DIRECTIONS: Since this course focuses on learning about cultural beliefs, values, and behaviors of
people in various places and times, I would like for you to consider your deepest, most fundamental
belief and explain how it shapes your own values and behaviors. Follow the instructions below and be
sure to include all of the required information.
• Read or listen to the following 5 minute Edward R. Murrow essay (click here) introducing the
“This I Believe” essay project launched in 1951.
o Note that in his essay, Murrow expressly steers you away from doctrinal commentary
that proselytizes your religious and/or political beliefs. Please take to heart and follow
Murrow’s admonition in his own essay inviting essayists to join the project: “We do not
want a sermon, religious or lay; we do not want editorializing or sectarianism or ‘fingerpointing.’ We do not even want your views on the American way of life, or democracy or
free enterprise. These are important but for another occasion. We want to know what
you live by. And we want it in terms of ‘I,’ not the editorial ‘We.’”
o This essay requires you to contemplate your most fundamental belief and how it shapes
your values and behaviors that shape your life. For example, don’t write your essay
about how Jesus is your personal savior or how Islam is the one true faith or how the
government is taking away your freedoms or that America is the best country on the
face of the earth. Instead, speak to the ideas and values that you hold dear. For
example, write about how forgiveness and compassion are the key to happiness and
peace of mind, or how freedom should be safeguarded as a human right. (If you don’t
understand this distinction, please contact me for further clarification.)
• Write a personal essay of 300-500 words. (Include word count.)
• Your finished essay should be replete with an original title, thesis statement about your core
belief, introduction, support for thesis, and conclusion.
• On one hand, this essay is informal in that it is intended to be read aloud, which means
that you are not required to use complete sentences.
• On the other hand, this essay is formal in that you should not use slang, profanity, or
• This link on the “This I Believe” website is designed to help you craft this
25 BONUS POINTS (max) for creating a photo essay (like Paul Farmer’s)