Importance of Education

2014 Courage in Learning Award Acceptance Speech – Tomas Stanton 10/11/14

First, I would like to thank Paul and everyone in this room who is here, in some way, shape or form – to support the Universal Learning Centre and its mission.

I would also like to acknowledge my Big Brother HB, who unfortunately could not be here tonight because he is out of town on business, but I would like to thank him for taking the time to nominate me for this award and for also setting a great example of how to move in the world.

When Paul and I first met to discuss this award, we sat down and had some coffee. We both shared very similar personal stories of the adversities that we faced and overcame throughout our journeys in life. And not to discredit either one of our stories because they are foundations of who we are, but I think Paul would agree with me on this one, that everyone in this room has a story. Everyone in this room has faced and overcome some level of adversity. It is what makes us human. It’s what connects us. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, which states, “The shortest distance between two people is a story”.

And that is one of the reasons why I am so honored to be here tonight in support of the Universal Learning Centre, because in a round about way that is what they do. They create spaces for people to learn and share stories.

They create spaces in places of the world that are often ignored, often pushed into the margins of mainstream media, often invisible to even those that calls themselves revolutionaries.

ULC puts them back on the map.  Gives them a map, a foundation, an opportunity, a library, a source of knowledge in locations where running water is scarce.

ULC creates water holes.

Now I don’t mean that literally. But there is an ancient saying in regards to the role of a Poet in its society. The role of the Poet is to show the villagers where the water holes are. The survival of the entire village is dependent on a few watering holes that are scattered throughout.

Knowledge – empowerment – opportunity.

These are three very important pillars in the creation of success, these are pillars ULC provides. Thank you.

In Closing I have to acknowledge some very important individuals.  These individuals are very much responsible for the man that I am today. These individuals have shown me what courage is and how it manifests in life.

The word courage is sometimes deceiving.   For a long time I thought the word courage only applied to those that weren’t afraid of anything. They were my heroes. They made me feel safe.   However, it wasn’t until I became an adult that I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but instead looking fear into the eyes and pushing on.

Calling on courage in the name of progress……In the name of love.  Thank you.

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