Humanitarian Encourages Students to Be a Force for Good

Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News staff writer

  • 6 October 2015

Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne, Chairman of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation, addresses BYU students on September 22.  Photo by Jaren Wilkey, BYU.

Article Highlights

  • Baroness Nicholson spoke to 8,000 students at Brigham Young University.
  • Nicholson is founder of AMAR, an international charity that helps communities faced with conflict.
  • Through AMAR, Baroness Nicholson has developed a close partnership and friendship with LDS Charities and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.

“Success is rated by how you manage within the circumstances you find yourself. And if those circumstances are unprepossessing, success is ranked by your ability to change them.” —Baroness Emma Nicolson, founder and chair of AMAR

In any situation or field of human action, “success is rated by how you manage within the circumstances you find yourself,” Baroness Emma Nicholson said on September 22. “And if those circumstances are unprepossessing, success is ranked by your ability to change them.”

Baroness Nicholson—a member of the UK House of Lords and founder and chair of AMAR, an international charity that helps communities faced with conflict—offered her remarks to 8,000 BYU students during the university’s weekly forum, held in the Marriott Center.

Baroness Nicholson spoke of a young Yazidi victim of ISIL, noting that this young woman’s “great success was to remain alive.”

This “sweet-natured and gentle Yazidi girl, all of 16 years old, succeeded against all odds,” she said.

In recent years, AMAR has worked with other organizations to relieve the suffering of individuals, such as the young Yazidi girl, in areas of conflict around the world. Baroness Nicholson has developed a close partnership and friendship with LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of the Church.

Baroness Nicholson said the approach of AMAR mirrors the approach of LDS Charities.

“It is no coincidence that 18 months ago I signed a powerful friendship and cooperation agreement, entitled ‘A Memorandum of Understanding between LDS Charities and the AMAR Foundation.’”

Because of the cooperation between AMAR and LDS Charities, Baroness Nicholson had the opportunity to meet Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles two years ago.

Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne, Chairman of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation, addresses BYU students on September 22. Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU.

Baroness Nicholson made it possible for Elder Holland to speak before the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Foreign Affairs of the British Parliament last June.

Elder Holland introduced Baroness Nicholson at the BYU forum, calling her “a compassionate and caring human being of the first order and a very formidable political force of nature.”

Since their first meeting, which laid the groundwork for a wonderful friendship, Elder Holland said he continues to “admire her tenacity and moral determination, all that she puts into addressing the tragedies, both personal and public, that we see stemming from conflict in the world, particularly religious conflict and particularly in the Middle East.”

Elder Holland said it was nearly 25 years ago that Baroness Nicholson founded AMAR. Since then, that foundation has grown to provide broad aid to and public support for a wide variety of refugees and displaced persons throughout the Middle East region, providing them with food, water, clothing, shelter, health care services, and rehabilitative education, he said.

Baroness Nicholson has “embraced wholeheartedly the Savior’s teaching that if we have done it unto the least of those among us, we have done it unto Him,” Elder Holland said.

During her remarks at BYU, Baroness Nicholson said her desire to help others led her to decide early to enter politics.

“I believe profoundly that our wholes lives must be committed to embracing the values that the common good enshrines,” she said.

Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne, Chairman of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation, addresses BYU students on September 22. Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU.

Baroness Emma Nicholson speaks to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve and BYU President Kevin J. Worthen after a BYU forum in the Marriott Center on September 22. Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles introduces Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne, Chairman of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation, during a BYU forum on September 22. Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU.