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Speech delivered by CMHR Board of Trustees Chair Eric Hughes at the 2013 CMHR Annual Public Meeting

News release details

Nelson Mandela, 1918 – 2013
"Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation." 

…Thank you Angela.

Good morning! Bonjour!

C'est un grand plaisir pour moi d'être ici avec vous. J'aimerais vous exprimer ma plus sincère gratitude pour votre intérêt dans le Musée canadien pour les droits de la personne.

Not only is today International Human Rights Day, it also marks the official memorial in South Africa of one of the world`s greatest human rights defenders, Nelson Mandela.

The quote you see here – by Mandela — is very appropriate because it also speaks to the aspirations of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights…. to inspire a generation of people to become champions for human rights.

At its most fundamental level, that's what this Museum is all about – helping our children and grandchildren grow up to be good global citizens who treat others with respect and dignity… and who understand the importance of human rights for all.

Un des fondements principaux du Musée, c'est celui d'aider nos enfants et nos petits-enfants à devenir de bons citoyens et de bonnes citoyennes du monde qui respectent les autres et les traitent avec dignité… et qui comprennent l'importance de promouvoir les droits de la personne pour tous et toutes.

On behalf of the museum's Board of Trustees, thank you for joining us here, as we celebrate a very busy and significant year in this extraordinary project.
With me this morning are some of the other members of our board – and please give a wave as I introduce you — Lisa Pankratz from Vancouver; Gail Asper from Winnipeg; Pauline Rafferty from Victoria, Dr. Wilton Littlechild from Hobbema, Alberta; and Deena Spiro from Toronto.
Canada's new national museum will be the world's first and only museum solely devoted to human rights.

It will have a profound impact on the way we think about, talk about, and take action on human rights.

I'm proud to be here as a parent.

As a father of school-aged children, it gives me great hope for the future of our country that we're building a national institution that will so dramatically enrich the learning experiences available to our kids when it comes to human rights.

Every year, the Museum participates in "We Day" in Winnipeg – which is another fantastichuman rights educational initiative directed at kids. In fact, the driving force behind "We Day" — Craig Kielburger — is one of the "human rights defenders" who will be profiled inside the Museum.

I want to show you a short little video that the Museum put together for "We Day" this year. To make this, staff at the Museum asked kids what human rights were important to them. And this was the result. I'm going to show it to you here in both English and French.

So, once again, I'm proud to be here as a parent.

I'm also proud to be here today as an Albertan.

I say that because it doesn't matter which province or territory in Canada you're from; this museum belongs to all of us: to you in Manitoba, to me in Alberta, to each citizen from coast to coast to coast.

If you've followed the evolution of this project you'll know the Canadian Museum for Human Rights has always been envisioned as a place that would offer distinct benefit for all Canadians.

We're making good on that pledge by building an inspiring destination for human rights discovery and dialogue in the centre of Canada…

…and through educational programs that will benefit classrooms across the country;

… … through speakers' series, academic opportunities and collaborations with other organizations;

…and, as the first museum of this scale to be built in the digital age, through a rich suite of interactive exhibits, and tools for learning and conversation that will be available to you no matter where you are in Canada or the world.

Above all, I'm proud to be here today as a Canadian.

This project, in my view, represents our highest and best potential as a nation.

Surtout, je suis fier d'être ici comme Canadien.

À mon avis, ce projet nous permet d'atteindre notre plein potentiel en tant que nation.

This Museum underscores Canada's commitment to human rights. It challenges us to imagine the kind of country we wish to be, both today and for the future.

Its exhibits and programs will inspire us, and provide us with new avenues for informed conversation.

It embraces all Canadians as equal partners in this new dialogue, and it reflects the best of what Canada has to offer to the world.

On behalf of the Board, thank you again for joining us today as we mark a great year of progress and look forward to the most exciting year of all – when the Museum doors open wide to the public.

It truly speaks volumes about the progress made so far that we are now able to literally countdown to the moment that the doors will open on September 20, 2014.

How fortunate for all of us that the best, as they say, is still yet to come.
Thank you, Merci beaucoup.