A Kennedy Comes To Dhaka

Kerry-KennedyOn June 28, 2014 the Yunus Centre welcomes Kerry Kennedy, President of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights who will be joining the opening of Social Business Day as Keynote Speaker.

Kerry hails from the famous Kennedy family as the 7th born of the 11 children of the Former US Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel S. Kennedy. Her father Bobby Kennedy was Attorney General in his brother President J F Kennedy's cabinet.

The Kennedy family has a long history of support for the people of Bangladesh. In 1971, Kerry’s uncle, Edward Moore “Ted” Kennedy, became a close friend to Bangladesh when he spoke out in support of the independence for the people of Bangladesh. He visited refugee camps in India where the Bangladeshis had fled to under attack from the Pakistani army. The advocacy of Ted Kennedy played a significant role in the struggle for Bangladesh's independence, and was one of the earliest visitors to Bangladesh after the liberation war.

Kerry Kennedy’s family has been carrying on her family's tradition of fighting for democracy and justice. She is known around the world for her humanitarian efforts. In 1981, Kerry Kennedy, a lawyer by training, started working in human rights when she investigated abuses committed by U.S. immigration officials against Salvadoran refugees.  Since then, her life has been devoted to the pursuit of justice and the promotion and protection of basic rights. She established the RFK Center for Justice  & Human Rights in 1988 and has led over 50 human rights delegations across the globe.

Kennedy founded RFK Speak Truth to Power, a multi-faceted global initiative that uses the experiences of courageous defenders around the world, to educate students and others about human rights and urges them to take action when a problem is identified. Students in the Speak Truth to Power curriculum learn that when truth is informed by sound learning it has power and those who are informed understand their obligation to speak truth to those in power. The curriculum, which includes 17 teacher-developed lesson plans for students in grades 6-12, is based on Kerry Kennedy’s book, Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who are Changing the World. The program is designed to build on students’ enthusiasm to become human rights defenders by stopping child labour and fighting other human rights abuses around the world.

Professor Yunus's work with the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and setting up microfinance and social business programs are a part of the ‘Speak Truth to Power’ program. She has since, that time, become a good friend of Professor Yunus and is also a strong advocate of microcredit for the poor.

In December 2013, Professor Yunus was honoured with the Ripple of Hope award at the RFK Center for Justice & Human Rights where he was named as “the father of microfinance, microcredit, and social business, a pariah to the powers that be, and banker to the poor”.

Kerry is the mother of three daughters.  She is also the bestselling author of Being Catholic Now and Speak Truth to Power. We are delighted to welcome Kerry to Bangladesh and have her with us. She will speak at the Opening Session of the Social Business Day on June 28 at 9 am at Hotel Radisson Blu, Dhaka.

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