On December 26, 1983, as a young spokesperson for peace, Samantha
addressed the Childrenís Symposium on the Year 2001 held in Kobe,
tour of Japan >>
"I have to begin with an
apology. My father helped me with my speech and look -- I discovered that
he doesnít know a single word of Japanese!
Luckily, I have learned
some of your language. Since I got here, I have been trying to learn as
much as possible. So let me begin by saying Nihon no minasan Konnichiwa
(Hello Everybody in Japan).
. . . Until last April, I had never traveled outside
the eastern United States, I had never even heard of sushi!
Then, because I had
written a letter to Yuri Andropov, I found myself In Moscow, Leningrad, and
at a beautiful camp on the Black Sea near Yalta. I was on airplanes that
took me over many foreign countries. After my trip to Russia -- which
actually should be called the Soviet Union Ė- I came back to the same school
and the same teachers and the same kids in Manchester, Maine. I didnít
think I had changed at all, but, boy, had they changed! . . .
But, today, we are not
here to look back on the summer or to look backward at all. We are here to
look ahead. I spent the last several weeks picturing myself in the Year
2001, and thought of all the things that I would like the world to be
eighteen years from today.
First of all, I donít
want to have these freckles anymore, and I want this tooth straightened, and
I hope I like the idea of being almost thirty. Maybe itís because I have
traveled a lot and maybe itís because Iíve met so many wonderful people who
look a little different from the way I look Ė maybe their skin, or their
eyes, or their language is not like mine Ė but I can picture them becoming
my best friends. . . Maybe itís because of these things that I think the
year 2001 and the years that follow are going to be just great.
. . .
What I wish for is
something Iíll call the International Granddaughter Exchange. I guess if I
were a boy, Iíd call it the International Grandson Exchange. But Iím not a
boy, so Iíll stick with granddaughter. The International Granddaughter
Exchange would have the highest political leaders in nations all over the
world sending their granddaughters or nieces Ė (or, okay, grandsons and
nephews) Ė- to live with families of opposite nations. Soviet leadersí
granddaughters would spend two weeks in America. American leadersí
granddaughters would spend two weeks in the Soviet Union. And, wherever
possible, granddaughters of other opposing countries would exchange visits
and we would have better understanding all over the world.
And now I will try my
wish in Japanese: Sekaiju ni heiwa ga kimasu yo mi (I wish for the
world peace and understanding).
Last summer, I had the
amazing chance to visit the beautiful and awesome Soviet Union. I loved
making friends with those girls and boys, and I think they enjoyed meeting
an American kid. Letís keep doing it! Letís find a way to get some of
those girls and boys to visit Japan, and America, and China, and Peru. And
letís find a way for you to visit Soviet kids and American kids, kids who
canít speak a word of Japanese Ė- even kids who drive in American cars.
If we start with an
International Granddaughter Exchange and keep expanding it and expanding it,
then the year 2001 can be the year when all of us can look around and see
only friends, no opposite nations, no enemies, and no bombs.
My grandparents are not
important political leaders. In fact, one grandfather of mine was a doctor
and one is a retired minister. But Iíve had the privilege of being an
international granddaughter, and let me tell you that it is one terrific
experience. . . .
My father, who is back in
Maine, didnít help with the end of my speech, so heíll probably be surprised
when I say, Why donít you all come back home with me and meet my friends
Thank you for your
attention. Domo arigato gozai mashita."
Note: This is a slightly edited version of the speech as found in the book
"In Our Own Words: Extraordinary Speeches of the
Doris Kearns Goodwin
speech can also be found in
"The Book of Great American Speeches for Young People"