Sunday, March 07, 2010

“The World’s Challenge to Education”

Karl Earl Mundt (June 3, 1900 – August 16, 1974) was an American educator and a Republican member of the United States Congress, representing South Dakota in the United States House of Representatives from 1938 to 1948 and in the United States Senate from 1948 to 1973. Representative Karl Mundt was a critical supporter of UNESCO and was a primary figure in urging the United States to join UNESCO. It is possible that, without his urging and support, the United States may not have joined. Mundt gave several speeches on UNESCO and the importance of joining UNESCO. These are excerpts from Mundt’s speech at the UNESCO founding meeting:
“After all, we educators have a special responsibility in this postwar era not only because we have this vast and valuable human raw material with which to work and not only because the world is more and more turning away from wars and the weapons of wars as a means of procuring proper human behavior in international affairs. Basically, we have a special responsibility to meet the great new challenge which is now ours in helping the world learn how to control the terrible new force unloosed in its midst because, I the final analysis, the atomic bomb was conceived by scientists whom our profession had educated.”

“It is not the noble pronouncements of princes and potentates which preserve the peace – it is the attitude which men have in their hearts and express in private conversations which actually count. It is to be hoped that eventually a code of international good behavior can be conceived through the operation of UNESCO so that boys and girls throughout the world may be taught the basic concepts of tolerance, justice, order, and peace-preserving international behavior. Greater by far than the dissimilarities of race, color, creed economic, governmental, and political concepts as well as geographical differences are the similarities which exist among human beings everywhere. UNESCO will strive to harness these similarities together into a great invincible phalanx which will hold at bay the future dogs of war.”(15)

“In establishing the University of Virginia, the great Thomas Jefferson selected as a motto for the institution, ‘Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free’ UNESCO is designed to help people throughout the world to learn the truth. In the final analysis the truth – better than any other single factor – can help free this world from war forever.”

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