Andrew Carnegie — Peacenik?

FORGING THE FUTURE

Andrew Carnegie — Peacenik?

Five questions for master biographer David Nasaw

How could Andrew Carnegie — the pragmatic and even hard-headed businessman — have believed that global peace was achievable?

Carnegie was a peace activist from very early on. He believed that peace was inevitable, that mankind was progressing, and that war was a vestige of savagery. Like duels, feudalism, and serfdom, war would be eliminated over time, with the coming of an Age of Civilization that would replace the Age of Barbarism. To get to this peaceful world, one needed leaders, and Andrew Carnegie was going to do everything he could in his power to hasten the day when world peace arrived.

 

Why did Carnegie establish the Peace Palace?

He tried to build a structure for peace just as he had built his factories and steel mills. He was a dreamer, and nowhere were his dreams greater than when it came to the establishment of peace.

He built the Peace Palace hoping that one day soon it would become the center of a new world court. Instead of sending young men to kill one another on the battlefield, nations would convene at a court of peaceable arbitration in the Peace Palace and settle their difficulties peaceably.

The Hague was the “City of Peace,” and Carnegie was going to hasten the coming of peace through the Peace Palace, which was both a monument to peace as well as the home, he hoped, of an International Court of Arbitration.

 

How did Carnegie envision conflict between nations being settled?

He had a simple, two-stage process in mind. The nations of the world would come together two by two and sign treaties of arbitration. The Americans and the British would begin the process by signing a treaty that compelled each nation to submit its difficulties with the other nation to arbitration. Once the British and the Americans had signed this bilateral treaty, then the British would sign one with the Germans, and then the Americans would sign one with the French — like dominoes. All of these bilateral agreements would lead to what he called a “League of Peace” that would be centered at The Hague.

Concurrently, the nations of the world would begin to establish international laws of arbitration. There was no such thing as international law at the time, but the treaties of arbitration, the League of Peace, and the creation of a body of international law would all render war obsolete. Or so Carnegie hoped and dreamed.

 

What was Carnegie’s greatest accomplishment in peacebuilding?

There are three interrelated aspects to Andrew Carnegie’s legacy for peacebuilding.

First, there are his organizations themselves. Almost all of them in one way or another are dedicated to creating a peaceable world — not just the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which has “peace” in its name, but certainly Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Hero Funds are dedicated to the notion that heroism does not consist in killing people on the battlefield. Heroism is simple, everyday acts of kindness and can involve risking one’s life to help another person. His institutions are his legacy.

Second, the Peace Palace building. Most monuments are to war, to soldiers, and to generals. The magnificent palace in The Hague is a monument to peace.

Third, Carnegie sets an example through his unflagging determination to end war. His argument was simple: war is not inevitable. He just kept pushing for peace. It didn’t matter if people made fun of him. He got a lot of ridicule from people he trusted, like Teddy Roosevelt. That example — the willingness to dream, to be a utopian, and to be a pragmatist on the path to peace — that’s Carnegie’s legacy, and it remains alive today.

 

How do you think Carnegie will be remembered, in the context of peace, a century from now?

One hopes there will be a steady movement in the direction that Carnegie set out for us, toward peaceable resolution. If you look at the world today: yes, there is strife and warfare, but there has not been a third world war, and hopefully there will not be one. Andrew Carnegie, more than 100 years ago, tried to convince world leaders that in the modern era, war is too deadly and weapons are too advanced. Maybe some part of Carnegie’s message is getting through, and perhaps progress is continuing toward its logical conclusion.

 

David Nasaw is an American author, biographer, and historian who specializes in the cultural and social history of early 20th-century America. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Distinguished Professor of History at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, Nasaw is the author of Andrew Carnegie (2006), a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, the recipient of the New-York Historical Society’s American History Book Prize, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. During the 2018 Carnegie Peacebuilding Conversations in The Hague, Professor Nasaw found the time to consider a few questions about Andrew Carnegie’s peacebuilding efforts.

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The Carnegie UK Trust: Changing Minds, Changing Lives

FORGING THE FUTURE

The Carnegie UK Trust: Changing Minds, Changing Lives

The Trust continues Andrew Carnegie’s original vision to improve the lives and well-being of people throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland

Andrew Carnegie made his fortune and spent much of his life in the United States, but he came from humble beginnings in the United Kingdom, a country that stayed close to his heart.

In 1913, with a $10 million endowment, the Scottish-American philanthropist founded the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust. The goal: to improve the well-being of the people of Great Britain and Ireland “by such means as are embraced within the meaning of the word ‘charitable.’”

Carnegie purposefully left his mission for the Carnegie UK Trust broad, to ensure that the organization remained relevant into the foreseeable future. The Trustees were given the freedom to direct their efforts “as best fitted from age to age.” Carnegie understood that with new times come new challenges and new needs. For more than 115 years, this flexibility has afforded the Carnegie UK Trust the ability to deliver upon its mandate, especially through periods of enormous hardship for the people of the United Kingdom.

For example, during the Great Depression, the Carnegie UK Trust developed a longstanding program to fund social welfare projects, addressing issues of poverty, employment, and urban renewal. As unemployment and poverty levels in the late 1920s and early 1930s grew, the Trust began to support initiatives to help communities most impacted by economic upheaval. The Trust worked closely with the National Council of Social Services to improve the social and cultural life of people in mining communities. It also invested in the innovative Land Settlement Association (1934–39), which resettled thousands of unemployed workers from depressed industrial areas to rural areas, enabling them to achieve livelihoods as small-hold food producers.

 

Family Tea, February 1939 Unemployed Durham miner Nathan Turner and his family enjoy the first meal in their new home, a cottage homestead in Reading, England, where they have been relocated as part of the Land Settlement Association scheme run by the Ministry of Labour with the support of the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust. (Photo: Tim Gidal/Picture Post/Getty Images)

 

As World War II raged across Europe in the following decade, the UK was not spared tremendous loss, suffering, and damages. The Carnegie UK Trust established a number of national Commissions of Inquiry at the time. Trustees and Commission members such as Lord Wolfenden and Dame Eileen Younghusband were among the leading architects of the British welfare state, the social safety net that came into its current mature form in the aftermath of the war. The Trust was also an important advocate of and investor in comprehensive social work and youth and community services.

“Although many people associate the Trust with the building and support of public libraries, the organization has always been involved in a wide variety of initiatives: from better understanding poverty and welfare to promoting participation in the arts and regenerating town centers,” said Douglas White, head of advocacy for the Carnegie UK Trust. “The Carnegie UK Trust has been, and always will be, willing to experiment with new ways of doing things and unafraid to be ahead of its time.”

Remaining focused on both the present and the future, the Carnegie UK Trust continues to develop five-year strategic plans to adapt to the most pressing issues, often electing to take calculated risks, investing in projects that are often seen as not far enough along in development for either the government or smaller organizations to tackle at the time.

Today the Trust’s 2016–2020 Strategic Plan focuses on improving well-being through four key initiatives: Digital Futures, Enabling Wellbeing, Flourishing Towns, and Fulfilling Work. The Carnegie UK Trust is dedicated to investing in evidence-based policy development and translating and applying its findings to real-world issues.

As part of its most recent strategic plan, the Trust has sought to understand why more than 13 million people in the United Kingdom lack credit or have a poor credit history, and to then seek out better options for those individuals. The poor or people with troubled credit histories are all too often excluded from access to mainstream credit, forcing them to resort to high-cost, short-term and often unscrupulous lenders. The question of how to make affordable credit available to people across the UK has long been a complex, contested, and highly fraught public policy issue.

Carnegie UK Trust’s Affordable Credit project seeks to bring new solutions to this area with a focus on identifying alternative options to the commercial high-cost credit market. The Trust recently partnered with Emmy Award-winning actor Michael Sheen to raise awareness of this important issue, which affects millions across the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, its Affordable Credit Action Group works to develop and implement recommendations to overcome some of the structural issues that inhibit the expansion of affordable credit.

Making progress on these and many other issues, the Carnegie UK Trust delivers a clear set of messages to influencers and decision-makers. The Trust’s recommendations continue to bring about change and improve well-being for people across the UK and Ireland — just as Andrew Carnegie envisioned.

Photo (Top): An aerial view of Foxash Estate, Ardleigh, Essex, England, taken in 1967. Faxash Estate is one of a series of Land Settlement Association schemes of cooperative smallholdings set up in the 1930s with the support of the Carnegie UK Trust. (Photo: English Heritage/Getty Images)

Andrew Carnegie’s Transatlantic Legacy

FORGING THE FUTURE

Andrew Carnegie’s Transatlantic Legacy

Tackling the Most Consequential Threats to International Peace Through Strategic Insight and Innovative Ideas

In 1910, driven by a bold mission to “hasten the abolition of international war,” Andrew Carnegie bestowed $10 million toward the creation of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in Washington, D.C.

Though the world has undergone radical change since then, the organization’s central mission remains unchanged: the advancement of international cooperation to promote world peace through policy research conducted in collaboration with leaders from government, business, and civil society.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has had 10 presidents since its inception, all of whom have cultivated the organization’s three guiding principles: a commitment to rigorous policy research, a steady focus on effecting concrete global change, and a capacity to respond nimbly to shifting geopolitical currents.

Today, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace employs a growing roster of more than 100 foreign-policy experts based in 20 cities worldwide — from Beijing to Brussels to Beirut.

Though the organization continues to expand globally, it still operates under its central mission. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace President William J. Burns states, “In an increasingly crowded, chaotic, and contested world and marketplace of ideas, we offer global, independent, and strategic insight and innovative ideas to solve the most consequential threats to international peace.”

Carnegie Europe, founded in 2007 and based in Brussels, focuses on European foreign-policy analysis. Its scholars conduct research and make recommendations around such fraught issues as the future of EU-Iran relations, the implications of Brexit for the future of Europe, and the challenges posed by shifting military alliances.

In the last few months alone, the organization has brought together experts on Turkey with key representatives of several EU institutions to coordinate the 28-member bloc’s policy towards Ankara regarding migration, visa-free travel, and accession to the EU. And, earlier this year, a senior representative from the German government sought out the organization’s assistance in addressing disagreements on issues like free movement and migration, which have threatened to divide the EU in recent years.

“The strength of Andrew Carnegie’s heritage is as important now as ever,” says Carnegie Europe Director Tomáš Valášek. “Day to day, leading global political figures turn to us to help resolve some of the most pressing problems.”

Andrew Carnegie’s central abiding commitment to pacifism informs all of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s foreign-policy efforts, guided by an impressive array of experts and policymakers who have earned the institute global renown.

In March of this year, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace announced the election of Robert Zoellick, former president of the World Bank and former U.S. trade representative, to its board of trustees. And in 2017, former U.S. secretary of state John Kerry was named visiting distinguished statesman.

Andrew Carnegie was prone to saying, “Aim for the highest.” Aiming for world peace is indeed a lofty objective. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace continues Carnegie’s core mission, seeking collaboration, understanding, and engagement to prevent war and enhance prospects for global concord.

Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images

Catalyzing Innovation in Education and Research

FORGING THE FUTURE

Catalyzing Innovation in Education and Research

Carnegie Mellon University Is a World Leader in Cross-Disciplinary Exploration at the Intersection of Technology and Humanity

“My heart is in the work.”

From a mural at the school to souvenirs at the campus bookstore, you will see that phrase everywhere at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Uttered by Andrew Carnegie over 100 years ago, the words are rooted in the very ethos of the school to this day.

Andrew Carnegie had little formal education, but he believed deeply in the power of books and learning. During his formative years, he spent many evenings absorbed in the 1,500-volume library of a local businessman, Colonel James Anderson, who opened his personal collection of books to local working boys. Once he had accumulated his fortune, Andrew Carnegie devoted himself to giving away virtually all of his wealth during his lifetime, creating a wide range of philanthropic, cultural, and educational institutions, including the founding of 2,509 libraries, paving the way for future generations to have access not only to books, but to knowledge, understanding, and opportunity.

“An immigrant himself, he believed in the role of education as a great equalizer and was committed to ensuring that his philanthropy would be focused on creating ‘ladders on which the aspiring can rise,’” said Carnegie Mellon University president Farnam Jahanian during a recent event commemorating Andrew Carnegie. “He set his sights on transforming education – not just here in Pittsburgh, but across the nation.”

The university’s story started in 1900 with a $1 million donation from Andrew Carnegie. The idea was first to create a technical institute where Pittsburgh’s working class could learn practical skills, trades, and crafts. The Carnegie Technical Schools soon began offering bachelor’s degrees. In 1967 “Carnegie Tech” merged with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research (an independent research corporation founded in the 1930s by the prominent Pittsburgh family of financiers and philanthropists) — and with this, Carnegie Mellon University was officially established.

Today, Carnegie Mellon University has 14,000 students enrolled in more than 26 degree programs spread across 14 countries. The university’s vision is to have a transformative impact on society through continual innovations in education, research, creativity, and entrepreneurship.

The impressive roll call of the university’s alumni and faculty confirms that this vision is not merely aspirational. There are the winners of — for starters —  116 Emmy Awards, 44 Tony Awards, 20 Nobel Prizes, and 10 Academy Awards. The university’s engineers have created robots that can walk on water. One of its alumni generated the idea behind the hashtag symbol on Twitter. Another became known as the “Father of Java” for inventing the computer programming language. The roster of famous alumni includes names like Mel Bochner, Albert Brooks, Ted Danson, Holly Hunter, George Romero, and Andy Warhol.

As an institution, Carnegie Mellon University can boast of many firsts. Its reputation in the fine and performing arts dates to 1906 with the founding of the School of Applied Design, one of the first comprehensive arts teaching institutes in the United States, growing quickly into a world-ranked leader in architecture, art, design, drama, and music. Carnegie Mellon established the nation’s first robotics institute in 1979, and in the 1980s it became the first university with a wired campus. The first green dormitory in the U.S. opened at CMU in 2003.

The university today enjoys international recognition, ranking top in the country in areas like computer science and information and technology management. A pioneer in many fields, Carnegie Mellon University emulates its founder’s commitment to progress and innovation.

“We are reshaping the businesses of today and creating new industries of tomorrow with groundbreaking research in artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing, neuroscience, robotics, and cyber-security, among many others,” said Jahanian. “The university has emerged as a world leader in cross-disciplinary exploration at the intersection of technology and humanity, catalyzing innovation in both education and research to solve humanity’s most pressing challenges.”

Andrew Carnegie would undoubtedly be proud of the university’s many distinctions, its commitment to social impact, and its ambitious plans for the future. Carnegie Mellon University not only sustains its founder’s vision — it is amplifying it. The achievements — of its students, faculty, and alumni — demonstrate the power of education, just as Andrew Carnegie intended.

Photo: © Carnegie Mellon University. All rights reserved.

Bringing the World to Pittsburgh

FORGING THE FUTURE

Bringing the World to Pittsburgh

Andrew Carnegie’s Library and Museums Are Forging the Future in the Steel City

“I feel lucky that I came to such a friendly city,” says Dutian Zeng, a former after-school teacher from China and a newcomer to Pittsburgh. “I feel even luckier that, because of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, I’m not a stranger and I’m no longer lonely.”

At the Library, Zeng tapped into her passion for working with children. She partnered with staff to create a list of 100 famous American and Chinese picture books for the Library to exchange with a school in her old hometown of Wuhan in Central China. Thanks to the joy of reading, children thousands of miles apart were brought together.

 

Dutian Zeng (pictured middle) with the staff at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. (Photo: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh)

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is one of more than 2,500 libraries founded by Andrew Carnegie. Andrew Carnegie is known for many things: he was a visionary entrepreneur, a business leader, and an innovative philanthropist. Yet he is perhaps most celebrated for investing more than $55 million in libraries, earning him recognition as the “patron saint of libraries.”

“Here at the main library, right above the doors, it says Free to the People — and that really is our guiding principle,” says Molly Bennett, Pittsburgh Library’s director of communications and creative services. “We are open to everyone and our mission is to engage our whole community in literacy and learning.”

Since its inception in 1895, the Library has moved with the times and continues to look to the future. In addition to providing many electronic books, laptops for loan, and hotspots to help bridge the digital divide, Carnegie Library will soon offer coding lessons and, in response to Pittsburgh’s increasingly diverse population, will make more works available in translation in an even wider range of languages.

Andrew Carnegie once said, “A library outranks any other thing a community can do to benefit its people,” and nearly a century after his death, Zeng and many others continue to enjoy an institution he cherished so deeply.

Another institution beloved by residents and visitors alike is Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, comprised of Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum.

“I think Andrew Carnegie would be particularly proud of what his museums have become: a family of four distinctive, dynamic museums that, collectively, reach nearly 1.5 million people a year, including hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren,” observes Carnegie Museums’ board member Bill Hunt.

Whether it’s Dinosaurs in Their Time, the natural history museum’s impressive core exhibition, or the Science Center’s popular sports and science-related exhibits, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh strives to bring the best in art, science, and history to the Steel City, just as their original benefactor intended.

“His vision is entrenched in our vision now,” says Betsy Momich, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh’s director of corporate communications. “We live and breathe it every day.”

A century after Andrew Carnegie’s passing, the museums are staying true to his mission while adapting to modern times. The dinosaur exhibition is now nearly three times the size of the original, The Andy Warhol Museum is North America’s most comprehensive single-artist museum, and the Science Center will soon open a four-story pavilion featuring everything from large-scale exhibitions to a digital giant-screen theater.

“Some have wondered what our founding father would have thought of bringing a Science Center and The Andy Warhol Museum into the Carnegie Museums fold in the 1900s. I feel certain he wouldn’t have just liked the idea; he would have demanded it!” says Hunt.

None of us know what the next century will bring. What we do know is that Andrew Carnegie’s library and museums will continue to embrace recent arrivals, such as Dutian Zheng, bringing literacy, learning, and opportunity to the Pittsburgh community.

A Celebration of Heroes in Pittsburgh

FORGING THE FUTURE

A Celebration of Heroes in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh shaped Andrew Carnegie as a young man. In return, Carnegie endowed the city with a bounty of museums, libraries, and other institutions. These stand as testament to his philanthropic vision of doing “real and permanent good in this world,” enriching the City of Pittsburgh while demonstrating that Carnegie’s legacy remains vital and flourishing into the 21st century. The four Pittsburgh-based Carnegie institutions — the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University — came together recently in the Steel City to mark a special milestone in the history of civilian acts of heroism. Such acts carried a profound resonance for Andrew Carnegie, who established the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission in 1904 to honor those “heroes of civilization,” ordinary men and women who risk or sometimes even lose their own lives attempting to save the life of another.

Jimmy Rhodes and Vickie Tillman were honored by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission on June 12, 2018. (Photo: Downs Creative)

Understanding Altruism

On June 12, at the Allegheny HYP Club in Downtown Pittsburgh, a special luncheon was held honoring Vickie Tillman and Jimmy Rhodes, respectively the 10,000th and 10,001st Carnegie Hero. The featured guest speaker was Abigail Marsh, distinguished professor of psychology at Georgetown University and author of The Fear Factor: How One Emotion Connects Altruists, Psychopaths, and Everyone In-Between, described by the Wall Street Journal as a “compelling scientific detective story.” Marsh is working to better understand why individuals like the Carnegie Heroes go to such extraordinary lengths to help others, why some individuals exhibit higher levels of altruism. Through her work with the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission and the recipients of the Carnegie Medal, as well as with other exceptional individuals, Marsh is hoping to normalize courageous behavior, ultimately building a world in which more of us will be empowered to behave altruistically.

A Multifaceted Legacy

Later that evening, representatives of the Carnegie institutions convened at the Carnegie Music Hall for a gala event, helmed by NPR host Scott Simon. After acknowledging Tillman and Rhodes for their acts of bravery, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh president Bill Hunt paid special tribute to Andrew Carnegie’s commitment to making art and culture accessible to the public. “The gift of Carnegie Museums is just one of countless measures Andrew Carnegie took to ensure that education and culture would be accessible to the many, not just the few,” he said.

Carnegie Hero Fund Commission chairman Mark Laskow invoked Carnegie’s ideas about civilian heroism — ideas that remain vital nearly 100 years after the philanthropist’s death. For Laskow, the Hero Fund highlights some of the most personal and intimate decisions that an individual can make, exemplified by Carnegie Heroes past and present. “The values of heroism and altruism that shine through these acts are important threads in the fabric of our culture,” said Laskow. “The Hero Fund is here to add their stories to our national discussion about who we really are.”

Farnam Jahanian, president of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), cited Carnegie’s bold vision, commitment to inclusion, and rational approach to solving some of the world’s most vexing problems as an enduring source of inspiration for Carnegie Mellon University and its students. The founder, he said, was “unapologetically ahead of his time, committed to seizing opportunities and being resilient in the face of a rapidly expanding world.”

Mary Frances Cooper, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh president and director, honored Carnegie’s lifelong pursuit of knowledge. While young Carnegie received little formal education, he was a voracious reader from an early age and remained so throughout his life. His reverence for books shaped his belief that there was no better investment for a community than that of a free public library. “Carnegie’s particular brand of philanthropy reflects the fundamental need in people, and our individual and collective desire, to do the right thing,” Cooper said of Carnegie’s faith in the individual’s capacity to learn and evolve.

The Heroes Roll of Honor

Eric P. Zahren, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission’s president and secretary, underscored the enduring power of the individual to effect change in the world. In his lead-up to the unveiling of the Carnegie Heroes Roll of Honor, Zahren said: “Perhaps Carnegie, above all, hoped that we would see the power of each one, imperfect as we are, to make a difference, to change the world. For one moment and for all time. To see, to recognize, and to embrace the undeniable power of one.” Throughout the 114 years since the Carnegie Hero Commission Fund was established, more than 10,000 Carnegie Medals have indeed been awarded and many millions have been disbursed in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance. But most importantly, the Fund keeps the heroes’ stories alive, ensuring that their acts of personal bravery will ripple across generations.

Everyday Heroes

Following the unveiling, Scott Simon introduced Academy Award-nominated actor and Pittsburgh native Michael Keaton. The superhero of the Silver Screen honored the everyday heroes who walk among us. “The common denominator of heroism is courage,” said Keaton, adding that “courage shows up all the time in this world and often without any fanfare.”

The next Forging the Future event will honor Andrew Carnegie’s legacy as a peacemaker and highlight the Carnegie institutions that continue to work toward world peace. The Carnegie Peacebuilding Conversations will take place at the Peace Palace in The Hague from September 24 to 26. The event will bring together experts from Carnegie institutions and elsewhere for a series of panel discussions on the most pressing issues of the day, including ethics in peacebuilding, health and peace, artificial intelligence, security of natural resources, and financing peace.

A Legacy That Defines a City: Pittsburgh

FORGING THE FUTURE

A Legacy That Defines a City: Pittsburgh

A century after his death, Andrew Carnegie remains an integral part of Pittsburgh. This town is where he got his first job, built his professional career, and carried out much of his extraordinary philanthropic vision. In the Steel City, Carnegie is a household name. It is a place where locals pronounce “Carnegie” as the Scots do.

Andrew Carnegie’s family settled in a working-class Pittsburgh suburb after journeying from Scotland to New York City, then taking a three-week trip by steamboat to Pennsylvania. It was here that Carnegie started work as a bobbin boy in a cotton mill at age 13 before building a career in railroads, steel, and bridges to eventually become one of his era’s most successful businessmen.

Carnegie used his wealth and ideas to establish more than 20 institutions in North America and Europe, translating his passion for art, culture, and education into reality for so many others. Pittsburgh now calls itself home to more Carnegie institutions than any other city.

 

The main branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, circa 1910, is situated in the city’s Oakland neighborhood. (Photo: Austrian Archives/Imagno/Getty Images)

 

Carnegie’s wealth was important, but his ideas — his philosophy of giving — were even more critical, so powerful that more than a century later they continue to attract leading professionals and volunteers alike. Are the ideas on which he built his organizations and the goals he set for them still relevant today?

Look just at Pittsburgh. Today, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission is preparing to celebrate its 10,000th hero. Carnegie Mellon tops university rankings in critical areas such as computer science and artificial intelligence. Carnegie Museum of Art was the first in the United States to place a strong focus on contemporary art. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh welcomes nearly three million visitors each year, and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History contains one of the world’s greatest archives of biodiversity and the history of life.

In the lead-up to the centennial year of his passing in 1919, Carnegie institutions around the world are hosting a series of events titled Forging the Future, honoring Andrew Carnegie’s commitment “to do real and permanent good in this world,” while also working to keep his legacy alive and vital into the next century.

The next Forging the Future event, “The Power of One: A Tribute to the Power of the Individual,” will take place on June 12 and be hosted by four Pittsburgh institutions: the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University. Celebrating the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission’s 10,000th hero, the event will recognize civilians who have risked — and sometimes actually lost — their lives trying to save the lives of others. Even before he signed the deed establishing the commission in 1905, Carnegie had long felt strongly about acknowledging the heroism of individuals.

“He said we live in a heroic age and indeed, we still do,” says Carnegie Hero Fund Commission president Eric P. Zahren. “We’re still seeing people risk their lives on a consistent basis and we don’t expect that to change. Even now, in our disconnected, technology-driven world reportedly void of human compassion, as it is too often presented, heroes abound.”

Over the last 114 years, acts of heroic bravery have changed. It’s unlikely, for example, that modern heroism will involve a runaway horse buggy — but Andrew Carnegie’s commitment to honoring brave civilians endures. The Hero Fund recognizes acts of  courage as varied as a cafeteria clerk who stopped her car to help a wounded police officer to a business owner who saved a woman falling from a bridge. By awarding medals and financial rewards — which may entail paying the educational costs for the hero’s children — the impact of acts of personal bravery can ripple across generations.

Like many of his philanthropic endeavors, the commission exemplifies that celebrating the power of individuals, appreciating art, and fostering scientific exploration remain as relevant today as in the 19th century.

Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, which consists of Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum, is a partner for the “Power of One” event and an institution built around the local Pittsburgh community.

 

The Carnegie Science Center is one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. (Photo: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

 

“Andrew Carnegie founded the museums to bring the world to Pittsburgh,” says Bill Hunt, chair of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees. “At that time, people didn’t travel outside their home base, people did not have disposable income, and their educations were much more restricted, if they had education at all. He wanted to change that, to open up the world to the people in the city and give back to the people of Pittsburgh.”

As an immigrant, Carnegie believed education was a great equalizer and was committed to ensuring that his philanthropy would create “ladders on which the aspiring can rise.” Today, the museums bring more than 150 special exhibitions, films and theatre shows to the city each year. The history museum examines the impact of humanity on nature and the environment, while the Carnegie Science Center’s STEM program works to build enthusiasm and interest so that Pittsburgh’s children might grow up to consider careers in specialized fields.

As another step on the ladder on which the aspiring can rise, Andrew Carnegie — the “Patron Saint of Libraries” — knew libraries could offer cultural resources for newcomers to America. Growing up in Pittsburgh, he worked long hours and had no access to formal education, but a local merchant lent him books, which solidified his belief in the immense potential of libraries.

In recent years, Pittsburgh, like many American cities, has seen an increase in immigrants, like the Carnegie family, welcoming more than 22,000 new residents from 2010 to 2016. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh offers English classes, supporting those new to the city, as well as providing materials in other languages and holding naturalization ceremonies. Over the years the library’s 19 locations have grown along with the city, and consistently served its residents’ needs.

“Our story is really interwoven into the Pittsburgh story,” says Mary Frances Cooper, Library president and director. “The library has been here for every challenge and opportunity that Pittsburgh has faced.”

When Carnegie said, “Pittsburgh entered the core of my heart when I was a boy and cannot be torn out,” he could not imagine that almost 100 years after his death he would remain a vital part of the Steel City. Andrew Carnegie would not have been the same man without Pittsburgh and, without him, Pittsburgh would not be the city it is today.

The Peacemakers

FORGING THE FUTURE

The Peacemakers

Author Bruce W. Jentleson led a discussion about his book, “The Peacemakers,” at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs on April 26, 2018. (Photo: Carnegie Council)

 

Toward the end of Andrew Carnegie’s life, achieving world peace became the philanthropist’s primary occupation. Civilized nations had abandoned practices of slavery and dueling; the telephone, trains, and steamships were globalizing communications; and the Great Powers had been at peace since the 1871 Franco-Prussian War — surely, the abolition of war would follow.

Until his death in 1919 (two months after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles), Carnegie worked tirelessly to “hasten the abolition of international war.” For Carnegie, war was “the foulest stain that remains to disgrace humanity, since slavery was abolished.”

Given that the world today is still very much mired in war and conflict, it is fitting that the family of Carnegie institutions opened the Forging the Future series with an event that draws upon the lessons of the past century as we look — it is hoped — to forge a more peaceful future.

On April 26 the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs and Carnegie Corporation of New York hosted a conversation in New York City with author and Duke University professor Bruce W. Jentleson.

Beyond academia, Jentleson has also helped shape U.S. foreign policy in a range of different positions at the State Department and has worked with various presidential administrations. From coordinating communications between former PLO leader Yasser Arafat and then-Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in the 1990s to serving on the National Security Advisor Steering Committee of the 2012 Obama presidential campaign, Jentleson has been involved in some of the most critical diplomatic and security negotiations of the past two decades.

In a discussion centering around his recently released book, The Peacemakers: Leadership Lessons from Twentieth-Century Statesmanship (W. W. Norton), Jentleson posed the fundamental question of whether leaders shape history — or vice versa. For Jentleson, individuals make the critical difference, be they political mandarins or ordinary citizens. He made a compelling case for the importance of vision, courage, and moral authority in facilitating the breakthroughs that can bring about real and lasting peace.

In what proved to be the highlight of the talk, Jentleson described a key interaction between then-U.S. national security advisor Henry Kissinger and former Chinese premier Zhou Enlai around the time of the U.S.-China rapprochement of 1972. When Kissinger entered the first — very secret — meeting (dubbed “Operation Marco Polo”), he extended a handshake to Zhou. Kissinger knew that, nearly 20 years earlier, then-secretary of state John Foster Dulles chose to shake hands with former Soviet foreign minister Molotov, but he refused to take the hand of Zhou. Jentleson credits Kissinger for understanding the significance of a handshake in this context, and thereby possibly changing the course of history.

Jentleson recounted several similar moments in 20th-century history when peace was established thanks to the — as one can see in hindsight — visionary actions of individuals.

Today, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Peace continues to celebrate Andrew Carnegie’s commitment to greater international understanding, justice, and peace by using its convening power to bring together leaders from around the world to share ideas, reflect on experiences, and engage in public conversations. These dialogues are a vital stepping stone toward achieving “real and permanent good in this world” — and perhaps even toward Andrew Carnegie’s dream of world peace.

Forging the Future: Andrew Carnegie’s Legacy, 100 Years Later and into the Next Century

FORGING THE FUTURE

Forging the Future

Andrew Carnegie’s Legacy, 100 Years Later and into the Next Century

It is not often that we have an opportunity to think in terms of 100 years. It’s a span well suited to remind us that while our lives are time-bound, our connections endure. As much as things change, they remain the same.

In the early hours of August 11, 1919, Andrew Carnegie passed away peacefully at his Shadowbrook estate in Lenox, Massachusetts, with his wife, Louise, at his side.

In the words of Carnegie Corporation president Vartan Gregorian, “The legacy of Andrew Carnegie celebrates the power of the individual, enabled and empowered to live freely and to think independently, as well as the power of an educated citizenry and a strong democracy. In this way, democracy, education, knowledge, freedom, and international peace are necessary ingredients to a healthy society.”

It is the Carnegie family of institutions, founded and inspired by Andrew Carnegie, to which we now turn — almost one hundred years on — to lead the path forward in celebration of his legacy. Over the course of the next year, these institutions will honor his life by addressing those issues Carnegie considered of paramount importance: international peace, the advancement of knowledge and understanding, and the strength of our democracy.

The Carnegie family of institutions — in New York City, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, and Europe — is sponsoring events over the next 18 months to answer key questions and commemorate Andrew Carnegie’s lasting achievements in peace, education, the arts, science, culture, and philanthropy.

The title of the event series, Forging the Future, encapsulates the most difficult and urgent challenges we face, and will culminate with the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy awards ceremony in New York City in October 2019.

 

Bruce W. Jentleson led a discussion about his book, The Peacemakers, at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs on April 26.
Author Bruce W. Jentleson led a discussion about his book, “The Peacemakers,” at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs on April 26, 2018. (Photo: Carnegie Council)

 

The first event in the series took place just last month in New York City as Carnegie Corporation of New York and Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs hosted a lecture by Bruce W. Jentleson, a leading American foreign policy scholar, on his new book, The Peacemakers: Leadership Lessons from Twentieth-Century Statesmanship.

The Peacemakers covers a broad range of historical examples of leadership and peacebuilding, from Yitzhak Rabin’s efforts for Arab-Israeli peace to Dag Hammarskjöld’s effectiveness as Secretary-General of the United Nations and Mahatma Gandhi’s pioneering use of nonviolence as a political tool.

At a time in the world when peace seems elusive and conflict endemic, The Peacemakers makes a forceful and inspiring case for the continued relevance of statesmanship and diplomacy, providing practical guidance to 21st-century leaders seeking lessons from some of history’s most impactful negotiators, activists, and trailblazers.

The second Forging the Future event will be led by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission and takes place on June 12 in Pittsburgh. Celebrating the actions of those who risk their lives while saving or attempting to save the lives of others, the Commission will honor its 10,000th hero at The Power of One: A Tribute to the Power of the Individual, an event cosponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

Finally, this coming fall the Carnegie Foundation/Peace Palace will host Carnegie Peace-Building Conversations at the Peace Palace in The Hague (September 24–26). The Peace Palace, which houses the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Court of Justice, was built largely thanks to a substantial donation from Andrew Carnegie. The event will highlight Carnegie’s legacy as a peacemaker through a series of panel discussions on a number of topics, including ethics in peacebuilding, health and peace, artificial intelligence, security of natural resources, and financing peace.

After more than 100 years of doing real and permanent good in the world, the Andrew Carnegie family of institutions looks forward to the next century and considers how we must forge the future to sustain our founder’s vision in a new world.

Joan & Irwin Jacobs: On a Very Different Level

Joan & Irwin Jacobs: On a Very Different Level

Philanthropy is a relatively young field in terms of innovation (#GivingTuesday, microgiving), but it can trace it roots to ancient traditions. Social entrepreneurship has helped remake the philanthropic landscape in recent years, but many still cite the great religious texts as their reason for giving. Joan and Irwin Jacobs touch upon both the old and the new, embracing the best of philanthropy past and present, and applying themselves with intelligence and passion to the task. They are an extraordinary couple.

Joan and Irwin were both raised in Jewish homes in the Northeast — homes steeped in the tradition of giving, not only as a family matter, but also as a religious duty. The similarity of their backgrounds has helped inform their decision-making as philanthropists. Speaking to the San Diego Union Tribune, Joan said, “Our families were philanthropic, but on a very different level. They gave to the local synagogue, but not in any major way. We both came from very humble homes. We’re very fortunate to be able to do what we’re doing now.”

Early on, each was aware of the Jewish obligation of tzedakah, with memories of placing small coins in a box (called a pushke). Monies collected would go to the synagogue or to another worthy cause. As the Jacobses found greater and greater professional and financial success, the coins and the pushke definitely — so to speak — expanded, and they would eventually sign The Giving Pledge, joining the commitment made by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes either during their lifetime or in their wills. While their motivations may have been time-honored, the efforts and causes to which Joan and Irwin Jacobs are inspired to contribute are resolutely modern and forward-looking.

 

Irwin Jacobs, founder of Qualcomm, and his wife, Joan, next to a painting they purchased by artist Kenny Scharf. (Photo: Don Tormey/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

 

Irwin made his fortune through the technology company Qualcomm, while Joan found success as a dietician. The fields are quite different, but the couple are united in crediting their achievements to the educational opportunities they were afforded — and naturally enough, education became a major part of their giving. Numerous universities have been recipients of their philanthropy, most notably Cornell University: the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, a cornerstone of Cornell Tech’s new campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island, will create “pioneering leaders and technologies for the digital age.” Clearly, for the Jacobses education and science are top priorities, and they have also given hundreds of millions of dollars to the likes of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California San Diego, and the Salk Institute (where Irwin served as chairman of the board for a decade).

Moving beyond education and science, the couple has made a name for themselves in San Diego by providing unwavering support for such worthwhile endeavors as the La Jolla Playhouse, the central library, and the San Diego Symphony — this last the beneficiary of a lifesaving infusion of funds. The couple stays involved with the arts locally, science nationally, and education globally — and the aim is to inspire others to follow suit. In their giving, Joan and Irwin Jacobs have continued to live by the Jewish concept of tzedakah, the responsibility to give aid, assistance, and money to worthwhile causes, which they first absorbed as children. The little coin box may have grown immensely, and helped build a building or two or three — or more. But the message remains the same: if you can give a portion of your personal substance to the common good, it is your responsibility to do so. In fact, Judaism teaches that the donors benefit even more than the beneficiaries from tzedakah. An ancient idea, perhaps, but today it seems more relevant than ever.

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