"The speech was one of the greatest by any modern leader. For years, I talked about that event as one of the most memorable and the speech by John F. Kennedy as the most responsible and eloquent by any president in modern history. It was a beautiful day where a few hundred people gathered outside at the wonderful American University green lawn."
– Jamil Jreisat
"President John F. Kennedy delivering his historic speech announcing the end of U.S. atmospheric nuclear testing was a milestone in my life. The ceremony was solemn, in contrast to a warm, sunny day. I shared a great bond with all my fellow graduates successfully completing our four-year academic challenge and entering the promising doorway to our futures. American University is a very important ingredient in my formation as a man."
– Lee J. Kerbel
"I'll always remember that great moment when I was at the 1963 graduation where I received my master's in business administration and I had the great honor of shaking hands with a really great president whose name will always be remembered for his charm, charisma, and achievement in such a short time of American history."
– Wafa DaJani
"It was not until years later that I realized the importance of the speech that was to become known as "the American University address." I think there were several factors that mitigated against fully comprehending the level of importance later given to the speech. First, we were all very excited to be graduating and it was beastly hot, especially under those black robes. Also, I think many of us were just awestruck to be in John F. Kennedy's presence, having been students throughout the entire Camelot period."
– Allan S. Pilson
"Having just lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis and as the parents of two small children with extra supplies of food and water, duct tape, and plastic sheeting stored in our basement, it was with great relief that we heard John F. Kennedy declare that "world peace was the most important topic on earth" and that the United States would stop testing nuclear weapons and work for a test ban treaty with the Soviet Union."
– Marilyn Heilprin
On the morning of June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy arrived on the campus of American University set to deliver a commencement speech that would change the course of history. "A Strategy of Peace" is remembered as one of the president's finest and one of the most inspiring commencement addresses ever delivered. Kennedy's words ring as true today as they did 50 years ago as we continue Building Peace for All Time.
Since its launch in 1968, the student-run organization has been responsible for bringing numerous prominent speakers from all different backgrounds to campus.
A direct thread runs from President John F. Kennedy’s speech through President Barack Obama’s agenda for nuclear arms.
Professor Philip Brenner looks back at the Cuban Missile Crisis to share insight on how best to prevent and mitigate international security crises today.