Alumni Feature: David Ives

Alumnus David Ives and a Day of Unity, Peace, and Prayer

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Camp Rising Sun and the Louis August Jonas Foundation are honored to have so many distinguished alumni. Last year we featured alumnus David Ives (‘90 - ‘00) in the LAJF Sundial as an example of a servant leader and Camper for Life. Ives continues to show his dedication as a leader working for progress towards peace globally. Over Labor Day weekend David delivered the keynote speech for the Day of Unity, Peace and Prayer in Washington, D.C. on the National Mall. The speech was part of an all day conference on peace, human rights, and prayer co-sponsored by the Albert Schweitzer Institute.

His reflections on Schweitzer’s belief in community felt especially relevant to the Camp Rising Sun ethos.


Schweitzer thought that each person you may interact with for any reason should be regarded as a miracle. As one who deserves all the love and help you can give to this phenomenal being with whom you are interacting.
— David Ives

At Camp Rising Sun, we bring together young people from around the world to learn first hand how it is to live in different geographic, political and economic climates. Through this mix of world views campers develop a deep well of empathy which guides them to lead sensitive lives well into adulthood.

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What I have learned is that most people do not give a damn about the poverty in the world. How can they make a difference and help poor people if they do not care. It is a lack of political will to change that causes the poverty I have seen throughout my life. There was and is no excuse for it.
— David Ives
Group photo from 2017 of David Ives and Leymah Gbowee’s visit to Camp Rising Sun

Group photo from 2017 of David Ives and Leymah Gbowee’s visit to Camp Rising Sun

David highlighted the work of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Leymah Gbowee from Liberia who visited Camp Rising Sun in 2017. “She, and a group of Christian and Muslim women, were instrumental in overthrowing a brutal dictator named Charles Taylor.” Her organization now partners with LAJF to send campers from Liberia to Rising Sun. We hope in the future for our alumni to volunteer at her summer youth peace program for Liberian teenagers.

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David Ives is currently an adjunct professor emeritus of political science, philosophy and Latin American studies and international culture. Ives was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2016. Albert Schweitzer was the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Ives is the Executive Director Emeritus of the Albert Schweitzer Institute. Ives’ speech was on peace and justice, with a special homage to Schweitzer.

"Albert Schweitzer, whose values I have promoted for the last 25 years, is the inspiration for my speech,” he said. “The speech focuses on peace and justice.”

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Ives is also currently a senior advisor of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates’ Permanent Secretariat, chairman of the USA Board of Directors for the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress, a member of the Board of Directors of the Centers of Compassion for Children and member of the Board of Directors of Pax Natura.

Ives is inspired by The Dalai Lama. He feels that his most important concern is to meet often with the public because his primary commitment, his major interest, is the promotion of human value, human affection, compassion and religious harmony. The Dalai Lama says so often, his philosophy is kindness to all!

Michelle Obama has said that right now, when we're hearing so much disturbing and hateful rhetoric, it is so important to remember that our diversity has been - and always will be - our greatest source of strength and pride here in the United States.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter! So let us not be silent, let us believe and make miracles large and small, and may we be in awe of all people, may we forgive each other, and may we truly celebrate the richness of difference.
— David Ives closed his speech with words from Martin Luther King, Jr.