萨曼莎(希利)瓦尔达曼' 89返回校园周五发表讲话 最新的类 学校优等生协会的成员. Vardaman spoke to the 12 new members and the rest of the gathered assembly about how she went from a seat in the Chapel’s pews to a career of public service.
Vardaman recently transitioned into fundraising and development for The Madeira School, 弗吉尼亚的一所女子私立学校, 在完成了掌管司法研究所17年的职业生涯后 & 倡导国际共同希望, which works to prevent child sex trafficking and restore and bring justice for survivors. 罗伯特W. 希尔三世, Vardaman’s invitation back to campus continued his goal of bringing back alumni that are dedicated to helping others.
“今年, my goal was to have alumni return who share a common thread of meaningful service to someone, 一些机构, 或者有超越自己的目标,希尔说, before adding shortly after that Vardaman “dedicated a major portion of her professional career to the welfare of the most vulnerable.”
以前, Samantha worked at the American Bar Association where she directed the rule of law program in Moldova, 这个东欧国家正努力摆脱苏联的统治. 她毕业于波士顿学院和迈阿密大学法学院.
以下是她的发言全文. 要观看演讲视频， 点击这里:
“The skills and discipline you are learning at Williston will serve you all very well in the world. As I reflect on the key events that led me down some of the more interesting paths over the years, 我发现就在这个集会上发生过一次.
“我大四的时候, an alum working as a diplomat with the State Department came to speak to us about his experiences. 我记得我一开始觉得他太年轻了，不能做这么令人兴奋的工作. 也许我也可以这样做! Then I remember thinking he was probably fluent in multiple languages, with an Ivy League degree. 但是没有! 他不会说多种语言, and he did not graduate from an Ivy League school (though he did return for a master’s degree at Georgetown University, 让我申请了那里的本科, 可惜没有被接受). 他是这么说的:这需要勇气.
“With encouragement from my advisor Cathleen Robinson and the amazing faculty at Williston, 后来在大学和法学院….我对国际事务的兴趣就是从这里开始的.
“多年后，我实现了在国际上生活和工作的目标. I completed law school and was working in a law firm when I realized there was something else I was meant to do!
“I applied to work with the American Bar Association Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative implementing an ambitious rule of law program in the former Soviet Union aiming to replace the old legal system with a modern one.
“I am sure you know that the Soviet Union began its spectacular collapse in 1989, 最终于1991年解散. 该政权的悲剧性后果包括功能失调, 法律制度难以接近和过时. Millions of people in dozens of new independent states had their rights stripped, 他们的土地被没收, their families splintered – they needed lawyers and functioning courts to restore them.
此外，法学院也需要全面改革和现代化. 法律诊所是满足这两种需求的一种方式, 法治项目的一个主要特点是建立法律诊所.
“在北部一所大学开设法律诊所的第一年, over 30 people were helped to reclaim their passports and other official documents taken from them by traffickers when they were trafficked abroad for labor and sexual exploitation. The fact they had found their way home was a miracle, but their lives were in tatters. Moldova was one of the hardest hit by trafficking in persons of all the new independent states.
“Children were left behind with grandparents while young parents went to look for work abroad, 希望他们的机会是合法的，而不是一个骗局. 一些家长没有回来. 祖父母需要合法的监护权和支持来抚养这些孩子. 留守的年轻父母需要卖房子, 再婚, 获得联合基金……所有这些都需要法律帮助. 更好的法律. 这只是人口贩卖的连锁反应.
“A curious case we helped file with the European Court of Human Rights involved the restricted access of farmers to their own land each day because it lay on the other side of the border with the unrecognized breakaway republic of Transnistria. 这一案件的解决有利于农民，但问题仍在继续.
“我在摩尔多瓦生活的时候, I also had the incredible honor of participating in election monitoring during the Orange Revolution in 乌克兰 and Moldova’s own nascent attempt at a “color revolution” as they came to be called.
“Toc尤先科! was heard on the streets of Kyiv in the fall of 2004 as the people protested corruption and tried to bring in a western leaning leader. As one of the many election monitoring teams traveling around the country that cold winter, my friend and I found ourselves bundled into unheated public buildings to watch the count of ballots. The most interesting was the voting taking place late in the night within the large prison outside of Kyiv. 穿着LL Bean的大衣瑟瑟发抖, we were escorted by heavily armed and masked guards for our safety and sat for several hours as hundreds of prisoners were paraded through to vote. 没有观察到不一致.
一路走来, 我可以以一种完全不同的方式生活, 学习新语言, 尝试新食物, make new friends and family (I have a goddaughter in 荷兰 and a godson in Moldova!), 我在俄罗斯旅行了3年, 白俄罗斯, 乌兹别克斯坦, 塞尔维亚, 乌克兰, 波兰, 火鸡, 约旦, 塞浦路斯, 埃及, 捷克共和国, 匈牙利, 荷兰, 奥地利, 当然还有我的家乡摩尔多瓦.
当时，美国正在领导伊拉克的联军临时管理当局. 但不涉及细节, 留给你们的历史老师吧, 我所到之处都能感受到这种影响. 还有恐惧. 害怕我们，害怕他们，害怕未知.
“And I remembered the words of the foreign service officer who spoke at my senior assembly: it takes courage. The kind of courage that draws on inner strength, sound judgment, and a little bravery.
“那时我意识到，勇气并不总是对我们自己的恐惧做出的反应. 它也可以是对他人恐惧的反应. 人们害怕我——也许是因为我是美国人, 或者我是个女人, 或者我是个律师, 或者我是一个陌生人, or some other reason — and I needed courage to put myself out there despite that.
“坚持超越你的邮政编码, 探索和拥抱差异, 探索世界需要勇气!
“The world is polarized over so many issues, from politics to religion to health. 它几乎让你想通过互联网来代替你的生活! 你知道吗? 有些人是. 这滋生了不宽容和极端主义.
“至于我，回到华盛顿特区生活后，我继续旅行. 我在工作过的国家名单上又增加了不少国家, 包括日本, 牙买加, 印度, 尼泊尔, 斐济和北马里亚纳群岛. 我经营了一个非营利组织致力于打击各国的儿童性交易, 包括美国. I saw some things I wished I hadn’t… but I also saw things that kept me curious and motivated.
“Sometimes those two things happened at the same time: walking through the red light district of Mumbai to a worship service in the attic of an old commercial building with trafficked women and children was shocking and made me recommit to fighting slavery. Waiting in an adjoining hotel room to receive the girl being sold to undercover police in a sting in 牙买加 and connect her to safety crushed and crazed me at the same time.
“现在我有两个小孩, 对我来说，带着他们一起冒险需要很大的勇气. 逻辑上和情感上. 但是我会的.