In regard to the May 3 Salt Lake Tribune opinion article by Sam Nunn, “Follow ‘Lugar Way’ of civility and respect”:
I, too, want to express my gratitude for Sen. Richard Lugar, who died April 29 at age 87. Our family didn’t know him personally, but we have been touched deeply by the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program. We have hosted three young people from around the world as high school exchange students; in fact, our daughter was a YES student for her 10th grade, studying abroad in Malaysia.
I’m grateful for the commitment and wisdom of Sen. Lugar, who along with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy started the program more than 16 years ago. Created in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the YES program has brought more than 12,000 foreign high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to the United States to attend American schools and live with American families.
His civility in international diplomacy allowed average families like mine to gain a global perspective and to make a positive difference in the world by simply opening our homes and hearts to a young person from another part of the world. Our daughter received the same hospitality from a family in Malaysia who was eager to accept another child into their home.
As Sen. Lugar said in 2012, “Former Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and I felt it was very important, in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy in the United States, to get to know students in Muslim countries and for them to get to know us, so we worked with the State Department and others to institute this program. High school students are quick learners, they are well able to adapt to new conditions, and they are our future leaders.”
As Nunn wrote, there is much to learn from Richard Lugar’s example.
Vicky Wason, Salt Lake City