Dr. Cedric and Norma Emery

Baha’i Human Rights Awards: Emerys, SI Camino Real lauded

December 29, 2004
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesPerhaps no one typifies the remarks of United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan more than the Emerys, a husband and wife team - Dr. Cedric and Norma, an RN – when he said “We must put people at the center of everything we do. No calling is more noble, and no responsibility greater, than that of enabling men, women and children, in cities and in villages around the world, to make their lives better.”The Emerys of Santa Paula were lauded for selfless service that encompasses teaching, healthcare and concern for upraising the treatment of the disadvantaged in Afghanistan by Baha’i at a gala awards luncheon held December 5 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.Also honored with the 14th Annual Baha’i Human Rights Awards were Soroptimist International Camino Real Region – which includes Santa Paula – and Interface Children Family Services Program Manager Dr. Mark Lisagor of Camarillo.The Emerys are a remarkably dedicated couple who first met in 1967 while she was in the Peace Corp in Afghanistan and Cedric was a physician supporting the volunteers with medical care. From Norma’s compassion for the children of a Kabul orphanage, where she volunteers and raises funds stateside to better the lives of the orphans, to Cedric’s dedicated work at the Aliabad Hospital, where he teaches new medical and surgical techniques in urology, procures much needed new equipment, training locals in its use - the dynamic team makes a real difference, partnering with other doctors and residents to save lives. Norma also trains operating room personnel in Afghanistan. By their very presence and efforts on behalf of the Afghan people, the Emerys also serve as unofficial goodwill ambassadors for America.
The Emerys find those deserving of praise to be the spirit of the Afghan people, both noting that they had never heard anyone complaining about their plight. Norma explained that in Afghanistan, when someone says that one is beautiful, the Afghans reply “You see me through beautiful eyes.” Norma then accepted the 2004 Human Rights Award – presented by Annette Donner – noting to the almost 400 in attendance, “You see us through good and appreciative eyes.”Norma has been honored by Soroptimist International of Santa Paula as a Woman of Distinction, a chapter of the international professional women’s organization also honored with a Baha’i Human Rights Award. Soroptimist International has worked tirelessly around the globe to uphold the rights of women through “awareness, advocacy and action.” Camino Real Region Governor Brooke Stephens accepted the award with pride, noting that many people are unaware of the work done by the women of Soroptimist International, as “We are a very good, well-kept secret.” Former SISP President Jane Lax accepted the award on behalf of Soroptimist International of Santa Paula.The event commemorated the 56th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Keynote speaker Professor Brian Lepard, member of the law faculty at the University of Nebraska, and a noted writer and scholar on international human rights law, centered his talk on “Eradicating Violence Against Women: The Need for Local Solutions to a Global Epidemic.”

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