Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr. : An American Idealist For The World

Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr. was born November 9, 1915 and died January 18, 2011.

Robert Sargent Shriver & John F. Kennedy

Here’s a brief bio from his website:

As the head of the Chicago School Board and the Catholic Inter-racial Council in the late 1950s, Shriver addressed America’s racial conflict by leading successful efforts to integrate Chicago’s public and parochial school systems.

As a senior official in the Kennedy Administration, Shriver created the Peace Corps in response to the global conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union in the Cold War – a program that builds peace and friendship by sending Americans to work for human dignity and human welfare in the third world.

As Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity in the Johnson Administration in the mid 1960s, Shriver developed a multi-faceted War on Poverty designed to transform the economic and social roots of the conflict over civil rights in America. Like the Peace Corps, the programs of the War on Poverty – including Head Start, Job Corps, VISTA, Community Action Program, Legal Services to the Poor, and Foster Grandparents – continue to serve Americans today.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Shriver addressed the inter-religious tensions at the heart of the conflict in the Middle East by convening, for over five years, the first official Trialog of the Abrahamic faiths since the Moors ruled medieval Spain. 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 U.S. foreign policy officials and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In the 1980s and 1990s, as Chairman of the Board of Special Olympics International, Sargent Shriver joined with his wife and son, Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Timothy Perry Shriver, to transform the roots of violence and discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities by promoting Special Olympics Games throughout the world.

The purpose of the Peace Corps is to permit Americans to participate directly, personally and effectively, in this struggle for human dignity. A world community is struggling to be born. America must be present at that birth, helping to make it successful.


Our volunteers must go with a true spirit of humility, seeking to learn as well as to teach. If they go in this spirit, America will gain most.


And our greatest gain will be measured in the lives of the Volunteers. They will, as President Kennedy has said, ‘be enriched by the experience of living and working in foreign lands…they will return better able to assume the responsibilities of American citizenship and with greater understanding of our global responsibilities.”




JUNE 4, 1961 


Growing up, it seemed the name Sargent Shriver was always on the news. At the time I did not realize what a remarkable individual was beaming into our living room on the television.

Sharing his philosophy and passion, Sargent Shriver was unyielding in his tone and dedication to help those in the world who needed help.  Being a devout Catholic, he helped everyone with a religion or without one.

His driving passion was people.  People of the world mattered to him.

At 95 he says goodbye to this planet traversing the cosmos.  His legacy will live on in this world because it’s a legacy of care and compassion.

On this 19th day of January, we could use more men and women with the spirit of Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr. Just imagine the world with this gentle spirit of a great man who worked unselfishly to better his community, city, state, country and world.

May this spirit live on in us.  The world is in desperate need of a helping hand today.

What will you do to keep the work of Sargent Shriver alive?  Peace is not an elusive dream if we work together to achieve it.

Sharing a tin cup of water with a thirsty traveller on this planet is an opportunity to reduce prejudice and hatred.  How can you hate a fellow brother and sister if you are sharing what you have with them?

Life is precious.  We should treasure it every moment.

G. D. Williams       © 2011