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Friday, May 12, 2006

Columbia Honors Payá

From OpinionJournal:

College graduation season is upon us, and once again the list of commencement speakers and honorary-degree recipients makes interesting reading. Some are perennials on the May-June diploma circuit, like the famous faces--Tom Brokaw, Hillary Clinton--from show business and politics. Others are local figures well known chiefly to the audience they will be addressing.

Yet this year one man's name stands out, and not only because of his personal accomplishments. By conferring a Doctor of Laws degree on Cuban opposition leader Oswaldo Payá, Columbia University effectively honors every person in Cuba who shares his burden, dreams and goals.

A Columbia press release about the award summarizes those goals: "As a prominent human-rights organizer and director of the Varela Project, an effort to democratize Cuba's political system, Payá is celebrated as an agent of nonviolent change.

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