They say each new generation offers man another chance. And there you are, our new generation; our hope for the future. Why are you our hope for the future? Because you have purity of heart, which so often time and age has obscured in us. But also, you have the knowledge today, which we did not. [...] Until now, until this time of unprecedented change, a time when all the world is finally aware of the fragility of our beautiful planet, of our need for each other, of the needs of our children, of our need for you.
Perhaps the day will come when we will free our children from wars and civil strife by not teaching them intolerance and hatred. You are the first generation that has the technical scientific knowledge and the means to provide children everywhere with their God-given right to survival, protection and development.
Today it’s no longer a matter of ignorance, nor politics, nor economics,
but of human will and love.
Last week I noticed a link on one of the many Audrey Hepburn Facebook pages that led to the most marvelous little piece: an audio recording of an address Audrey gave to the Academy of Achievement at the United Nations on June 29, 1991. A large part of the legacy Audrey left behind, and what exceeds in illuminating her true character beyond the characters she played onscreen, was her dedicated work as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. This we all know, and the photos that survived from her trips speak volumes, but I don’t think anything could quite relay her passion for the work she did quite like this particular speech. The earnestness in her voice quite literally drove me to tears – inspiring tears, and sincerely motivating tears. I think that’s the most accurate way to describe the woman behind the iconic name, the iconic face: she was, and continues to be, a true motivating force. I often think that part of the reason why learning and being cultured is a big part of my life has to do with Audrey; because she worked so hard for all children – those from poverty, as well as those from every form and foundation of life – so that they could have the opportunity to grow and nurture their individual tastes, to explore the world fully. And I think part of her prayer was that society wouldn’t allow the children to squander that gift. She herself was robbed of a lot of things in her youth, things that were important enough to her that she pursued them later, when the war was over and she was able. In that way she saw the simple things in a different way, she saw how meaningful they were, and she wanted future generations to see it, too.
The above quotes are just a few of my favorite passages from the address. If you have iTunes (which you can get for free right here) you can download the audio recording for free right here. And I highly recommend it.
Images via Google