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Addressing what he called the “world’s current and future top thought leaders, researchers and entrepreneurs,” Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi urged Harvard students to take action in defense of abused and enslaved children around the world.“Even a small act can dispel darkness in a room,” he told his audience at Harvard’s Memorial Church.“You all represent so many bright sparks. Do not simply look … act,” said Satyarthi, who was honored on Friday by the Harvard Foundation as its 2015 Humanitarian of the Year.“As the creator of the Global March Against Child Labor, [Satyarthi] ensured that both transnational awareness and organizational activism were at the center of the largest civil society movement in the world,” said College senior Irfan Mahmud in introducing Satyarthi. “As an advocate on the national level, he played a key role in the Right to Education law in India that made education not only a fundamental right for children up to 14 years of age, but also made it institutionally accessible and free.Indian children’ rights activist, Kailish Satyarthi greets children in the audience before he received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Harvard Foundation. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer“This is just the surface of his work. It is no wonder that the Nobel Institute found him worthy for their highest honor for world peace … And today, we are lucky enough to honor him as the Harvard Foundation’s 2015 Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian of the Year.”For more than 25 years, Satyarthi has been a world-renowned activist for children’s rights, fighting against child slavery and exploitive child labor. He has waged a peaceful struggle to stop children being exploited as labor instead of attending school, and has contributed to the development of international conventions on the rights of children. He and his organization, Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, have rescued more than 84,000 children from exploitive conditions.In 2014, he and Malala Yousafzai were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”“Friends, do you realize that fear, not freedom, is the primary driving force for all creation in this world today?” said Satyarthi. “We obsess about money for the fear of being left out. We chase power, for fear of being labeled inconsequential. We attach ourselves to brands, heroes, and celebrities for fear of not fitting in. On the international stage we try to establish our power by making bombs, drawing borders, and sending missiles, for fear of our security and position.”In offering a solution to combating this fear, Satyarthi urged the “globalization of compassion.” That is the key, he said. “Compassion for fellow man, regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, nationality, politics, or anything else.”He called for “compassionate intelligence” in politics, business, and religion. “Most of all, we need to teach our bright, young, energetic, and idealistic youth the value of compassion so they don’t become disillusioned or turn to violence.” He urged his Harvard audience to “come together to not lose any more of our children to needless violence. Let us inculcate compassion, global citizenship, and universal brotherhood from the earliest ages.“Harvard is a beacon of excellence, a repository of the best leadership in the world, representing the potential to change the world,” Satyarthi said. “The time to lead is now and this is the place. I am confident we can together make slavery, child labor and trafficking history. Let that be the legacy of our lives, our gift to the world. Freedom, freedom, freedom, for each and every one of us!” he concluded.The award is given in memory of the Rev. Professor Peter J. Gomes, Plummer Professor and Minister in Harvard’s Memorial Church, who died in 2011.
Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor sent out the following letter regarding the allegations against men’s basketball associate head coach Bernie Fine just before 6:30 a.m. on Friday: Dear Students, Faculty & Staff, Last night, we were contacted by an ESPN television reporter regarding allegations dating back to the 1980’s and 1990’s that Associate Head Men’s Basketball Coach Bernie Fine had engaged in inappropriate behavior with a minor, now 39. Following the terrible news that came out of Penn State in the last several weeks, this is clearly distressing to all of us in the Syracuse University community. The news is already being covered widely by the media. I want to tell you what we know and what we are doing about it. First, as has been announced, Bernie Fine has been placed on administrative leave pending a new investigation by the Syracuse Police Department. He has vehemently denied the allegations and should be accorded a fair opportunity to defend himself against these accusations.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text As we have communicated publicly in response to media inquiries, in 2005, Syracuse University was contacted by an adult male who asserted that he had reported allegations in 2005 of abuse in the 1980’s and 1990’s to the police. That same individual told us that the Syracuse City Police had declined to pursue the matter because the statute of limitations had expired. On hearing of the allegations, the University immediately launched its own comprehensive investigation through its legal counsel. The nearly four-month-long investigation included a number of interviews with people the individual said would support his claims. All of those identified by him denied any knowledge of wrongful conduct by the associate coach. At the end of the investigation, as we were unable to find any corroboration of the allegations, the case was closed. Had any evidence or corroboration of earlier allegations surfaced — even if the Police had declined to pursue the matter — we would have acted. As of last night, we became aware that the Syracuse Police have determined to open an investigation, and we will cooperate to the fullest extent with their review of the matter. Let me be clear. We know that many question whether or not a university in today’s world can shine a harsh light on its athletics programs. We are aware that many wonder if university administrations are willing to turn a blind eye to wrongdoing that may disrupt a successful sports program. I can assure you I am not, and my fellow administrators are not. We hold everyone in our community to high standards and we don’t tolerate illegal, abusive or unethical behavior — no matter who you are. As you know, this week, I affirmed Syracuse University’s steadfast belief that all of us have the responsibility, individually and collectively, to ensure that Syracuse University remains a safe place for every campus community member and everyone with whom we interact on a daily basis on campus or in the community as part of our learning, scholarship, or work. We do not tolerate abuse. The dilemma in any situation like this, of course, is that—without corroborating facts, witnesses or confessions — one must avoid an unfair rush to judgment. We have all seen terrible injustices done to the innocent accused of heinous crimes. And we’ve all seen situations where the guilty avoid justice. At this time, all we really know is that a terrible tragedy is unfolding for both the accuser and the accused. I want you to know that we will do everything in our power to find the truth, and — if and when we do find it — to let you know what we have found. Sincerely, Nancy Cantor