Response on behalf of the Roosevelt Institute by Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
Your Majesty, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Trustees of the Roosevelt Institute, and the members of the Roosevelt family, it is my pleasure to offer special greetings from the New York delegation at the 2012 Four Freedoms Awards Ceremony. I want to thank the Queen’s Commissioner, Karla Peijs, and all of our Dutch friends for their generous hearts and warm hospitality. It is always such a pleasure to come to a place that has taken on such profound meaning for all of us.
This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the International Four Freedoms Awards. Thirty years since we the people of Zeeland and the Netherlands joined hands with their American friends to celebrate and recall the values and vision that carried our two peoples through the dark days of the Second World War. We have traveled many miles together since then; founding the highly respected Roosevelt Study Center, which celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary last year; witnessing the birth of the Roosevelt Academy in 2004, laboring on both sides of the Atlantic to try to do what we can to see that the Four Freedoms and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights form the basis of a world “attainable in our own time and generation.” One person who was instrumental in making these remarkable developments possible, is our distinguished Chair Emeritus, Ambassador William vanden Heuvel, who, sadly, is not able to be with us today, but who sends his heart-felt greetings to us all.
I also want to extend a special welcome to the new President and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute, Felicia Wong. Felicia comes to the Institute with a wealth of talent and experience as a non-profit leader, educator and former White House Fellow. Under her tutelage the Roosevelt Institute plans to expand its outreach to young people through the Campus Network and Pipeline programs; strengthen its promotion of progressive values through its Four Freedoms Center; and continue its legacy program integration, especially through our support of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and the Four Freedoms Awards.
We are here today to honor the work of five remarkable individuals who have dedicated their lives to the Four Freedoms; five remarkable individuals who understand that the cause of human freedom and social justice is not something that we may contemplate on occasion, but something we must work towards on a daily basis, if we truly wish to make a difference in the lives of our friends, neighbors and fellow citizens.
So as we reflect on the past and all it means to us; as we celebrate the accomplishments of this year’s laureates, let us also go forward together steadfast in our determination to bring the hope and promise of these freedoms to all people—“everywhere in the world.”