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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Teresa Heinz Kerry – Respected in the World

I found this article today, and it gave me an opportunity to showcase one of my favorite people on my first blog post at Freedom’s Fire. As a guest here, I asked first about the mission, and this is what stood out:

“I intend this blog to focus on the work of the tenders, those whose aim is to keep the fire of freedom burning.”

OK, so I know I’ve selected the right subject.

The Economic Times, India Times (Jan 5) touches briefly but pointedly on the reason I most admire THK. Apparently, Teresa, unlike Laura, is not seen by the India Times as so much White House wallpaper.

And if Laura scored over Teresa Heinz Kerry in the 2004 presidential campaign, it was because the Democratic candidate’s spouse was not always smiling cheerfully at the TV cameras tracking her every move in public. US public opinion wants its First Lady wannabes to want to look interested in remaining gracefully in the White House background!

A well deserved smack down of US public opinion.

Of course, that doesn’t mean Teresa doesn’t ‘smile cheerfully’. I’ve met her. Just once, but I can assure you that she does. I think that when you see Teresa smile, you can be pretty sure it’s the real thing. A stunning, warm and very real smile from a woman with the same attributes.

I’m guessing Teresa would agree that there’s an appropriate time to be cheerful, and considering the current state of affairs in Washington, this ain’t always it.

Check out her recent editorial (12/23) “The Outrageous Silence of George W. Bush” In it, Teresa chastises the administration’s lack of response to the hateful claims of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who called the Holocaust “a myth”.

OK. I’ll say it. She is saucy, isn’t she? But more than that, she’s right.

So, what are Mrs. Kerry’s credentials? What makes her more than the typical wife of a Washington politician?

Teresa has said that the fact that she grew up under a dictatorship in Mozambique prompted her to become a voice for “against tyranny and hate”. Well, she is that. But her activism goes far beyond that. Human rights, women’s rights, children’s issues, the environment, the arts… If it’s a cause that is right and that she can help champion, Theresa puts her time, money, and incredible voice behind it. How? Glad you asked.

I like lists, so here’s a run down, very possibly incomplete, in list form:

Women's Leadership Award - Save the Children (2003)
World Ecology Award International Center for Tropical Ecology University of Missouri (2003)
Albert Schweitzer Gold medal for Humanitarianism (2003)
Carlow College's National Woman of Spirit (2001)
Community Service Human Rights Award from the American Jewish Committee
Boston Bar Federation Public Service Award (2001)
Art Rooney Award from the Catholic Youth Association of Pittsburgh (2002)
Gold Medal conferred by the American Institute of Architects in Pittsburgh (2001)
Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus lifetime achievement award (2003)
UTNE Reader's 100 Visionaries (1995)
National Council for Research on Women “Women Who Make a Difference” (2005)

Brookings Institution trustee
Visiting Committee for the Kennedy School
Harvard University environmental committee
American Institute for Public Service (Jefferson Awards) board member
Carnegie Mellon University trustee
American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow
Heinz Awards – founder
Heinz Endowments – chair
Heinz Family Philanthropies - chair
Women's Health and the Environment conferences – sponsor and host
Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) – founder
Women's Campaign Fund – co-founder
Environmental Defense - board member
Heinz Center – vice chair
Teresa Heinz Scholars for Environmental Research – founder
John Heinz Environmental Fellows Program for the United Negro College Fund – founder
Earth Communications Office - advisory board
Second Nature (literacy) – co-founder
Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning – co-founder
Center for Children's Health and the Environment at Mount Sinai School of Medicine – advisory council

Beloit College (Wisconsin)
University of Massachusetts (Boston),
Bank Street College of Education (New York),
Pine Manor College and Clark University (Massachusetts),
Carnegie Mellon University
The Medical College of Pennsylvania
Drexel University
Washington and Jefferson College
Carlow College

BA romance languages and literature - University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg, South Africa
Interpreters School of the University of Geneva
English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese

So, while Laura smiles and blends into the background, our Teresa proudly and eloquently speaks truth to power. And the world recognizes what so many here at home do not.

Welcome to Freedom's Fire, GV! Glad you're here. This is a great first post. Have I mentioned that I *LOVE* Teresa? Okay, I blog mostly about her hubby, so I'm glad you're here to take up my slack.

Oh, the Senator? Yeah. He's OK.
LOL. As you know, I passionately support Sen Kerry. He's da man.
Just thought I'd give the Mrs. her props.
She is quite an amazing woman, isn't she? Meeting her was such a pleasure.
Thanks for the welcome and the opportunity. I hope to spend some time here. I love your blog!
Yeah. "He's OK"


Yep, meeting Teresa was great! They're both just super people. :-)
Great post, GV, and nothing less than a great lady deserves.
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