December 10, 2014
AT THE MANSION OF PRESIDENT FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, HYDE PARK, NEW YORK
In honor of Eleanor Roosevelt’s dedication to improve the lives of millions as a reformer, teacher, journalists, political activist, advocate for the underprivileged, and champion for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations Association of human rights-USA Southern New York State Division held an annual conference on human trafficking, global energy efficiency, and on climate change at the Franklin Roosevelt Presidential library and museum.
As global society is getting more diversified as door for immigration is widely open, different language, different customs, different culture, contrary to the intended melting pot, generated misunderstandings and conflicting perceptions among different ethnic groups. Lack of mutual understanding and respect led to racial discrimination on employment, race, sex, gender, religion and on housing market, even though the Declaration of Independence expressly declared that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. The first lady by advocating human rights around the globe greatly contributed to inspire new generations, without which the conditions of human rights on earth must have been worse. The Universal Declaration has played a crucial role in educating rulers and politicians around the globe to build better relationships among diverse people and encourage them to participate in community life on an equal basis, to foster mutual respect and understanding among individuals of different races or national origin, to relieve tension and conflict between racial, religious or nationality groups, and help eliminate global discrimination. With the spirit of the Declaration, human right advocate group everywhere will make different in our society in which we live, by organizing international affairs-oriented educational, advocacy, networking, career and social programs, and giving opportunity for leadership development. Broad concept on how to improve conditions of human lives will hopefully present specific plans to be implemented by people who are gravely concerned with bettering their lives and communities.
The presidential library and museum which was built by the only 4th term president Franklin D Roosevelt, and the mansion bring us face to face with history, immersive audiovisual programs take visitors vividly into the past. It is a good opportunity for visitors to appreciate how president led America out of the greatest economic depression in its history and guided the Allied Powers to victory in World War II. There is Rose garden , of which name is taken to the White House by President John Kennedy, in front which, the historical statues of President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the Great Britain were standing face to face as global peace maker during the World War II. In the mansion there is a small study room where the great leader used to make historical decisions with Winston Churchill, smoking and drinking all night, along with King George VI. It is impressive to observe the relatively small bed room Franklin and Eleanor slept and a guest room Winston and King George stayed many nights. The powerful story of these two extraordinary individuals can be experienced in the library and museum, and in the mansion where the president was born and raised. History tells us that without Eleanor Roosevelt, there is no Universal Declaration of Human Rights, without Franklin Roosevelt, no end of World War II, no surrender of Japanese imperialism, no Korean War, of course. Facing with today’s economic doldrums, we miss the strong leadership of Franklin Roosevelt to get out of this economic fiasco. The weather was very chilly with snow flurry in early December, but the spirit of two global leaders shines the seamy side of our world and greatly strikes up our courage to make better the world in which we live.
Dr. Hubert Hojae Lee
Commissioner of Human Rights, Orange County, New York State