at the Arthur Armitage Award Ceremony honoring Jonathan Granoff
Rutgers Law School-Camden
June 11, 2009
(Check against delivery)
I am honored to be here today to honor the man you have chosen to honor. He is simply put unique. His life’s work is to strengthen global security through the rule of law and he is relentless in his pursuit of this objective. But there is much more to him than this. His life and his spirit are not bound by conventional limits. He is open and curious about the spiritual aspects of this life and he embraces new ideas and old ones with openness and humanity. He sees the possibilities to improve the common good where others would tend to shy away from addressing tough issues. Yet he respects the views of others and is always prepared to listen and seek common ground.
He has the common touch. His recounting of his experiences as a young lawyer in Philadelphia are not only hilarious but are a compelling testimony to his empathy for ordinary people and his understanding of the frustrations of daily life which young professionals, especially young lawyers, have to deal with.
On a more elevated level, his pursuit of respect for the rule of law on an international level in seeking not only the total elimination of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction as well as agreed rules of the road in establishing a more secure international security environment have brought him the respect of movers and shakers of international politics as well. He knows them all, from Gorbachev to the Dali Lama, from the Pope to the Indian Foreign Minister. From James Bond to Michael Douglas. Nobel Peace Laureates and show business luminaries alike have joined with him in pushing his agenda. He stands out as a persistent, impatient and inspiring leader in the search for a peaceful, compassionate, and humane world order.
Like all prophets he has made enemies and rocked some boats but that’s always the case with exceptional people. But through it all his embrace of compassionate humanitarian values and his love of people shine through. We don’t always know where such exceptional people come from. He combines the best of many cultures and religions but always with the intelligence, tenacity, and characteristics of an exceptional lawyer. I like to think his life in the Delaware Valley, with its rich heritage, helped to shape his character as well.
In early times he probably would have been considered a saint but his broad acceptance of the spiritual values of many non-western cultures would certainly have gotten him in trouble in Massachusetts where I come from and very probably with the Friends of Philadelphia as well. Idealists after all are difficult to accept and to deal with. But they show us the way.
Yet above and beyond all this he has produced a wonderful and stable family and I’m sure his sons, each in his own way, will follow in his footsteps. His wife, God bless her, has all the joys and frustrations of being married to a gifted man who is a unique combination of prophet and politician.
He has my intense admiration as a man with a clear sense of what needs to be done to make a better world. A man who pursues this objective fearlessly but yet is humble enough to set the cause to which he is devoting his life above renown.