Baroness Emma Nicholson addressed 8,000 Brigham Young University students gathered for a university forum Tuesday, September 22, telling them, "I believe profoundly that our whole lives must be committed to embracing the values that 'the common good' enshrines." Nicholson is a member of the UK House of Lords and founder and chair of AMAR, an international charity that helps communities in the Middle East faced with conflict.
Developing a close partnership and "friendship" with LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in recent years is one of Nicholson's many efforts to partner with others to relieve the suffering of individuals around the world, and particularly in areas of conflict.
In introducing Baroness Nicholson at the forum and speaking of her humanitarian work and friendship with the Church, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, "She has embraced wholeheartedly the Savior's teaching that if you have done it unto the least of those among us, we have done it unto Him."
Since its founding 25 years ago by Baroness Nicholson, the AMAR Foundation has grown to "provide broad aid to and public support for a wide variety of refugees and displaced persons throughout the Middle East region," Elder Holland said. "Truly, Emma has and continues to make her personal contribution to the millennial dream of beating swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks."
Baroness Nicholson said societies in fragile states need help because they "too often lack the vitally important pillars of a free society: democracy, the freedom of each individual to worship, work, own goods and property; for all citizens to be free from hunger, poverty and distress and to be able to raise families in peace and prosperity within the safety of the rule of law."
Among the work AMAR is doing, Baroness Nicholson said its Iraqi medical team cares for one million patients and its Iraqi teachers serve over 180,000 students of all ages. "All of this work is carried out vocationally and at a fraction of the normal cost," Nicholson said. The partnership of LDS Charities with AMAR is enabling the “swift building” of a health center to help Iraqi refugees, she said.
In June of this year, Elder Holland, at the invitation of Baroness Nicholson, addressed the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Foreign Affairs in the UK House of Lords on the role of humanitarian aid in areas where there is religious conflict. In her speech today, Baroness Nicholson pointed out that the deputy prime minister of Iraq, Dr. Roche Shaways, attended the meeting to hear Elder Holland speak and that the "truly memorable speech" continues to be discussed.
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