America’s most famous whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg has devoted his life to the nonviolent struggle for peace, truth, and democracy. In 1971, he risked his freedom by releasing to the press and public a 7000-page top-secret history of the Vietnam War—the Pentagon Papers—exposing decades of government lies and deceit. Since then, Ellsberg’s principled activism shows us how dissent can be the highest form of patriotism and citizenship.
On January 21, 2023 UMass awarded Ellsberg an honorary doctorate, a long overdue tribute to his lifetime of moral courage and commitment to nonviolent activism on behalf of peace and democracy.
We feel a special urgency to move forward with our plan to create a permanent Ellsberg Institute. A fully endowed institute would enable UMass to advance Daniel Ellsberg’s legacy by ensuring that future generations of students, scholars, and the public will engage the vital questions about peace and democracy raised by his life and papers. To do that, we’re asking for your help.
Our mission is to promote public awareness, scholarship, and activism on the overlapping causes that define Ellsberg’s life and legacy—peace, government accountability, democratic and human rights, nuclear disarmament, and social and environmental justice. We’re already well into our first year of programs, including the Inaugural Ellsberg Lecture.
The inspiration to create an Ellsberg Institute was ignited by the university’s acquisition of Dan’s papers in 2019 and the subsequent launch of a series of related projects including a yearlong seminar for students, the creation of the Ellsberg Archive Project, a multi-part podcast, and a two-day international conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of the Pentagon Papers.
We hope you will consider supporting this incredibly important initiative.