Diane emphasized that "Literacy -- and education -- are crucial to building peace, because ignorance is a root cause of prejudice, fear and hatred." She focused on the impact of illiteracy in Pakistan and Afghanistan on our own lives in the U.S., and quoted an African proverb:
If you educate a boy, you educate an individual.
If you educate a girl, you educate a community.
Boys in these communities often grow up and leave, going to look for work or to go to war. Girls are the ones who stay in the community and raise the next generation. The greatest fear of the Taliban is not the bullet; it is the pen. And books. And girls and women who can read.
She praised the work Altrusa does with projects to promote literacy in our own community, as well as recognizing the importance of international projects. Literacy and education open up many doors for people, and give them opportunity and hope for the future. Internationally, literacy projects are key elements in building peace.
Diane reminded us of the 4-part series our International Relations committee is co-sponsoring with the Library, called "Three Cups of Tea -- building hope in Central Asia". The programs are designed to help increase awareness of how members of our own community can engage in Peace Building.
The complete text of the presentation can be read here.