Honorable Curtis Roosevelt visits GSD
For Human Rights Day 2010, GSD was privileged to begin the close-out of a successful 2010 with the visit to the university in December of the Honorable Curtis Roosevelt.
As part of its Special Guest Programme Professor Roosevelt was the invitee for the final Monthly Guest Lunch of the year. At the special lunch in the Soldati Room on the GSD campus, decorated for the occasion with all the flags of the UN, Curtis Roosevelt addressed some fifty GSD students and faculty and introduced his new book, Too Close To The Sun - Growing Up in the White House in the Shadow of Franklin and Eleanor (Public Affairs, New York 2009).
Curtis Roosevelt - writer, political analyst, historian - is a Visiting Professor at GSD. And, as a special friend of GSD, Professor Roosevelt, at the lunch, fascinated a new generation of students with the compelling and insightful memories of his some 13 years spent in the White House in Washington.
Referring to his book, Mr. Roosevelt spoke movingly of the many years he spent at the dinner table of President Franklin and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. With the divorce of his own parents, Curtis Roosevelt spent much of his boyhood and youth in the company of his grandparents - the American President and his wife.
In Curtis Roosevelt’s observation, modern politics were too often petty or small-minded compared to the great historical issues dealt with, and so often mastered, by his grandparents. Leading the Free World in its life-and-death struggle with the Axis Powers, while in parallel leading the world out of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt was nevertheless often able to overcome great political as well as physical challenges without the plethora of committees and advisors so often needed nowadays by modern presidents.
Curtis Roosevelt spoke also of his work as a young man (in modern parlance, as an “Intern”), helping his grandmother guide the difficult diplomatic process that ultimately produced the historic Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet Eleanor Roosevelt, her grandson explained, was often more comfortable serving humanity as a whole than her immediate family. No less committed to that family, she was, nevertheless, often shy and awkward: the title of Dr. Roosevelt’s book, Too Close To The Sun, was indeed, felicitous.
The GSD students present at this last Monthly Guest Lunch of the year unanimously expressed delight with Curtis Roosevelt’s talk. An informal buffet lunch, in a fine and warm atmosphere, was served following Dr Roosevelt’s speech.
It was a fitting event to mark Human Rights Day, 10 December 2010. At the lunch’s end, students then returned to their class - in the GSD Roosevelt Room (Franklin & Eleanor)!