Norman Rockwell (1894-1978). The Peace Corps in Ethiopia. Story illustration for Look, June 14,1966. Licensed by NRLC, Niles, IL.

 Norman Rockwell’s Peace Corps and Four Freedoms Celebrated in Ethiopia


Norman Rockwell traveled to Ethiopia on assignment for Look Magazine in 1964 to paint United States Peace Corps volunteers on site conducting their humanitarian outreach. President John F. Kennedy founded the Peace Corps movement in 1961. The Peace Corps was designed to inspire mutual understanding between Americans and other cultures around the world.

20 years earlier, Norman Rockwell was moved to create visual depictions of the inspiring words of a previous president. In his January 6, 1941 address to Congress, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt articulated his vision for a postwar world founded on four basic human freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. The galvanizing speech, whose concepts would be incorporated into the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, inspired Norman Rockwell, who painted the four iconic freedoms known around the world today.

To commemorate the 2011 50th and 70th anniversary of these two historic events, the US Ambassador to Ethiopia, Donald Booth, has invited Museum director Laurie Norton Moffatt to travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, as a U.S. Speaker and Specialist of the Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) to present talks on Norman Rockwell’s our Freedoms and the Peace Corps, While there, she will work with Ethiopian artists, museum personnel and students in sharing American art practices and jurying an exhibition of contemporary renditions of the Four Freedoms. She departs on January 7th.

“I am exceptionally honored to represent Norman Rockwell’s art and our Museum on this cultural exchange where I will have opportunity to meet the Ethiopian art community, fine arts students, museum personnel and various community leaders through the US Embassy. In addition to presenting illustrated slide lectures on Norman Rockwell I’ll be jurying an art competition on the Four Freedoms, working with fine arts students to install an exhibition of Ethiopian Artists’ interpretations of the Four Freedoms and leading a workshop with Ethiopian Museum professionals to discuss our various museum systems,” noted director/CEO Laurie Norton Moffatt. “In addition, having the opportunity to follow in Norman Rockwell’s footsteps will give me a better understanding of his world outlook and elder statesmanship during the latter period of his life.”

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