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Our voice is our imprint on our world, our distinctive note, our pattern, our touch one to another. It may be spoken, written, sung, of course; but also drawn, gestured, cried out or danced; even delivered on the still wings of silence or in the intimacy of eyes.

We’ve chosen several ways to honor the human voice. First, since 1989, we have culled through thousands of commencement addresses, to find the most enduring insights and most inspirational messages. We have selected thirty-seven speeches, dating back to 1936. To honor the full intent of each speaker, we include the complete text (and video links where available). Each year, we review dozens more and continue to appreciate your bringing to our attention ones we may otherwise have missed. 

Second – after several false beginnings built on premises that we decided were too broad or too insensitive to the peoples involved – we have based our folklore initiative on one specific subject, mermaids. After researching hundreds of tales, we selected ten from four continents. Each has been illustrated generously for The Humanity Initiative by an exceptional American artist from Utah, Chloe Hedden.

Third, for the fun of it, we are keeping track of the many ways humanity celebrates the shared adventure of our solar go-‘round, be they traditional, inspirational, sober or sensational. In fact, as an extension of that celebration, we invite you to share with the rest of the world an anecdote about how you most like to celebrate life.

We wish you adventure, joy and inspiration in listening to these myriad voices  -  as you add your own along the way.

            - Tony Balis