Click on the link here for Audio Player – President Kennedy Address to Students at UC Berkeley – March 23, 1962 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
On the occasion of UC Berkeley‘s 94th annual Charter Day celebration, and accepting an honorary Doctor of Law degree, President Kennedy took the opportunity to discuss the important role education played in the areas of political and intellectual leadership.
President Kennedy: “There used to be so much talk a few years ago about the inevitable triumph of communism. We hear such talk much less now. No one who examines the modern world can doubt that the great currents of history are carrying the world away from the monolithic idea towards the pluralistic idea–away from communism and towards national independence and freedom. No one can doubt that the wave of the future is not the conquest of the world by a single dogmatic creed but the liberation of the diverse energies of free nations and free men. No one can doubt that cooperation in the pursuit of knowledge must lead to freedom of the mind and freedom of the soul.
Beyond the drumfire of daily crisis, therefore, there is arising the outlines of a robust and vital world community, founded on nations secure in their own independence, and united by allegiance to world peace. It would be foolish to say that this world will be won tomorrow, or the day after. The processes of history are fitful and uncertain and aggravating. There will be frustrations and setbacks. There will be times of anxiety and gloom. The specter of thermonuclear war will continue to hang over mankind; and we must heed the advice of Oliver Wendell Holmes of “freedom leaning on her spear” until all nations are wise enough to disarm safely and effectively.
Yet we can have a new confidence today in the direction in which history is moving. Nothing is more stirring than the recognition of great public purpose. Every great age is marked by innovation and daring-by the ability to meet unprecedented problems with intelligent solutions. In a time of turbulence and change, it is more true than ever that knowledge is power; for only by true understanding and steadfast judgment are we able to master the challenge of history”.
President Kennedy also discussed the recent agreements between the U.S. and the Soviet Union on joint exploration of Space.
Here is that complete address, as given on March 23, 1962.