The Common Good: 25 Quotes to Inspire Us

December 17, 2014

Every year at IEA, we choose a theme to incorporate across all of our programs. This year’s theme was “The Common Good.” At IEA, we believe it is important to inspire and encourage children to make a difference in the world, to pursue the common good.

On December 10, the Nobel Peace Prize was presented to Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”


Malala is the youngest recipient of the prestigious award. After being named the winner, she thanked her father “for not clipping my wings, for letting me achieve my goals.”

With this year’s IEA program theme in mind, and in honor of the latest recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, here is a compilation of quotes to help inspire individuals of all ages to join in solidarity, contributing to the common good.


“One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

“If you are lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down.” – Kevin Spacey

“Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet.” – Alice Walker

“There is no limit to what a man can do so long as he does not care a straw who gets the credit for it.” – Charles Edward Montague, Disenchantment

“Be great in act, as you have been in thought.” – William Shakespeare

“If it doesn’t make the world better – don’t do it.” – Kid President

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – The Lorax

“Our humanity makes us each a part of something greater than ourselves.” – Sonia Sotomayor, My Beloved World

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” – Albert Einstein

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

“We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone… and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads form one to another that creates something.” -Sandra Day O’Connor

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

“You will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” – Michelle Obama

“Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end your arm. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.” – Sam Levenson

“Your life matters. You can’t live through a day without making an impact on the world. And what’s most important is to think about the impact of your actions on the world around you. ” – Jane Goodall

“None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody — a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony, or a few nuns — bent down and helped us pick up our boots.” – Thurgood Marshall

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” – Dalai Lama XIV

“I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

“Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.” – Minor Myers

“Just being there for someone can sometimes bring hope when all seems hopeless.” – Dave G. Llewellyn

“No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

“Deep human connection is … the purpose and the result of a meaningful life – and it will inspire the most amazing acts of love, generosity, and humanity.” —Melinda Gates at Duke University’s commencement

“The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It’s doing something you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile.” – Julia Child

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb


Let us all work toward the common good!

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