by Megan Thomas
On Saturday 14th October 2017, Hillary Clinton visited the Great Hall at Swansea University’s Bay Campus to receive an honorary doctorate and to unveil a commemorative stone to mark the renaming of the University’s College of Law and Criminology to the Hillary Rodham Clinton school of Law.
The ceremony itself was held inside the Great Hall, graduates and our own Full-Time Officers Shona Johnson, Chris Freestone, Chisomo Phiri and Emily Rees lead the procession before Clinton herself came through the hall. The introductory speech began, detailing Hillary Clinton’s proud Welsh ancestry (she is a third Welsh!) and in what would become a recurring theme throughout the night, her fantastic work supporting the rights of children.
Vice Chancellor Richard B. Davies gave both a fantastic speech and our first Trump mention of the night before Clinton was presented with a book outlining her rich Welsh ancestry. A book researched by Swansea University staff members!
Professor Elwen Evans QC, head of Swansea’s School of Law gave Hillary’s introduction. Placing emphasis on human rights and the importance of fighting for them while practicing law. Alongside the new observatory that will be within Swansea’s Law School.
“To have this come, almost full circle, is a personal delight”, Hilary began her speech talking about her Welsh heritage and the surprising places that they come out, including the suspicious similarities between Hillary’s campaign slogan “stronger together” and the Welsh football teams “together stronger”, her Welsh roots clearly cannot contain themselves. Clinton revealed that this will not be a one-off event, she is proud of her Welsh heritage and Swansea University, she will even be coming back to Bay Campus in the future!
However the heart of this event isn’t Clinton, it isn’t the new law school or even strong Welsh roots. The heart of this event is the suffering children who do not get access to the basic human rights that they need. It is the quarter of children living in poverty, the widespread problem of human trafficking, racial bias in the courts, ever-increasing divisions within the international community (Clinton is definitely a remainer) and the desperate need for empathy. “When we fail children, we fail ourselves and we fail as a society” it is these powerful words that really contain what this honour means. We are not inviting Clinton here just for a nice new building or a prestigious name. She is here to create long-lasting change in our society, both within the UK and globally.