Daniel Wordsworth: On Wonder & the Human Gift

Last night in Minneapolis, Daniel Wordsworth—President of the American Refugee Committee—reminded a packed house of 1,000 changemakers that while the attacks in Paris were an unspeakable act of inhuman violence, “We saw the people of Paris come together in a thousand acts of human kindness.”

He then told the story of asking spiritual leaders what it means to be human. A process of dialogue led to this inspired response:

First: Being a human is wondrous, but more than that, each person is a thing of wonder. Second: Each person has a unique gift, but more than that, it is in the giving of that gift to the world that we become fully human.

Wordsworth added that having worked in some of the darkest situations human beings face in this world, what he has learned, more than any other single lesson, is that “Our power to do good far outweighs the bad that exists in the world.” Though it feels out of tune at times of violence and suffering, he said, “A vast river of good will exists in the world.”

It is for this reason that tens of thousands of people will gather in Paris, at the end of this month, to cooperate in the development of a smarter, freer, more collaborative, more resilient, more just and prosperous future for humanity.

We will go to Paris in support of the people of this great city, in support of the mission to use our personal gifts, as far as we can, to do good for each other and for future generations, and to honor the hard work, wisdom and sacrifice of so many who labor every day to improve the human condition and ensure we live in the most ethical way. This is our time; this is our task; the work is not easy, and that is why we do it.


Thank you to everyone working with us through Citizens’ Climate Lobby​, the US Climate Action Network​, CAN International CliMates​, Climate Countdown​, ClimateSign, the Climate Reality​ Project, the World We Want team​, the UNFCCC​ and the whole Pathway to Paris​ coalition, for standing together for this better way forward.

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