Satyarthi Meets Obama

kailash

President Barack Obama and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi met yesterday during the President’s trip to India. Joined by his wife, Sumedha, and 3 children rescued by his NGO, Satyarthi made a plea to Obama to “forge a friendship” to end child slavery and labor.

“I made a plea to my fellow Nobel Laureate that we should forge a friendship to put an end to child slavery and labour to make the world a safer place for children and to bring children and youth into leadership roles in making a non-violent world,” Satyarthi said.

Satyarthi also told Obama that winning the Nobel Peace Prize has resulted in “tremendous moral pressure to work even harder than before”.

I look forward to following this future dialogue and hope our two countries can come together to tackle this global problem.

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Prioritizing abolition of child slavery in development agendas

The most shameful commentary of today’s society in one sentence is that slavery still exists and our children are the worst sufferers.

I continue to be inspired by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Kailash Satyarthi’s leadership on the important global issue of abolishing child labor. His efforts and call to action are highlighted in a piece he recently wrote for Huffington Post: Ending Child Slavery Must Be Prioritised In The Future Development Agenda.

He writes, “Since the turn of the century we have made progress with 78 million fewer child labourers, as reported by the International Labour Organization (ILO). This is absolutely a significant achievement but not a total victory, yet. Figures indicate that a staggering number of children continue to be in child labour — currently at 168 million. As many as 85 million children out of these are in the worst and hazardous forms of child labour.”

I stand with Kailash in calling on the international community to finally take the necessary actions to end child slavery everywhere, once and for all.

Read the full article here and learn more about Kailash’s campaign at www.kailashsatyarthi.net.

Je Suis Charlie

Millions of people around the world are mourning the loss that occurred earlier this month when terrorists forced their way into the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo and killed 12 people. It was the most unfathomable attack on freedom and a heartbreaking moment for French citizens. In response to the tragic series of events in France, violent protests around the world continue to claim innocent lives.

Terrorism is unacceptable – any place, for any reason. A civilized society has no place for violence based on race, color, or creed.

We’re now learning that, due to demand, 7 million copies of the ’survivor issue’ of Charlie Hebdo will be printed and circulated. That is up from their usual circulation of 60,000. Millions of people around the world – regardless of their belief system – know the difference between right and wrong. And while it can never replace what was lost, this show of support is a small step in the healing process and a big message to terrorists that we won’t let them win.

Symbolized by the Statue of Liberty, the United States and France have a long history of supporting freedom for all. And once again, it’s time for Americans to stand up and show our support for the people of France.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. Je Suis Charlie.

Honoring Nobel Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi

nobelprizeI recently had the incredible honor of celebrating with Kailash Satyarthi as he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 for his work to promote children’s rights and education. My time shared with Kailash and his extraordinary family was amazing. I am deeply honored to have had the honor of being with him during this exciting time.

The best part of Kailash’s speech during the award ceremony wasn’t originally supposed to be in the speech. He told the story of a huge fire in the forest, and all the lions started running away from the fire as far as they could get. A little bird went for a sip of water, and holding that water in his mouth he flew straight into the fire. The bird opened its beak and let droplets of water fall on the fire. The lions asked him what he was doing flying directly into the fire. The bird replied, “I was doing my part.”

This story is so symbolic of what the Nobel Peace Prize is all about, and why we’re all here on Earth.

When I think about the recent school shooting in Pakistan, and after listening to both Kailash and Malala Yousafzai give their Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speeches, I can’t help but think that if more individuals did their part, our world would be a better place.

Kailash is not only doing his part, but he’s doing the part of the masses. For one man to stand up is all you can ask for, just like the little bird that did its part while the king of beasts ran away. Kailash has no fear, he just does his part, as we all should be doing.

Many children have been injured or killed trying to escape prostitution and sweatshops, and Kailash has risked his life to help those enslaved children. He has incurred bodily injury, and friends have been killed while helping him fight for the cause. But the sacrifices have saved more than 80,000 children from horrible servitude.

Kailash is an extraordinary man and meeting him was the most incredible experience. I enjoyed every minute we were together and feel so honored to know him.