April 19, 2012
President Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble
Thank you, Elizabeth. I am happy to be here today to welcome you on behalf of Webster University’s global community. We are proud to host the conference this year on our home campus and appreciate all who traveled here from around the world to participate in this important event.
To our distinguished speakers, thank you for being here to lend your expertise and perspective to the discussions.
Webster University is a global institution with a mission to ensure high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence. This is one of those learning experiences where the world has come to Webster to address the issue of refugee and migrant rights.
Webster, in keeping with our tradition of addressing varied needs, has in turn gone to the world to engage this conversation.
True global citizens value the dignity and rights of every human being. A global civil society is based on the preservation of international human rights.
This will be an exciting conference with the exchange of information and ideas and the participation on a global scale.
You have important work to do over the next two days. I leave you with this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
• "Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works.
Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."
Here, in this place, in the next two days, you will talk about the worlds of refugees and migrant workers and the human rights issues they face. Your work will make a difference to them and to the students participating. One day, they may indeed take what they learn at home to the world.
Have a great conference.