Video Remarks for William O. Douglas Award Presented to Elie Wiesel

Press Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 23, 2012

I am delighted to join my voice with yours as you honor my friend Elie Wiesel. Elie has dedicated his life to improving human rights and standing up for the most vulnerable, and I can think of no one more fitting to receive this award.

I also want to thank the Public Counsel for hosting this event and for 41 years of giving voice to the voiceless.

In 1993, my husband and I were honored to host leaders from around the world for the dedication of the Holocaust Museum here in Washington. Elie gave the most impassioned speech about the horrific acts taking place at the time in Bosnia. I already admired his work, and since that day, I have been able to call him and his wife, Marion, dear friends as well.

Elie has always understood that the struggle for human rights is really a struggle for human understanding and dignity. Because Elie has survived that struggle himself. His writing, his activism and his very presence inspires all of us to fight injustice and suffering wherever we find them.

As Elie once said, “everything becomes possible by the mere presence of someone who knows how to listen, to live, and to give of himself.” Elie, you are that person. You are a beacon of hope, and your impact on humanity is immeasurable. And you are a dear friend. Congratulations on this special award and thank you for all that you do.