Dr. Sam speaks at Pelz Global Speaker Series


Lance Lagoni

ECC President David Sam highlights a point as the image of Dr Pelz smiles.

Ethan Wiles, Staff Writer

“Dr. Pelz was a special person,” said ECC President Dr. David Sam on Wednesday before he spoke at the William Pelz Global Speaker Series. Sam also held a moment of silence to honor the late Elgin Community College professor.

The series started this semester and fittingly focuses on historical events as Pelz was a history professor at ECC before he passed away last year. The series is coordinated by different committees here at ECC such as the GIST (Global and International Studies Taskforce), ECCFA (Elgin Community College Faculty Association) and MAGIC, a committee that was set up to assist administration and staff in understanding and celebrating all cultures.

“Professor Pelz was a distinguished professor,” Sam said. “He taught at ECC for many years and was a strong supporter of campus internationalization.  The series is named in his honor to remember his dedication to global issues, trends and concerns.”

This edition of the series focused on how global organizations developed after the Second World War and how they are essential in keeping peace worldwide.

During his presentation, Sam flipped through a PowerPoint directly behind him. His first slide showed statistics of war casualties with one statistic reading, “The U.S., in WWII, lost fewer than half a million people.”

Sam is adamant that war is not the best option.

“We have to do anything and everything to avoid wars,” Sam said. “You don’t want to have this situation.”

His next slide talked about how the 20th century was also known as the “Age of Bloodshed.” There were massive armies due to the larger population, and modern technology played a role in the number of people that died.

Despite it being the deadliest century in terms of war, there were many lessons to take away from that time.

“You can start [wars], but you aren’t going to win,” Sam said. “No war brings out anything good.”

Sam’s presentation featured more than the harmful effects of war as he also spoke about the United Nations and how the organization came to be.

His next slide featured the four main purposes of the UN: Maintaining worldwide peace and security, developing relations among nations, fostering cooperation between nations in order to solve economic, social, cultural or humanitarian international problems and providing a forum for bringing countries together to meet the UN’s purposes and goals.

“With the help of the United Nations, the U.S. was number one in post World War II global activities,” Sam said.

Sam focused on why global security, peace and international organizations are still relevant today. One point on his slide mentioned that “Trump raised withdrawing the U.S. from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) several times in 2018.”

Sam was asked about the current administration by a guest in the audience.

“The Trump administration is fixated on making deals,” Sam said. “If you send someone from the White House to Mexico, and the U.S. ambassador doesn’t know about the deal, that’s a problem.”

One student asked Sam how they can avoid wars at a local level.

“It is important for every average American to understand other people from other countries,” Sam said. “It shapes peoples’ thinking and views on other countries. That is why [ECC] has international students that come here and why we have a study abroad system.”

The next William Pelz Speaker Series will be held on April 23 in Building E.