Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, theologian, musician, and medical doctor, functions as one of the guiding spirits of Chapman University. Schweitzer was an advocate of reverence for all of life—human, animal, and plant—but it is clear that he had a special place in his heart for children. He and his wife had one child, a very special person who has been a friend of Chapman University and the Schweitzer Institute, and he delivered countless babies and treated countless children in his five decades as a medical doctor in Lambaréné in Gabon. It is thus very appropriate that the recipient of this year’s Albert Schweitzer Award of Excellence, the Orange County-based organization Tias Arms, is devoted to the children of South Africa.
Tias Arms is addressing the AIDS epidemic that has been ravaging much of Africa by working to provide shelter, comfort, education, and care for the hundreds of thousands of children whose lives have been severely impacted by HIV/AIDS in South Africa and who are the innocent victims of the devastation caused by AIDS. Founded by Ms. Joanne Baker, a native of South Africa, Tias Arms joins forces with African groups by raising funds to feed, clothe, educate, and nurture orphaned and abandoned children. One such group is Hokisa (“Homes for Kids in South Africa”), and the co-founder of Hokisa, Professor Karin Chubb, educator, author, and activist against apartheid, is with us on the stage today. Through such collaboration Tias Arms is making a difference in the world by extending the arms of love, in very concrete ways, to beautiful, gifted, and needy children of South Africa.
Joanne, we are pleased and honored that you could join us today, along with board members and supporters of Tias Arms. We are painfully aware that there is far too much irreverence for life in the world today, but we are encouraged and inspired by organizations like Tias Arms. We believe that Tias Arms exemplifies the humane spirit of Albert Schweitzer, and we are delighted to present you with the 2008 Schweitzer Award of Excellence.
Marvin Meyer, Ph.D.
Director, Chapman University Albert Schweitzer Institute