What does it mean to be a global citizen? Sargent Shriver can help us answer this question. Sarge loved America and defended the principles on which the country was founded. At the same time, he embraced his connection to all of humanity. His respect for all people, his desire that all should be treated with dignity, and his willingness to lead with these values, is what made him a global citizen.
How did Sarge exercise his global citizenship? As the first Director of the Peace Corps, he fostered relationships between the US and developing countries, making it possible for Americans to collaborate in communities around the world to solve local problems. As US Ambassador to France, he represented the United States in Europe during the late 1960s, the Vietnam era and a challenging period for the US. In the 1970s and 1980s, Sarge addressed the inter-religious tensions at the heart of the conflict in the Middle East by convening a Trialogue of the Abrahamic faiths, which brought together Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders to exert their influence on the peace process. During this same era, he also addressed domestic and global tensions over America's escalating nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union by securing affirmation of a No First Strike policy by senior US foreign policy officials and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Last but not least, Sarge's influence as a global citizen is evident in his work as President and Chairman at Special Olympics. He supported the growth of this worldwide organization by helping it expand throughout Eastern Europe, including the Soviet Union; China; Tunisia; New Zealand; and South Korea, among other countries.
We may not all have the ability to lead international organizations. But in our interconnected world, we all have the ability to exercise our role as global citizens by protecting and defending the dignity and rights of all human beings above those of a party, a nation, or other more narrow interests.