Skip to main content

Statement at the Vigil for the Victims and Survivors of the South Asian Earthquake

The Memorial Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts

To those gathered at the vigil tonight,

All of us are deeply saddened by the devastation and suffering caused by the disastrous earthquake in South Asia that has taken some 80,000 lives and left more than 4 million people homeless. Though the earthquake occurred far from our campus, all of us witnessing this tragedy feel a strong sense of anguish and personal loss. Sadly, for some members of our community, this anguish has been even more immediate, as you have waited to learn the fates of your family, friends, and loved ones. To all those touched by this catastrophe, I offer my deepest sympathy.

Thank you to those who have made tonight’s vigil a possibility and to all of you here tonight. I wish I had been able to join you. Thank you as well to those of you who have made or intend to make donations to the relief effort. Your contributions are very important to the millions of displaced people whose lives are still at stake, and who are in great need of support before the cold of winter sets in.

Your being here tonight reflects an admirable sense of commitment and compassion. I hope that you will hold onto these values throughout your lives. Such expressions of empathy and generosity in the face of terrible adversity make our world a better place.

Lawrence H. Summers