In honor of Dr. Schweitzer’s birthday on Jan 14--in a nice coincidence the day before Martin Luther King's-- the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship officially launched a year-long U.S. campaign to promote Schweitzer-spirited service, celebrating 2009 as the 60th anniversary of Dr. Schweitzer’s one trip to the U.S.
In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the only U.S. visit of revered physician, philosopher, environmentalist, musician, and Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965), The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship announced today a year-long nationwide 2009 celebration of Dr. Schweitzer’s legacy of service. The celebrations will engage people across the country in encouraging and supporting expanded Schweitzer-spirited service to individuals and communities in need, and especially in helping young people discover and experience the deep personal rewards of pursuing lifelong paths of service.
By age 29, Albert Schweitzer was a renowned scholar in the fields of theology and philosophy, the leading scholar of his generation on the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, and the acclaimed organist for the Paris Bach Society. Yet he remained unfulfilled, until deciding at the age of 30 to become a doctor and devote the rest of his life to direct service in Africa in Lambaréné, Gabon, where there was no doctor. The Schweitzer Hospital at Lambaréné became a worldwide symbol of human service and solidarity, and an inspiration to countless others across the world who followed Dr. Schweitzer’s urging to “find your own Lambaréné.”
In honor of today’s anniversary of Dr. Schweitzer’s birthday, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick proclaimed January 14, 2009 “Albert Schweitzer Reverence for Life Day” in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, urging all citizens to “participate fittingly in the 2009 U.S. celebrations of Dr. Schweitzer’s legacy.”
During Dr. Schweitzer’s 1949 visit he was the keynote speaker at a cultural festival in the then little-known town of Aspen, which led to the creation the following year of the Aspen Institute and the Aspen Music Festival and School. Dr. Schweitzer also visited Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, and New York City, and was featured in a cover story in Time magazine.
The 2009 “Schweitzer in America: 1949 – 2009” initiative includes a steadily-growing number of collaborators, including with the Aspen Institute, the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Longwood Symphony Orchestra, Youth Service America, Hugh O’Brian Youth (HOBY), Tennessee Players, and the University of Chicago and other universities across the U.S., including the more than 100 health-related professional schools in the U.S. whose students have served as Schweitzer Fellows.
2009 activities are planned in all locations of ASF’s existing U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Programs, including Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Houston-Galveston, New Hampshire/Vermont, Los Angeles, New Orleans, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco/Bay Area, as well as in prospective sites such as Tulsa, New York City, and Seattle. Through these programs, ASF has already selected and supported nearly 2,000 U.S. Schweitzer Fellows who are now united in a national and international lifelong network of “Schweitzer Fellows for Life.”