I began with my last post highlighting women I’ve met on my peace journey who have really stepped forward to change the world. The next woman I’ve worked with that I’d like to
honor is Dr. Jane Goodall.
I first met Jane Goodall in Barcelona Spain at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Our meeting was brought about by an unexpected act of fate, but from that moment forward our friendship grew and our paths cross often.
Jane’s career began quite young when she convinced the famous Dr. Louis Leakey to let her accompany him on a journey to the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. On that trip they discovered the oldest remains of a human being and made scientific history!
From the youngest age, Jane had a passion to understand animals and in particular she had an interest in knowing more about chimpanzees. Her love for them developed after her father gave her a gift of a stuffed chimp when she was only one year old!
After her successful trip with Dr. Leakey to Tanzania, Jane convinced him to fund her on a small project to observe chimpanzees at Gombe.
Dr. Leakey supported Jane’s journey to Gombe, and in the course of a year, Jane made a series of discoveries that not only altered our understanding of animals, but also which would challenge mankind’s understanding of both creation and our relationship to our animal brothers and sisters. First and foremost, Jane discovered that Chimpanzees make and use tools, and that they create families and societies like humans. Since her discoveries at Gombe, Jane has become the world’s foremost advocate and protector of animals!
But for me, Jane’s greatest achievement has been her more recent work in empowering youth with the knowledge and tools to protect the environment and the animals through her Roots & Shoots program and to training those same young people to promote World Peace.
Jane is 82 years old, but in my entire career I have never met a more continuously active proponent for peace and sustainability. Even at 82 Jane flies continuously around the world weekly, giving speeches on world peace and planetary sustainability, counseling world leaders, and taking a stand wherever and whenever anyone challenges equality for all. Jane is the Messenger of Peace for the United Nations.
Today I honor my friend Jane and her work to create a better world. She too is my hero!