In Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Nobel Peace Prize speech “The Quest for Peace and Justice,” he describes how the exciting innovations in STEM cannot be fully understood without the humanities. In 2018, during the second year of Quantum Leap and upon the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, Indiana Humanities is sponsoring a new discussion program of this important and thought-provoking speech.

When he accepted his Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. compared the world’s technological progress—the dawn of computers, the launch of the first man into orbit, telecommunications that could shrink the globe—with the slow and difficult pace of social change.

The contrasts Dr. King draws are familiar to us today.

That’s why Indiana Humanities is inviting schools, libraries, community centers and other tax-exempt organizations to host The Quest: A Discussion Program in their communities. Centered around Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Nobel Peace Prize speech “The Quest for Peace and Justice,” conversations can touch on topics varying from technology and social change to the threat of technologically advanced warfare.

Anyone can download and use the discussion guide; tax-exempt organizations such as libraries, schools, community centers and museums are eligible to receive a stipend of $100 if they host a public or school-based discussion in 2018. (In lieu of a stipend, teachers or other school-based personnel will receive a $100 gift card to use for books and supplies for their classrooms.) Stipends will be awarded on a rolling basis and awarded to communities based on geography and the criteria outlined in the application.

Sample discussion questions from the toolkit: 

  • Dr. King says there’s a “poverty of spirit” in our modern society. What do you think he means? Do you think he’d say the same thing about today?

  • Near the end of the speech, Dr. King says it takes will, courage and insight to achieve peace. Why are all three necessary? How do we come by these traits?

  • It’s been more than 50 years since Dr. King’s call for nonviolence. Do you think his philosophy is still effective for our society in 2018? Why or why not?