Friday evening, I was very privileged to attend a lecture from Justice Albie Sachs. Justice Sachs has been a human rights activist for all his life. Growing up in South Africa, he faced regular threat from the apartheid government. He was a refugee in the United Kingdom and elsewhere multiple times. I really encourage you to read some more notes on him from the link above (good old Wikipedia) - he truly is fascinating! In addition to racial justice activism, he authored South Africa's Constitutional Court decision to legalize gay marriage.
Justice Sachs was giving a lecture on behalf of CARA, the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics. He discussed the importance of welcoming refugees, focusing on refugees' skills and talents to include them in society, etc. I really appreciated his honesty, in admitting that his gratitude for the UK on taking him in while he was on the run was tempered by a good deal of anger at the UK for its colonial history and enduring racism. Great quotations and themes from the night include "humanizing dialogue," "there's something subordinating about gratitude" - affection is better, "nobody's anointed by history to be good," how the sharing of ideas and academic movement is "internationalism at its highest," and, my personal favourite: "the good doesn't wipe out the bad, but the bad doesn't destroy the good."
I am now the happy and proud owner of a signed copy of "The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law."