On April 29, 2010 I had the opportunity to hear holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel speak at my alma mater, Cornell University. With apologies for any inaccuracies due to my scribbling notes on a scrap of paper, here are some of the highlights for me:
Progress is not due to answers to difficult questions -- there are no answers for such questions, only the beginning of answers. Rather, we need to be asking the right questions. Questions don't cause wars.
We must bear witness to atrocities, so that we can learn from them and prevent them from being repeated. As awful as it is to be blind to injustice, it is even worse to know of injustice and do nothing where humans are suffering.
We're living in an age of distrust: Distrust of the economy, financial world, politics, authority, race relations.... Only by turning to history can we learn how to regain the trust needed to move toward a more prosperous and peaceful existence.
Hatikva -- Hebrew for "hope" and the name of Israel's anthem -- is the key to progress in world peace. As described in the Book of Ezekiel, we've lost our hope. Hope is not God's gift to humankind; hope is our gift to one another.