US Congressman James McGovern closed the PHR Student Conference with an inspirational speech in which he urged students to get involved in the political process and highlighted the critical human rights work he is spearheading on Capitol Hill.
Following are his prepared remarks:
I want to thank you for that very kind introduction. It’s a great honor for me to be here. I cannot emphasize enough how important is the role played by Physicians for Human Rights in my work on international human rights – and how important the role each of you will play today, tomorrow and into the future in shaping more humane, more human rights-based approaches to health care here in the United States and around the world.
I look at this audience and I see the future. And I want you to know one thing: we need you. We need you to be active, engaged, smart and willing to be leaders on the right to health care and on the many human rights issues encompassed in and embraced by health care and health professionals. And when I look at this audience and the program of events and workshops held throughout this day – I also see the past and the road that has led to this day – and to this gathering.
You are following in the footsteps of heroes. Ground breakers. Path makers. Dr. Carola Eisenberg – psychiatrist, one of the founders of PHR, and custodian of the flame in so many ways. Dr. Vincent Iacopino, PHR’s senior medical advisor, a leading light in health and human rights education, and one of the leading doctors engaged for over two decades in stopping torture and making sure the world understood the health consequences of this heinous act.
Now, it’s your time to take up the torch, to lead the way, in your schools, your professional practice, your health care institutions, in your communities, states, the nation and the world.