In a global society of more than seven billion people you may think that your voice is insignificant. Not so says, Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. Mr. Gorbachev spoke to an audience of about 600 students, alum, faculty, and supporters at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois on April 21, 2012. In his presentation he said that we all are capable of making positive changes in the world. In fact, he says, we all must speak up and take action on behalf of world peace and justice.

Gorbachev comes from a modest farming background and yet is credited with instigating political and economic reform in his country through perestroika (government restructuring) and glasnost (political openness). His leadership contributed to the end of the Cold War and he received the Nobel Peace prize in 1990.

Gorbachev urged the audience to value and respect freedom and human dignity above all else. He sees consumerism and the limitation of natural resources, especially the short supply of quality drinking water and proper sanitation for millions of people across the globe, as points of contention with the potential of serious repercussions. He also said the elimination of all arms for all nations is imperative and the only means to world peace.

Thousands of people are following Gorbachev’s urge to speak up and take action this week in conjunction with the NATO summit. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, better known as NATO, brings heads of states together in the name of global stability. More than 50 world leaders and their defense and foreign ministers, along with their top advisers,thousands of journalists, and several thousand protesters are gathering in the city of Chicago for the NATO summit on May 20-21, 2012. Summit topics include the unrest in the Middle East. Focus is on Afghanistan in regards to military support as well as ensuring the Alliance’s capabilities to defend its population and strengthening NATO’s partnership.

You can stay informed by following coverage from credible news sources. You also might pray for world peace like your life depends upon it.

©Mary K. Doyle

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