanor played a key role in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She was also a intimately involved in John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Commission on the status of women. Her words “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” can give us encouragement to make our lives our dreams. Eleanor also worked with the Red Cross during World War One and is ranked among the most influential people of the twentieth century. “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts” gives one insight into her commitment and creativity in crafting way to help others.

  • Kofi Annan

    Kofi Annan (1938 – ) grew up in a family of traditional chiefs, in Ghana. In 2001, as Secretary General of the United Nations, he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Annan worked for peace, security, human rights, rule of law, equality, tolerance, human dignity, HIV/AIDS and against the global terrorist threat. His actions were so effective that he served two terms, 1997 to 2006. With a stance that, “We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race”, one can understand why Kofi Annan was such a dynamic and powerful leader. In his final speech, as Secretary General, Annan warned that “no nation can make itself secure by seeking supremacy over all others”, words worth considering, in a world that becomes more dangerous every day.

  • Akbar The Great

    Akbar The Great (1542 – 1605) was the greatest of the Mughal emperors, creating an empire across India, promoting religious tolerance, culture and the arts. Akbar displayed a great interest in a wide variety of cultural, artistic, religious and philosophical ideas. Akbar, although a Muslim, took an active interest in other religions. “From reasons for auspiciousness, and as an opportunity for bestowing presents upon the poor, his majesty [Akbar] is weighed twice a year. Various articles are put in the scales.” – Abul Fazl, Ain-i-Akbari’s c. 1590 quote refers to practice of weighing Emperor Akhabr twice yearly, with gold and silver used to balance the scales. The gold and silver were then distributed to the needy. Akbar’s words “Learning is a plant that grows in all climes” survives the test of time.

  • Saint Teresa

    Saint Teresa of Ávila (1515 – 1582) Spanish mystic and poet, Saint Teresa, helped revitalize religious life in Spain, despite the Inquisition and patriarchal nature of society. In a time of abject cruelty she inspired others with words such as, “Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul” and “To have courage for whatever comes in life – everything lies in that.” In a period prior to The Age of Enlightenment and Reason there was exploration as well as great political, social, and religious upheaval. It was the 16th century, a time of turmoil and some reform.

  • Rudolf Steiner

    Rudolf Steiner (1861 – 1925) was a philosopher, social reformer, architect and esotericist. Famous for writing The Philosophy of Freedom, Waldorf education, biodynamic agriculture, and anthroposophical medicine, which includes massage, exercise, counseling, and healing substances, similar to those used in homeopathy. The effects of his approach resonate in current practices. This quote, “If we do not believe within ourselves this deeply rooted feeling that there is something higher than ourselves, we shall never find the strength to evolve into something higher”, shows the basis of Steiner’s greatness and is an inspiration for all, no matter what faith we follow.

  • Swami Vivekananda

    Swami Vivekananda (1863 – 1902) was a Hindu monk who is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century. He also introduced yoga and Vedanta philosophy in the West. Vivekananda, an influential speaker at the 1893 World Parliament of Religions, advocated religious tolerance and unity with statements such as, “Where can we go to find God if we cannot see Him in our own hearts and in every living being”. He also encouraged the education of women, meditation, selfless service and ending the caste system. Swami Vivekananda was a true visionary, advocating a doctrine that will take many decades to even mildly embrace.

  • Albert Einstein

    Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) Einstein’s theories of relativity were a very significant scientific breakthrough. Einstein was also a champion of human rights, considering racism America’s worst disease. He campaigned for a more peaceful world, stating “I do not know how the third World War will be fought, but I can tell you what they will use in the Fourth—rocks!” and “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” Although he is regarded as one of the most brilliant mathematical physicists of the century, Einstein thought of himself as much as a philosopher as a scientist. He was a compassionate humanitarian with a deep moral sense who changed the way we looked at each other and ourselves. His concern for mankind is reflected in his philosophical views and social activism. With this in mind the Albert Einstein Medical Center bares his name.

  • Thomas Paine

    Thomas Paine (1737 – 1809) an influential thinker, writer and philosopher, was a key figure in the French and American revolutions. Paine embodied the spirit of the Enlightenment, a period in late 17th to early 18th century, where philosophers, scientists and thinkers advocated new ideas based on reason. The Age of Enlightenment was a time of declining monarchies, a reduction in the preeminence of the Church and a rise of modern political ideologies, such as liberalism, republicanism and greater independence of thought. Paine’s words “A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody” surely applies today. In a time of global warming, constant war and abject cruelty, caused by 50% of the worlds wealth in the hands of the 1%, we are all charged with bringing a True Age of Enlightenment – Join In!

  • Gangaji

    Gangaji (1942 – ) holds that the truth of who you are is already free and at peace, which can be realized simply by ending one’s search. “Trust yourself. At the root, at the core, there is pure sanity, pure openness. Don’t trust what you have been taught, what you think, what you believe, what you hope. Deeper than that, trust the silence of your being.” These words are crucial if humanity is to actually embrace a True Age of Enlightenment. Inside human beings is the quiet voice of truth, so desperately needed to reverse the trend of social and environmental degradation. As individuals, if we can tap into this truth and band together in compassion the tide can turn. The Gangaji Foundation serves the truth of universal consciousness, and the potential for the individual and collective recognition of peace inherent in the core of all beings.

  • Lech Walesa

    Lech Walesa (1943 -) grew up in Communist Poland, in 1970 a workers union leader, 1976 fired by state, 1978 organized first non-communist trade union, 1980 national leader independent trade union movement, spearheading Solidarity strikes and placed under house arrest. Gorbachev enters scene, Lech Walesa awarded Nobel Peace Prize, Polish Pope John Paul II adds supports, Berlin Wall falls and Walesa elected President! An amazing defense of rights, dignity and freedom. His words, “The thing that lies at the foundation of positive change, the way I see it, is service to a fellow human being” live on. In 2004, the Gdańsk international airport was officially renamed Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport to commemorate their famous citizen. He has written about how faith that good would triumph over evil sustained him when the chances of success seemed slim.

  • Leo Tolstoy

    Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910) was the influential Russian author of “War and Peace”. His philosophy of non-violence and a rural simplicity inspired Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Army life led to deep regret and a pacifist stance. Disenchanted with materialism he had great sympathy for peasants, poor, downtrodden, serving them and humanity. Tolstoy’s words, “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity by contributing to the establishment of the kingdom of God, which can only be done by the recognition and profession of the truth by every man”, displays the depth and breadth of his kind and compassionate heart.  For many Tolstoy is the godfather of non-violent resistance, as his influence extends far beyond the field of literature, going directly into the hearts and minds of those who read his works and choose to make a difference.

  • Sojourner Truth

    Sojourner Truth (1797 – 1883) was an African-American abolitionist and women’s rights campaigner. In 1851, she gave a famous extemporaneous speech “Ain’t I a woman?” which supported equal rights for blacks and women. She was deeply religious and felt a calling from God to travel America speaking on slavery and other contemporary issues. “The Spirit calls me, and I must go.” Sojourner Truth put her reputation to work during the Civil War. She helped to recruit black troops for the Union Army. And she encouraged her grandson, James Caldwell, to enlist in the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. In 1864, Truth was called to Washington D.C., to contribute to the National Freedman’s Relief Association. On at least one occasion, she met and spoke with President Abraham Lincoln regarding her beliefs and her experience.

  • Helen Keller

    Helen Keller (1880 – 1968) Despite her condition of both deafness and blindness, she learned to read and write, becoming a champion of social issues and helping to improve the welfare of deaf people. A prolific author, Keller was well-traveled and outspoken in her convictions. A member of the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World, she campaigned for women’s suffrage, labor rights, socialism, anti-militarism, and other similar causes. “Once I knew the depth where no hope was, and darkness lay on the face of all things. Then love came and set my soul free. Once I knew only darkness and stillness. Now I know hope and joy.” In an age of monumental challenges my we embody her words “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”.

  • Rumi

    Rumi (1207 – 1273) was a Muslim poet and Sufi mystic. His mystical poetry of love and the deeper meaning of life has universal appeal, making him one of the most celebrated poets of the day. Through his poetry, Rumi expressed his philosophy of tolerance of all religious beliefs, the importance of goodness and charity, the belief in reincarnation and the souls evolution. “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy” offers us a deep foundation. His words, “Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom” helps us understand and emulate the great ones who have brought social change from suffering. As the world reels from fires, floods, drought and hurricanes will we listen and create a True Age of Enlightenment or fester in self absorption?

  • Sri Chinmoy

    Sri Chinmoy (1931 – 2007) was an Indian spiritual teacher who advocated meditation and selfless service as a path to inner and outer peace. His philosophy combined Eastern mysticism with Western dynamism. Sri Chinmoy’s Oneness-Home Peace Run, a world-wide relay run, promotes greater friendship and understanding. “Our path is basically the path of the heart and not the path of the mind.” Sri Chinmoy employed many forms of the written and spoken word, including poetry, essays, lectures, aphorisms, questions and answers, stories and plays.  He once said “Poetry is the short-cut to reach the subtle and tangible Goal of goals—Delight infinite. A poem starts in streaming tears and ends in soaring smiles.”  More words of wisdom include statements such as “Unless and until you have developed a heart inundated with compassion, do not sit on the seat of judgement.“

  • Mr. Rogers

    Fred Rogers (1928 – 2003) of the preschool television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, was the creator, host, composer, producer and head writer of the show. Fred was also a musician, puppeteer and Presbyterian minister. Mr. Rogers was an exceptionally kind, sweet, neighborly kinda guy, popular on PBS for 33 years. At the end each show Mr. Rogers would tell his audience “You’ve made this day a special day, by just your being you. There’s no person in the whole world like you; and I like you just the way you are.” During the show he would sing a song that starts like this – “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. A beautiful day for a neighbor. Could you be mine? Would you be mine? Mr. Rogers was adored by many.

  • Socrates

    Socrates (469 – 399 BC) showed the power and integrity of independent thought. He encouraged people to question their preconceptions. His method of self enquiry laid the foundations of Western Philosophic thought. Quotes such as “The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being” and “When the debate is over, slander becomes the tool of the loser” offer great meaning in today’s world. “The highest realms of thought are impossible to reach without first attaining an understanding of compassion” goes right to the core of our motivations and intentions. Socrates, unlike other great philosophers, is portrayed and remembered as a quasi-saint or religious figure. Most schools of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy chose to claim him as one of their own, but his unique brilliance stands alone.

  • Princess Diana

    Princess Diana – Diana Frances Spencer (1961 – 1997) first wife of Prince Charles, was involved in many humanitarian charities, helping destigmatize HIV/AIDS, in 1987, when many believed that AIDS could be contracted through casual contact. Diana once sat on the sickbed of a man with AIDS, holding his hand. With this simple gesture she showed the world that people with AIDS deserve not isolation, but compassion and kindness. “Only do what your heart tells you” fueled her actions. Princess Diana’s legacy of kindness was born not out of the royal family’s tradition of philanthropic work but of her sincere desire to help. Prime Minister Tony Blair called her “the people’s princess”. “I think the biggest disease this world suffers from in this day and age is the disease of people feeling unloved,” rings true as 50% of the world barely survive on $2 a day, and most turn the other way.

  • Sri Aurobindo

    Sri Aurobindo (1872 – 1950) was an Indian leader who later retired from politics to devote his life to yoga, spirituality and poetry. Aurobindo was among the first to call for independence – “Do not belong to the past dawns, but to the noons of future”. Falsely accused of a bombing plot he landed in jail and underwent a profound spiritual experience. Later acquitted, he became a prolific writer of some of the most detailed and comprehensive discourses on spiritual evolution, leading the way for millions. Sri Aurobindo’s concept of the Integral Yoga system is described in his books, The Synthesis of Yoga and The Life Divine. Sri Aurobindo’s quote, “The meeting of man and God must always mean a penetration and entry of the divine into the human and a self-emergence of man in the Divinity” describes an experience had by followers of various religions.

  • Bishop Desmond Tutu

    Bishop Desmond Tutu (1931 – ) the moral conscience of South Africa, helped heal wounds after apartheid ended, through the Truth and Reconciliation committee. Sharing a commitment of “Without forgiveness, there’s no future” and “Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity” Desmond Toto galvanized wide spread support. 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Tutu promoted forgiveness and reconciliation, stating “Real justice is not about retribution but seeking to illumine and enable people to move forward”. Desmond Tutu’s influence began in 1975 as the first black Anglican Dean of Johannesburg, providing the platform to become one of the most powerful opponents of apartheid. In 1985, Tutu became the first black Archbishop of Cape Town. In a large part, through his eloquent speech, wisdom, unfailing optimism, hope and faith, in 1994, South African apartheid came to an end.

  • Benazir Bhutto

    Benazir Bhutto (1953 – 2007) was the first women elected to lead a Muslim state, serving as Prime Minister of Pakistan. In 1981 subjected to solitary confinement for a progressive stance, later stating “We gather together to celebrate freedom, to celebrate democracy, to celebrate the three most beautiful words in the English language – We the People.” Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in 2007, widely believed to be instigated by those in power. Bhutto was fearless. She had an unshakable belief that Pakistan should embrace the modern world with the same confidence and courage that she had. She believed in democracy, freedom and openness – not as slogans but as a way of life. She lives on as the most potent Pakistani voice for liberalism, tolerance and change.

  • Abraham Lincoln

    Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) overcame many setbacks to become America’s most influential President. In the Gettysburg Address, he inspired the nation with the words, “All men are created equal” and played a key role in passage of the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery in America. Sadly, as many who stand up for compassion and equality, Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. “A house divided against itself cannot stand” makes one wonder about the future of America. Because he was committed to preserving the Union and vindicating democracy no matter what the consequences to himself, the Union was saved. Because he understood that ending slavery required patience, careful timing, shrewd calculations, and an iron resolve, slavery ended.

  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 – 1945) FDR, the 32nd U.S. President, served through the Great Depression and WW II. Like many great ones he endured amazing pain, FDR had a crippling case of polio. Via Fireside Chats, and words such as “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”, FDR was able to inspire a similar level of courage in Americans, overcoming both the Depression and WW ll. The 1933 Emergency Banking Act, FDIC, New Deal, Social Security and Fair Labor Standards Act are among his social accomplishments. His statement, “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people” is a wake up call for the world.

  • Susan B. Anthony

    Susan B. Anthony (1820 – 1906) was an American anti-slavery, suffragist and campaigner for women’s equal rights. Anthony played a significant role in women gaining the vote in the US. Her quote says it all “Where, under our Declaration of Independence, does the Saxon man get his power to deprive all women and Negroes of their inalienable rights?” This same question can be asked today. In 100 plus years how far have we actually progressed? Anthony never married, putting her heart and soul into her activism. She was both aggressive and compassionate by nature, with a keen mind and an ability to inspire others. Her organizational genius was legendary. The canvassing plan she created is still used by grassroots organizations.

  • Harriet Beecher Stowe

    Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811 – 1896) was a writer and anti-slavery campaigner. She is best known for her book ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’, a vivid depiction of slavery, its human cost and was influential in shaping public opinion about slavery, in the period leading up to the American civil war. The book reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and Great Britain, energizing anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the South. Her words, “Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn” and “Any mind that is capable of a real sorrow is capable of good.”, can offer strength in a time where many ignore the world condition, as they believe it only leads to despair.

  • John F. Kennedy

    John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963) oversaw the Cuban Missile Crisis, worked for basic human rights, reducing poverty, eliminating racism, greater internationalism and considered pulling out of Vietnam, just before being assassinated on 11/22/63 – a tragic death that shocked America and the world. The Defense Dept. Vietnam war cost, over 800 billion in today’s dollars, has caused many to look to war profiteering as the source of his assassination. His words, “Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind” must be the cry, as today only 11 countries in the world are free from war and conflict. JFK, a charismatic leader, was a symbol of purpose and hope. Kennedy hoped to end racial segregation, proposed a voting-rights bill and federal programs to provide health care to the elderly and the poor. Most of these bills became law after his death.

  • Bob Marley

    Bob Marley (1945 – 1981) a Jamaican singer-songwriter, musician and guitarist mixed reggae, ska and rocksteady, with a spirit of love, supporting human rights and achieving worldwide adoration. Together with his band, the Wailers, and later in a solo career, Bob’s music and spirit is eternal. “Better to die fighting for freedom than be a prisoner all the days of your life” and “Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?” are only a few of Bob’s powerful statements of defiance and self reflection. In 1978 Marley was awarded the United Nations Peace Medal of the Third World. “One Love” was named song of the millennium by the BBC. “Most people think great god will come from the skies, take away everything, and make everybody feel high. But if you know what life is worth, you will look for yours on earth” – Get Up, Stand Up.

  • Florence Nightingale

    Florence Nightingale (1820 – 1910) the founder of modern nursing, helped to revolutionize the treatment of patients after her experience of treating wounded soldiers in the Crimean war. She also helped improve the standard and prestige of the nursing profession and recognized that only with knowledge and skill could she help improve public health. Showing great courage and determination, she followed her calling. Words such as, “I think one’s feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results” inspired thousands. Her voice was strong and she served as an effective advocate on a number of important health issues, particularly for trained nursing and preventive health care through proper hygiene. She could be extremely persuasive and through her contacts in the government, she influenced public policy and achieved positive health care reforms.

  • Mikhail Gorbachev

    Mikhail Gorbachev (1931 – ) had the courage, tenacity and strength of character to give up absolute power of Soviet Communism. An attitude and stance of “Surely, God on high has not refused to give us enough wisdom to find ways to bring us an improvement in relations between the two great nations on earth” moved the Soviet Union towards democracy, human rights, brought down the Berlin Wall and freedom to Eastern Europe. Gorbachev is c ritical of Putin for backsliding on democracy and corruption and calls for a restructuring of societies around the world, starting with the US, because the economic model is a failure that will sooner or later have to be replaced. He was co-chair of Earth Charter, a declaration of fundamental values and principles for a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century, demonstrating never ending dedication for improvement in the human condition.

  • Marie Curie

    Marie Curie (1867 – 1934) Marie Curie was awarded a Nobel Prize for both Chemistry and Physics. Her discoveries with radiation and philosophy of “All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child” helped advance medical science. Her achievements were even more remarkable at a time when few women were allowed the opportunity for higher education. She was also the first female professor at the University of Paris. Marie Curie’s words “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less” rings true today, as humanity faces it’s greatest challenges.  May we join together and create a True Age of Enlightenment.

  • Nelson Mandela

    Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013) campaigned for justice and freedom in South Africa. In 1962, as leader of the armed wing of the African National Congress, Mendela led a sabotage campaign against the government. After 27 years in prison, for opposing apartheid, global pressure secured his release and he proceeded to heal the wounds of apartheid by a magnanimous attitude towards former political enemies. Mandela’s words, attitude and actions offer us courage as we face an uncertain future. “Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learned how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” Mandela is a symbol of what one can achieve with true dedication to a cause, he is among other freedom fighters, including Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Joan of Arc

    Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431) The patron saint of France, Joan of Arc inspired a French revolt against the occupation of the English. “I am not afraid… I was born to do this” she states. An unlikely hero, at the age of just 17, the diminutive Joan successfully led the French to victory at Orleans. Her later English trial and martyrdom only heightened her mystique, in 1920 Joan was declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. Joan’s words “Act, and God will act” help us understand how actions based on goodness and compassion can encourage or attract synchronistic events and outcomes, being in touch with spirit one might say. In a time when thousands of years of injustices and atrocities towards women come to a head may women everywhere look to Joan of Arc for the strength that resides within and embrace the role of Mother Earth Goddess, helping to save all species and the environment.

  • Wangari Maathai

    Wangari Maathai (1940 – 2011 ) was a Kenyan environmentalist, pro-democracy activist and women’s rights campaigner. She was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, for efforts to prevent conflict through protection of scarce resources and contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace. Her perspective and commitment. “We need to promote development that does not destroy our environment”, lies at the foundation of sustainability. The special qualities of her personality and vision; the lessons she took from her experiences; and the fortitude she displayed in speaking truth to power make Maathai a truly exceptional human being. Throughout the world, she is remembered for her unwavering commitment to the global environment and the most marginalized people, particularly women.

  • U Thant

    U Thant (1909 – 1974) a Burmese diplomat and UN Secretary-General, played a crucial role in diffusing the Cuban Missile Crisis and was widely respected for his calmness, detachment and commitment, frequently needed during the turbulent years from 1961 to 1971. His quiet Buddhist faith was reflected in the words, “Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves. This, as the sages of many lands have taught us, is a golden rule in individual and group, as well as international, relations.” In his memory, Sri Chinmoy, the leader of the UN Meditation Group founded by Thant, established the U Thant Peace Award which acknowledges and honors individuals and organizations for distinguished accomplishments toward the attainment of world peace.

  • Laozi

    Laozi (Lao Tsu) (c 571 BC) was a Chinese philosopher and poet. He was the author of the Tao Te Ching and the founder of philosophical Taoism. Timeless words of wisdom such as, “Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.” and “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” provides one with a delightful taste of the knowledge garnered by meditating on words in the Tao Te Ching. “Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being. Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are. Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world.” These words lay the groundwork for the great society we so aspire to, but has been so elusive.

  • Thich Naht Hanh

    Thich Naht Hanh (1926 – ) is a Vietnamese monk who inspired the movement of engaged Buddhism, bringing practical Buddhist wisdom into daily life, helping countless seekers develop inner peace and happiness. Hanh is a prominent peace activist, writing extensively on incorporating Buddhist teachings into everyday life. The sweetness of his approach is obvious in these words, “We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the Earth. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” When in conflict with others may his words cause pause, “When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help”. FDR, Mendela and Desmond Toto embraced these words and humanity took a step forward, look to compassionate leaders to turn the tide.

  • St Francis of Assisi

    Saint Francis of Assisi (1182 – 1226) devoted his life to poverty, chastity and living the truth of the Gospels. He successfully persuaded the Pope to allow the creation of a new religious order, the Franciscans, devoted to the spirit of the gospels. His famous prayer, beginning with “Lord, make me an Instrument of Thy Peace”, if followed, results in an enlightened self. In a time where the survival of all species lies in the balance St. Francis’s words, “Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible” can instill greatness in our thoughts, actions and deeds. “Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that have received, only what you have given” and St. Francis helps us do what is required for the shift.

  • Mahatma Gandhi

     Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948) was a prominent Indian political leader who campaigned for independence from England. He employed non-violent principles and peaceful disobedience, stating and living by “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”. Gandhi was assassinated in 1948, shortly after Indian independence. In India, he is known as the Father of the Nation. Today Gandhi is viewed as an active leader and role-model. Gandhi taught people many things like non-violence, simplicity, love, and determination. Gandhi’s legacy was very important in history. In America Gandhi influenced two of the major events in history, the civil rights struggle for African Americans and Cesar Chavez’ advocacy for Latino farm workers.

  • Malala Yousafzai

    Malala Yousafzai (1997 – ) As a Pakistani schoolgirl Malala defied threats of the Taliban and campaigned for the right to education. She survived a shot in the head by the Taliban, for simply going to school, and became a global advocate for human rights, women’s rights and the right to education. Given numerous peace awards, in 2014, she also received the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala words that “I don’t know why, but hearing I was being targeted did not worry me. It seemed to me that everybody knows they will die one day” leaves one breathless for her amazing courage. Statements such as “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful” speak to a foundation of wisdom way, way beyond her years. “Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality” reminds us We Can Turn The Tide.

  • 14th Dalai Lama

    14th Dalai Lama (1935 – ) leader of Tibetans both politically and spiritually, teaches the importance of loving kindness and practical Buddhism – mindfulness practice, ethics and morality. Statements such as “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive” demonstrates his gentle and powerful approach. His legacy will live on in in a very intimate way for the tens of thousands of exiled Tibetans and those captive in their native home. The Dalai Lama has three main commitments. – Promotion of human values such as compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline. – Advancement of religious harmony and understanding among the world’s major religious traditions. – Work to preserve Tibet’s Buddhist culture, which is a culture of peace and non-violence and protect the natural environment of Tibet.

  • John Lennon

    John Lennon (1940 – 1980) was a widely loved and respected member of the Beatles. In 1971 Lennon released – “Imagine all the people living life in peace, you – You may say I’m a dreamer – But I’m not the only one – I hope some day you’ll join us – And the world will be as one”. “Imagine” released during the Vietnam War, in 1971, as anti-war sentiments skyrocketed in the U.S., the song was a powerful statement of unity and peace, successfully capturing the mood of many at the time. This and other peace song lyrics such as “All we are saying is give peace a chance” live on, and will forever. Blessings to another fallen soldier who simply spoke peace, an affront to the military industrial complex and the forces of power and greed.

  • Sri Krishna

    Sri Krishna (34th Century BC) – Within Hinduism, Krishna is recognized as an Avatar, or incarnate divine teacher, of Vishnu, a principal deity of Hinduism, and Supreme Being in its Vaishnavism tradition. Vishnu is the “preserver” in Hindu trinity that includes Brahma (the creator of the universe) and Shiva (the destroyer). Krishna’s teachings to Arjuna form the basis of the Bhagavad Gita, considered one of the most sacred texts of Hinduism. To some Krishna is lover, statesman, politician, warrior, sage, friend, dancer, artist and pacifist. To others Krishna is the existence and life itself. When he was asked by Arjun as to who he was, he chose to equate himself to everything in the creation. “I am All”, he said! This statement does not make Hinduism “Right”, or the only path, as making ones religion Right, and others Wrong, only leads to Constant War.

  • Jesus Christ

    Jesus Christ (c .5BC – 30AD) was the inspiration for Christianity and a religious leader. Most Christians believe him the incarnation of God the Son. Jesus taught a message of love and forgiveness. Born in period of Roman rule, after crucifixion, his message inspired millions. His words “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust”, are timeless and deeply profound. These statements do not make Christianity “Right”, or the only path, as making ones religion Right, and others Wrong, only leads to Constant War.

  • Buddha

    Buddha (c 560BC – c 460BC) Siddharta the Buddha attained nirvana after years of meditation, then spent many years teaching his philosophy of enlightenment. His teachings led to the creation of Buddhism. His Four Nobel Truths are – suffering exists, due to attachments, letting go leads to, peace and joy. The Eightfold Path, said to be the path to nirvana, is comprised of eight aspects in which a student or seeker practices and strives for: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. With the preceding being more or a way of life, than religious doctrine, many look at Buddhism as a philosophy. Over millennia countless millions have followed the teachings of the Buddha. These statements do not make Buddhism “Right”, or the only path, as making ones path or religion Right, and others Wrong, only leads to Constant War.

  • Chief Ouray

    Chief Ouray is in this front and center position as an important and appropriate ambassador, representing indigenous cultures by being in connection with the spirit or spiritual realm. Chiefs were honored and trusted members of the tribe, usually elders, who were often charged with guiding and protecting current and future generations, via wisdom and connection to spirit. Chief Ouray, a known intellectual and skilled diplomat, negotiated treaties and attempted to avoid conflict with whites wherever possible. After the Meeker Massacre of 1879, Ouray negotiated for the return of several white hostages, helping avoid further bloodshed between whites and his people. Chief Ouray is remembered as a leader who unfailingly opted for peace in an otherwise violent and turbulent time.

  • Mother Teresa

    Mother Teresa (1910 -1997) was an Albanian Catholic nun who devoted her life to the care and service of the poor, especially in India where she founded her Missionaries of Charity. She lived in poverty to better the lives of others. Her devotion, compassion and words of commitment, “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier” inspired the lives of many thousands. Mother Teresa encouraged us to be missionaries of love.  She taught spreading love and compassion does not require big things, simply do small things with great love, one day at a time, one person at a time. Pope John Paul II said that Mother Teresa “wanted to be a sign of ‘God’s love, God’s presence and God’s compassion,’ and so remind all of the value and dignity of each of God’s children, ‘created to love and be loved.”

  • Martin Luther King

    Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968) was one of America’s most influential civil rights activists. His passionate, non violent protests, helped to raise awareness of racial inequalities in America, leading to political change. In 1968, King was assassinated, one day after delivering his final speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”, challenging the United States to live up to its ideals and sharing the possibility of his untimely death. King’s 1967 Beyond Vietnam speech accused the Johnson administration for the worsening nightmare in Vietnam, invoking images of obliterated villages and napalm burned bodies, connecting the war to wider patterns of violence, racism and poverty. King’s legacy of nonviolent protest, fighting prejudice, pursuing social justice and service to others lives on today. It’s up to us to keep his dream alive.

  • Rosa Parks

    Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005) the “Mother of Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement”, was a well-respected figurehead of the American civil rights movement. Her refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man, arrest and trial for civil disobedience, triggered the Montgomery Bus Boycott, one of the largest, most successful mass movements against racial segregation, launching Martin Luther King’s rise to power. Dr. King wrote in his 1958 book ‘Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story that Parks’ the arrest was the precipitating factor, rather than the cause, of the protest: “The cause lay deep in the record of similar injustices. Actually, no one can understand the action of Mrs. Parks unless he realizes that eventually the cup of endurance runs over, and the human personality cries out, ‘I can take it no longer.'”

  • Pope John Paul II

    Pope John Paul II (1920 – 2005) was one of the most memorable pontiffs in modern age. He lived through the centuries most turbulent times, offering a clear moral stance and direction to the Catholic Church, stating “The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being”. Whilst his message was not always welcomed, many felt him to be a man of profound faith and goodness. John Paul II’s opposition to communism is credited with helping speed the downfall of the Soviet Union and its allies in Eastern Europe. The pope’s first visit to his native Poland in 1979 drew crowds in the millions, and those in attendance were emboldened to challenge their government. John Paul II also interjected himself into other international disputes.

  • Confucius

    Confucius (551- 479 BC) was a Chinese philosopher and author of timeless sayings, shaped Chinese culture, writing about family, loyalty, virtue and respect of elders. His philosophy created Confucianism, with suggestions such as “When you see a good person, think of becoming like her/him. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points”, could be contemplated for a lifetime. Confucius’ education included studying ritual under a Taoist master, and also music. By middle age Confucius was already teaching others. Confucius quotes on compassion include “Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men” and “Not feeling compassion for a stranger is like not feeling when one’s foot has caught fire”.

  • Jane Goodall

    Jane Goodall (1934 – ) is a groundbreaking researcher in chimpanzee behavior. An activist for environmental protection and kindness to animals she embodies the words “The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.“ For her compassionate work Goodall was awarded title UN Messenger of Peace. The Jane Goodall Institute works with communities living in or near chimpanzee habitat to launch alternative, sustainable livelihood projects that improve their incomes and capacity to take care of natural resources. In typical positive manner Goodall says “It is these undeniable qualities of human love and compassion and self-sacrifice that give me hope for the future. We are, indeed, often cruel and evil. Nobody can deny this. We gang up on each one another, we torture each other, with words as well as deeds, we fight, we kill. But we are also capable of the most noble, generous, and heroic behavior.”

  • Margaret Mead

    Margaret Mead (1901 – 1978) was an American cultural anthropologist who focused on sexual attitudes in S. Pacific and Southeast Asian traditional cultures and influenced the 60s sexual revolution. Her 1926 writings challenged widely held beliefs of racial superiority in intelligence. Mead’s words cause pause as poverty and incarceration is 13% of total U.S. population, “Never depend upon institutions or government to solve any problem. All social movements are founded by, guided by, motivated and seen through by the passion of individuals.” In 1979, President Carter posthumously honored Mead with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. UN Ambassador Andrew Young, presented the award, stating, “To a public of millions, she brought the central insight of cultural anthropology: that varying cultural patterns express an underlying human unity.”

  • Yitzhak Rabin

    Yitzhak Rabin (1922 – 1995) was an Israeli statesman who, as prime minister of Israel (1974–77 and 1992–95), led Israel toward peace with Palestinian and Arab neighbors. Along with Shimon Peres, his foreign minister, and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chairman Yasser Arafat, Rabin received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1994. The first Palestinian uprising, against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, convinced Rabin of the failure of hard-line policies to quell uprisings and encouraged him to engage politically with Palestinians.

Concept and Design: Bob Daley            Digital Artwork: StudioKind