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Hunt, with honors

Swanee Hunt ’72 is now director of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School. She shared the following thoughts during an informal question and answer forum on campus following Honors convocation April 15.

Hunt, with honors

Swanee Hunt ’72 is now director of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School. She shared the following thoughts during an informal question and answer forum on campus following Honors convocation April 15.

It was 1997, Swanee Hunt recalled, the 50th anniversary of the U.S. liberation of Hitler’s concentration camp in Austria. The U.S. Ambassador to Austria at the time, Hunt heard thanks in 17 languages, she said. “And I would have felt wonderful, if I hadn’t known that back on my desk in Vienna was a pile of reports about the impending massacres in Bosnia.

“And I knew that I wasn’t able to stop it.”

She later helped survivors pay tribute to those murdered in the Srebreniza massacre, where 8,000 unarmed Muslim men and boys, in 36 hours, were killed and piled into heaps.

That’s happening right now in Kosovo, Hunt said. “You know those pictures of 500,000 people that you see on the news? There were 400,000 people displaced over the winter, into the snow, when we didn’t have television cameras. That was the only difference. The television cameras weren’t there yet.

“This is not about Yugoslavia; this is not about various people being put together; this is about what it takes to live in a multicultural society,” she said. “It’s the same argument I grew up with in Dallas, Texas, or that we have here in Fort Worth among people who start talking about those ‘other’ people.

“Some say we cannot be the world’s policemen. Does that mean we do nothing when we can? I’m of the mind that you have to do what you think you have a chance of success at doing.

“Sometimes, not responding with military action is the most violent thing you can do.”

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