Lynn Elling grew up in Duluth, Minnesota before his family moved to Minneapolis. Following the graduation from the University of Minnesota in 1943 with a B.A. degree, Lynn attended Columbia University for three months to complete his Navy Officers training. As a World War II Naval Officer on an LST (Landing Ship Tank) in the South Pacific, he saw the carnage of the battle of Tarawa, where 6,000 people were killed. From this point on he was haunted by the question, "How can we abolish war?"
After the war, Elling became an insurance agent in Minneapolis, MN. In 1954 Lynn and his wife Donna traveled to Hiroshima, Japan where his life changed and he made a commitment to do whatever he could to promote a just and peaceful world.
His passion led to an amazing accomplishment in 1971, when all of Minnesota's major political and civic leaders signed a Declaration of World Citizenship. (This document and more on Lynn's story can be viewed at http://www.amillioncopies.info .)
Elling, who has five children, directed more of his efforts toward younger people. In 1972 he founded World Citizen, Inc. and introduced the Peace Site Program. There are 700 peace sites world wide, and 269 in Minnesota. The Peace Sites include schools, churches, resorts, government buildings, and businesses -- even the Mall of America! Lynn was also the co-founder of the Nobel Peace Prize Festival held each year at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Peace Education Program of World Citizen enhances and completes the three programs, all of which support the mission of World Citizen.
Lynn Elling passed away February 14, 2016 at the age of 94. Click here to read a tribute dedicated to his memory.
Watch the KTCA News Night segment "A Driving Dream." The clip highlights the life and ideas of Lynn Elling, World Citizen's founder.