Atlantic Council

2015 Global Citizen Awards

Juan Manuel Santos,
President of Colombia

Henry Kissinger,
Former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser;
Board Member, Atlantic Council

Mario Draghi,
President, European Central Bank,
European Union

Yu Long,
Artistic Director, China Philharmonic;
Founder and Artistic Director, Beijing Music Festival

Jon Huntsman,
Atlantic Council

Frederick Kempe,
President and CEO,
Atlantic Council

Joseph Biden,
Vice President of the United States

Victor L.L. Chu,
Chairman and CEO, First Eastern Investment Group;
Chairman, Global Citizen Awards

General Brent Scowcroft,
Chairman, International Advisory Board,
Atlantic Council

Christine Lagarde,
Managing Director,
International Monetary Fund

Klaus Schwab,
Founder and Executive Chairman,
World Economic Forum

Location: American Museum of Natural History, New York City, New York

Date: Thursday, October 1, 2015

Transcript By
Superior Transcriptions LLC

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Atlantic Council chairman of the board, Governor Jon Huntsman. (Applause.)

JON HUNTSMAN: Thank you and good evening. Distinguished honorees who are backstage with us; General Brent Scowcroft, former board chair of the great organization, the Atlantic Council, and my predecessor; dinner co-chairs and members of the Atlantic Council Board and International Advisory Board; ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, welcome to 6th Annual Atlantic Council Global Citizen Awards Dinner. (Applause.)

And thank you so very much, all of you, for being with us here tonight. This is really an incredible group. And I have to let you all know, it’s our largest ever. So you’re making a little bit of history tonight. We’re proud of that. (Applause.) Each year, on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, the Atlantic Council’s Global Citizen Awards shine a light on exceptional individuals who work to improve the state of the world. Our aim is to celebrate these individuals and their incredible work, and through them inspire others to contribute.

Seldom has the world been so urgently in need of the sort of leadership we celebrate here tonight. When we gathered at this dinner last year, the world faced a host of challenges that included a resurgent Russia exerting pressures on Europe’s east, and the alarming spread of extremist factions and violence throughout the Middle East and North Africa. One year later, we stand witness to the costs of insufficient creativity, action, and common purpose among the United States and its friends and allies around the world.

At a time when we are engaged in a new presidential campaign cycle, where it is already abundantly clear that the debate over America’s role in the world will be a critical factor, we are confronted with the harsh reality that if we and our friends and allies don’t step up, less benevolent actors or chaos will fill the void. So that has made the Atlantic Council’s founding purpose, exercised now for more than 55 years, and the Council’s current mission more crucial than ever before: Working together to secure the future. So tonight, we celebrate four individuals. But beyond that, we celebrate a more fundamental idea that through common purpose and inspired leadership, we can navigate our way to a better outcome together.

In that spirit, tonight we celebrate Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for, among other accomplishments, his unwavering commitment to democracy and to ending the armed conflict with the revolutionary armed forces of Colombia. (Applause.) As we saw, that effort took a giant step forward last week with the announcement of an agreement committing both sides to a definitive peace deal within six months. We honor Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, for his leadership in developing vigorous solutions – (applause) – for his leadership in developing vigorous solutions for the myriad challenges facing Europe and the eurozone, helping preserve the European Union against the most disruptive consequences of the euro crisis.

We salute legendary artistic director and chief conductor of the Chinese Philharmonic Orchestra Yu Long – (applause) – who delivers musical brilliance, even as he bridges communities throughout his work, within China, across generations and, indeed, around the world. And we celebrate our friend, Henry Kissinger – (applause) – Nobel Prize winner, former secretary of state, and perhaps the premier strategic thinker, author and policymaker of our times, with our Distinguished Service Award, honoring his lifetime achievements on behalf of the mission that the Atlantic Council represents.

So not a bad way to spend a Thursday evening, I’d say, folks. It is my great honor now to invite to the stage the Atlantic Council president and CEO, Mr. Fred Kemp. (Applause.)

FREDERICK KEMPE: Thank you, Governor. It’s such an honor to work with you. You embody what the Atlantic Council is all about. You’re principled, you’re purposeful, you’re effective, and you’re committed to working in a nonpartisan manner at home and a multilateral manner abroad. Thanks as well to Mary Kaye Huntsman for all she does as an Atlantic Council ambassador, and to your enormously talented family and offspring, two of whom are here tonight. Mary Anne – where are you Mary Anne? Mary Anne – (applause) – thank you. Concert pianist of remarkable artistry, who I saw perform recently in Beijing with Maestro Yu Long, you are an incredible talent. And Abby Huntsman – Abby, where are you – who bring such substance and style to her television and radio work.

Please welcome me – please join me as well in welcoming and thanking Victor Chu, remarkable business leader – (applause) – remarkable business leader and the founder of these awards, and a member of the Atlantic Council International Advisory Board. You’ll hear from him a little bit later on. Thanks to your vision, Victor, we are convening this, the 6th Annual Global Citizens Awards, which began with the Atlantic Council’s wise decision to salute Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum, as our inaugural awardee. Professor Schwab, thank you for being here again tonight, and thanks for all you do for the world. (Applause.)

As you look around you, you will see a remarkable audience of more than 450 individuals. Among them are heads of state and government, Cabinet ministers, global business executives, civil society leaders, and top media. There is even a very large whale – (laughter) – suspended above you. But speaking of the top media, I want to make clear to everyone in this room, this whole dinner is on the record. So, Vice President Biden, if there’s anything you’d like to announce tonight. (Laughter, applause.)

You all gather here in a week when the urgency of our mission is in stark relief. We have a refugee crisis of historic dimensions. Ukraine still struggles for its sovereignty – we’re delighted that so many Ukrainian representatives are here tonight – as Europe struggles for a Europe whole and free, both against external and internal threats. Russian bombs are falling in Syria. The Taliban advances in Afghanistan as extremisms spreads elsewhere. The impact of Pope Francis and President Xi Jinping’s visits to the U.S. are still resonating. The community that you all represent offers promise, offers great hope for the future. But there are also significant dangers if we don’t work more effectively together to secure the future. And as you heard from Governor Huntsman, that is the purpose, that is the mission that galvanizes all of us at the Atlantic Council.

Next week marks the 25th anniversary of German unification. And it’s a good time to recall how our common cause resulted in a peaceful and successful end to the Cold War that brought democracy to millions. At a ceremony next week in Washington involving Secretary of State John Kerry and German President Joachim Gauck, the Atlantic Council will transfer a three-ton piece of Berlin Wall that was given to us as a gift, signed by many of the leaders who helped bring it down, to the State Department’s new diplomacy museum. (Applause.) German ambassador to the U.S., Peter Wittig, is here tonight. Thank you, Ambassador Wittig, for your leading role in this significant project, which symbolizing for all time how purposeful diplomacy, backed with strength and consistency, can change the world.

In that spirit, let me acknowledge some unique individuals in the audience. First, I salute previous Atlantic Council award recipients who are here tonight, and please hold your applause until I have named them all: Dr. Henry Kissinger, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Coca-Cola Chief Executive Muthar Kent, General Brent Scowcroft, Former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, Professor Klaus Schwab, and, of course, Vice President of the United States Joe Biden. It’s wonderful to have you all here tonight, gentlemen. (Applause.)

It is my pleasure to welcome the following sitting and former heads of state and government. In addition to tonight’s awardee, President Santos of Colombia and President Kwasniewski who I mentioned, please also mention President Irakli Garibashvili of Georgia, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic of Croatia, former Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. Also welcome Vice Prime Minister of Georgia Kvirikashvili, the Deputy Prime Minister of Slovakia Lajcak, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Mali Diop, the Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, the Minister of Planning of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Imad Fakhoury, and Princess Firyal al-Muhammed of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It is an honor to have you all with us. (Applause.)

Finally, let me thank members of our international advisory board, the Council’s board of directors, and the directors of the Atlantic Council’s 10 programs and centers. And now, a very special salute, to my remarkable Executive Vice President Paige Ennis, who produces this and all these great events. This is her last awards dinner as a Council employee, unless you can all convince her during the breaks. (Laughter.) She is the best in the business, along with our Events Director Julie Varghese, and their can-do team. Please salute Paige and Julie and their teams. (Cheers, applause.) Speaking of best in the business, thanks also to Richard Edelman, one of our top board directors, and his media team for their pro-bono help, again, around this event. Thank you, Richard. (Applause.)

It is now my pleasure to introduce the Vice President of the United States Joe Biden. No man knows better the challenges we face, nor applies more wisdom and skill to addressing them. It’s a sign of his understanding of leadership and the challenges leaders face that he wanted to be here tonight to introduce President Santos for his award. During the vice president’s six full terms in Congress, then-Senator Biden provided critical bipartisan leadership to the cause of stopping genocide in the Balkans and bringing former Warsaw Pact countries into NATO, among countless other accomplishments. During his two terms as the 47th vice president of the United States, he has established himself perhaps as the most influential and effective individual to ever hold that office. Sounds like pretty good preparation for other positions. (Laughter, applause.) Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming the 47th Vice President of the United States Joe Biden. (Applause.)

VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN: Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you. Please, sit down. (Applause.) Please, thank you very, very much. If we applaud much more that whale’s going to fall out of the sky. (Laughter.)

Thank you for that gracious introduction. I’m going to begin the way no speaker should, with an apology. I am woefully underdressed. And I apologize. But I had another commitment earlier, and when Adrienne Arsht asked me to do this – I’ve been deathly afraid of Adrienne my whole life. (Laughter.) She’s a child compared to me, but her family have been incredibly influential and positive actors in the state of Delaware. I kid her the reason I got elected, Dr. Kissinger, to the Senate at age 29, her father was the most prominent corporate lawyer in the state of Delaware. And I was a young lawyer, was a councilman. I’m the first United States Senator I ever knew. (Laughter.)

And I – and her father literally sort of leaned down and gave me the blessing and said: I think he would be a great Senator, and endorsed me. And I really mean this, I don’t think I would have had a chance had he not been the first consequential and respected figured in the state to endorse me. And so I owe Adrienne a lot because of her family and all the great things she’s done. And this Atlantic Council, along with Governor Huntsman the chairman and Fred the CEO, and Adrienne, I want to thank you for allowing me to be here tonight. (Applause.)

I do have an announcement to make. (Laughter.) I am still intimidated by Dr. Kissinger. (Laughter.) As has been the way my whole life, and – my whole adult life. But ladies and gentlemen, all the honorees tonight – President Draghi, you have an incredibly difficult job, you handle with such skill. And I also – Yu Long, I was saying that my – if I had the chance to have my picture taken with a peacemaker or a music maker. And you bring such joy and – to so many people and such pride to your country that it’s an honor to be with you as well. And ladies and gentlemen, my deepest congratulations and thanks to the honorees tonight.

But tonight, ladies and gentlemen, it’s my particular honor to celebrate a dear friend. We’ve been friends for some time. President Santos has been a man of vision, a man of service. And he has affirmed, once and again, a man of peace. We go back a long way. When I first visited Colombia in the ’90s and then in 2000, I was, as Dr. Kissinger may remember and Brent Scowcroft and others, drafted out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a plan called Plan Colombia. Colombia was teetering on the brink of becoming a failed state. The economy was in shambles, the country wracked by violence from drug cartels, and guerilla groups, and paramilitaries.

And the idea of peace in Colombia was almost unthinkable 15 years ago. So the fact that Colombia has come so far so fast, in such a short time, in the face of such incredible obstacles, is a testament to the commitment of its leaders and the resilience of its people. I was proud, as I said, to be one of the architects of Plan Colombia in the Senate, and worked with my Republican as well as Democratic colleagues. And we knew – we knew that it would be a game-changer in both our countries if we could help Colombia move beyond the battling cartels to become a strong regional partner.

President Santos as his predecessors have heard me say over the last 20 years that I think that Colombia’s the keystone to the hemisphere. This is the first time in any of our lifetimes you can look at the Western Hemisphere, from Canada to the tip of Argentina and Chile, and see a hemisphere that whole and free and democratic and secure. We’re not quite there yet, but it’s within our reach. And it’s been in our reach because we have determined men, like the man we’re going to honor next. But it was the Colombian people who did all the hard work and demanded change. They took ownership of their future, and our contributions to Plan Colombia was only a small fraction of what the Colombian government did and the chances its leaders took.

With hard work and unwavering commitment, the people of Colombia have reclaimed their nation. As I said, back those days I served on the Foreign Relations Committee. And during much of this progress, I can tell you, President Santos was there at every step. In the ’90s, he was the minister of trade. And he helped open up Colombia – the Colombian economy, so the Colombian people could take advantage of new opportunities. As minister of finance in the early 2000s, he helped steer Colombia out of the worst recession they went through in 70 years.

As the minister of defense, he oversaw the rescue of three Americans who had been held hostage by the FARC for five years. And we were so grateful to President Santos and to President Uribe, at the time, that the troops who engaged in the rescue and brought our boys home I had an opportunity to personally thank. Now, as president, he’s working to end one of the longest-running conflicts in the world, so that the Colombian people can live in greater peace and greater stability.

So as I said, he’s a man of service and a man of peace. And I know he’s a man of great vision for the future of his country and the future of Colombia’s relationship with the United States. With our bilateral trade agreement, trade between the United States and Colombia has grown over by over $40 billion a year. But there’s no reason that can’t be doubled or even tripled in the near term of we can – Colombia can deliver on the promise of this peace agreement.

A Colombia that’s at peace is a Colombia that can take full advantage of the use of its land. Farmers can plant their fields without worrying about stepping on landmines. Citizens can pursue their dreams, free of the fears of extortion and kidnapping. And as a nation, Colombia can continue and contribute more as we take on the global challenges that impact on our future. I’ve said many times that Colombia’s success is in the overwhelming self-interest of the United States of America.

They’re already an indispensable partner for us in the Americas, especially in Central America. And I see no limits on what our partnership can accomplish when Colombian citizens are no longer fettered by the violence and strife that continue to exist in some parts. So let me say, as the people of Colombia continue working toward a lasting peace and greater prosperity, the United States will continue to be their strongest ally and their closest friend.

So for his vision for our shared future, for his service to the people of Colombia, for his commitment to peace, it’s my great honor to be able to present to my friend, President Santos, the Global Citizen Award. Ladies and gentlemen, the president of Colombia. (Sustained applause.)

(The award is presented.)

PRESIDENT JUAN MANUEL SANTOS: Good evening to everybody, Mr. Vice President. I want to distinguish also the president of Croatia and the president of Georgia, the president and CEO of the Atlantic Council and members of the board, fellow honorees, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, Mr. Vice President, for your very generous words. You have been a dear friend, a personal friend and a friend of Colombia, for many years. You have been witness to the transformation of our country. And I know that you truly understand how far we have come. It is a real honor for me, in the name of every Colombian, to be here with all of you tonight and to be able to accept this award.

The Atlantic Council has had a very positive change over the last decade. It has grown in influence. It’s taking on greater and more complex foreign policy challenges. The leadership of Fred Kempe has been present there, always. And Latin America is an exciting place. With all its variations, with all its problems, the Atlantic Council has been at the forefront of our reality. Thank you again for your support. Your work has helped reset the conversation in the hemisphere and across the Atlantic. It was also a stroke of genius to have selected Peter Schechter, who I have known for many, many years, to head the Adrienne Arsht Latin American Center. Peter understands the transformation. He knows the transformers. And has the connections to know what is really happening in Latin America, what is happening in my country.

We are living, as the Chinese would say, in interesting times. As the vice president said, 15 years ago we were on the verge of being declared a failed state. We were going through the worst economic crisis of the last 80 to 100 years. And what we have achieved today is the product of – the work of many people, but also the results of this special alliance, special friendship that we have always had with the United States. Fifteen years ago, when we were having those very, very severe problems, the United States gave us a hand. Vice President Biden was there. He was the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. He went to – with a delegation that was headed by then-President Clinton. And it was a bipartisan delegation. It was Democrats and Republicans. The speaker of the House was there. And both parties told the government: You must make Plan Colombia work. We have invested a great political capital. We must make this work.

That was 15 years ago. Today, we can say that Colombia is heading the pack in terms of economic growth, in terms of social inclusion. Colombia last year was a country that grew the fastest in all of Latin America of the medium and large economies. The country that created more employment, over 3 million new jobs. The country that reduced more poverty and extreme poverty. It’s a working democracy. And now, we are about to put the cherry on the cake by achieving, thank God, hopefully peace with the FARC after 50 years of war. We have done this – (applause) – it hasn’t been easy. We have had to make big sacrifices. But we have always had the United States on our side. And our friends, as the Vice President and friends from both parties, because this Plan Colombia was a bipartisan initiative. And I would say that it’s probably the most successful foreign policy bipartisan initiative that the United States has launched in the last 20, 25 years.

And we are very grateful, because if we are now close to having peace in our country, it is because the United States has been by our side. We reached an agreement with the FARC last week in Cuba. And this agreement was about the most difficult step, the most difficult decision that any peace process has to take anywhere in the world, the question of where do you draw the line between peace and justice. We came up with a very creative scheme, I think unprecedented in the world – first time that in a peace process the two parties set up a tribunal, special jurisdiction. There will be no impunity. The most responsible will go through the justice system. And we agreed to have certain points developed after we sign in order to keep the trend of social inclusion and economic growth.

Colombia in peace will another country. Three generations have been living in a country at war. Huge, huge, costs. Many people don’t realize how costly this war has been – more than 7 ½ million victims, displaced people, over the last years. And to be able to see the future – and hopefully in six months we will have a peaceful country. This is something that for us is a real game-changer. And again, this is something that we thank the United States for being on our side.

And this award – this award only encourages us to continue because we have a long way to go. If we have reduced poverty by 12 percent in the last five years, we still have a long way to go. We have a long way to go in economic growth, in closing the differences between the rich and the poor, the rich regions and the poor regions. We have a long way to go. But with peace, it will be much easier.

And I thank the Atlantic Council. I thank you all, in the name of Colombia, for this award. We will carry it humbly in our heart, and it will serve as a great encouragement to continue working for our democracy, for freedom, for progress in the region, in the Americas, and for this special, special relationship which we are proud of between the United States and Colombia. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

ANNOUNCER: Please welcome to the stage the chairman of the Atlantic Council’s International Advisory Board, General Brent Scowcroft. (Applause.)

GENERAL BRENT SCOWCROFT: Mr. Vice President, distinguished honorees, ladies and gentlemen, it’s great to be here with you.

Just a few words about our next honoree. A few years ago, when Bob Gates was secretary of defense and getting an award from the Atlantic Council, he looked at the front row – which included President George Bush, Sr., and other notables for whom he had worked – he remarked: “Once a staffer, always a staffer.” (Laughter.) It got a lot of laughs.

I should feel the same way introducing Henry Kissinger. It is for me an honor frequently repeated, though Henry may think of it is as my continuing duty after he rescued me from running the White House Military Office under President Nixon. Anyway, I certainly would have run through all the jokes about Henry Kissinger needing an introduction more than the audience did and so forth.

Henry Kissinger is rightly celebrated for his great strategic mind, his ability to summarize decades if not centuries of history in a few cogent lines. His book – his latest book, “World Order,” is an example of this, and his ability to think about contemporary issues in their broader and especially their historical context, coming up with options that few could have imagined in retrospect. He has remained a brilliant force the likes of which Washington has not seen since he left the State Department 38 years ago.

It’s unimaginable today that a secretary of state would concurrently hold the office of secretary of state and concurrently national security adviser. And today, for example, former secretaries of state actually seek the presidency just to get a meeting in the White House. (Laughter.) Seriously, most secretaries of state after their period in office gradually glide into history. Not so Henry. I believe he’s better-known in the world now than he was when he was secretary of state. He’s as much a person of principle as a person of power, and knows how to blend those two together in their proper proportion. Above all, he’s a person of great insight born of his long, long life love for his adopted country. And that’s not China, Henry. (Laughter.) He’s a person with few, if any, equals.

Now, Henry, you know the drill tonight – the honoree drill well. A famous person is invited to suit up and accept an award, and that’s a particularly fancy suit you have on tonight. The organization hopes attendees will contribute a lot of money to attend the dinner and be able to tell their friends, neighbors, colleagues: “Well, as Henry Kissinger personally told me last night.” Fred Kempe is the Henry Kissinger of think-tank fundraising, so please do not disappoint him in your remarks. (Laughter.)

Ladies and gentlemen, for his lifetime of accomplishments as a statesman, a strategist, a leader, a mentor and a dear friend, it is my great privilege to present the Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Service Award to the 56th secretary of state and the longest-lived Atlantic Council Board director, Henry Kissinger. (Applause.)

(The awards is presented.)

HENRY KISSINGER: They were negotiating with me whether I should stand on something so that you can see me. (Laughter.) Then they took it away because they thought it was beyond my capability to figure it out. (Laughter.)

It’s a great privilege to be here, to be introduced by Brent Scowcroft. He and I were colleagues 40 years ago, and it’s dangerous to bring us together because we are like two veterans of the 30 Years’ War who keep telling each other stories of our great adventures and the dramatic times through which we lived. And it was a dramatic time.

Brent, of course, went on to be security adviser to President Bush and to be one of our great national assets, to whom one could always turn in times of crisis. He was kind enough to mention that at one period I was both national security adviser and secretary of state. It was a unique period in American history because never before and never since have relations between the State Department and the White House been as good as they were. (Laughter.)

If we want to reflect about the challenges of our time, we can begin by comparing the situation of that period with the world today. Of course, there is some nostalgia for the Cold War, when dividing lines were clear and all we had to worry about was the extermination of humanity in a nuclear war. But in those days borders were relatively well-defined, conflicts were between states, and the complexities of the modern period had not yet appeared. In the present world, the challenge is not disagreements between states – although that exists – but the emergence of non-governed areas.

We have in the Middle East today four countries that are in – whose governments are not able to control their territory defined by international law. Would be Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. In those conditions, non-state organizations appear that can reach beyond their geographic locality but that are not governed by any principle of international law. In fact, many of them pride themselves on a flagrant violation of what the world considers international law.

What makes it even more complex is that there are countries that act both as states and as non-state actors. On the one hand they claim the participation in the United Nations, the attributes of sovereignty, and the general principles of international conduct. On the other, they support non-state organizations that undermine these principles in the various countries. And so we have not only the phenomenon of state against non-state organizations, but of state – of schizophrenic political units that act as both states and non-state organizations.

And when one looks at the kaleidoscope that emerges there, sometimes it used to be said the enemy of my enemy is my friend. But in the Middle East today, it’s perfectly possible that the enemy of our enemy is also an enemy. And then – so the challenge is how one can distill a concept of order out of – out of this complexity.

And of course, the Middle East is not the only unsettled area in the world. The emergence of China, of India will change the distribution of power in reflecting about international order. So that is the big challenge of our time.

When I first became involved in international affairs, the challenge seemed to be how one can prevent a military aggression across a well-defined line in the center of Europe. And in those days, the recovery of Europe and the cooperation with America was considered sufficient to achieve that objective. Since then, Europe has developed in a way that would have been unimaginable 40 years ago. Many countries and the whole region have recovered a great degree of economic vitality, and also the problem of sovereignty and the conflict between countries within Europe has been substantially overcome in a number of important institutions, some of whose representatives will be honored tonight. But there has been a gap between the economic evolution of Europe and the political evolution of Europe – that the unity of Europe that has been achieved in the economic field has not been matched by a parallel development of either the concept or the willingness to develop a political objective. And at the same time, the United States – which was dominant in the immediate postwar period and which could operate on the principle that many of the problems that were apparent were soluble by American economic and political cooperation – now also has to face the issue of its involvement all over the world.

I say all of this not because I will give you an answer – so don’t be terrified that you will be delayed very long from your dinner – but to point out that the Atlantic relationship that was initially developed primarily on military and strategic lines now really has to be extended into a conceptual question: What are we trying to achieve? What are we trying to prevent? And what sacrifices are we willing to make? Because great things cannot be achieved without some sacrifice of the present for the needs of the future. And when we look today at the challenges of immigration, for example, which can – which bring with it humanitarian needs, but also some reflections about the nature of what it’s going to become, of the civilization that had evolved in Europe and how it can be combined with the influx that it faces, and how the conditions can be prevented from which this influx arises – we have one of the examples of the challenge, but also the opportunity, of our time.

I say this in order to underline why the Atlantic Council remains as important and with the need of even more dynamism than what it was originally founded. I’ve been told that part of this award is because I am the longest-serving member of the Atlantic Council Board. It’s terrific to get an award for longevity – (laughter) – and you can only improve on it. (Laughter.) So I hope to be back here in future years – (laughter, applause) – when we begin working on the answers to some of these questions.

Thank you very much. It’s a great honor to be here. (Applause.)

ANNOUNCER: Please welcome to the stage Atlantic Council International Advisory Board member and Global Citizen Award Dinner co-chair Victor Chu. (Applause.)

VICTOR L.L. CHU: Good evening. Good friends of the Atlantic Council community, you must be pretty hungry by now, and I have a prepared text which I’m going to get rid of. (Laughter.)

I want to add my personal welcome, again, to the sixth edition of the Global Citizen Awards. I think every year goes by our community goes from strength to strength. As you know, our awards were inspired by Professor Klaus Schwab’s multi-stakeholders concept, and we are very fortunate that Klaus joins us every year – the first time as our inaugural honoree, but since then he has come every year to support us. Only pity, Klaus, this year is that Hilde is not with us, and I very much hope that you can persuade her to come again next year.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am also delighted that our honorees this year meets the highest standards of global citizenship – people with talents who are willing and able to reach out from their immediate spheres of expertise to help improve the state of the world, and also to promote peace and harmony. Welcome, and congratulation(s) to our three honorees.

I want to thank the co-chairs for this evening for your support. In the interests of time, I’m not going to read out everybody’s name individually. May I ask you to be up, standing to be recognized so that we can thank you collectively? All the co-chairs for this evening, please. (Applause.) Thank you.

Ladies and gentlemen, when you leave this evening you’ll have a wonderful gift. As always, it’s to stimulate our intellectual curiosity and improve our thought process. There will be two excellent books, which are a gift.

One from Random House is a new book written by Justice Stephen Breyer, who as you know is one of the most enlightened members on the U.S. Supreme Court. The book I think is called “The Court and the World.” Yes, “The Court and the World.” And I would highly recommend you to read it. It’s not like a normal legal textbook. It is quite stimulating, about how the court system and the cost challenges are connected with our interconnected world.

The second one is another new book from our good friend Ian Bremmer, the president and founder of Eurasia Group. And it’s called “Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World.” I won’t spoil you by just reviewing which option that Ian thinks America should take at the end of his book, but I think Ian is here and you can always button him down after dinner and ask him for his advice. Ian, where are you? Please be up, standing to be recognized. (Applause.)

Finally, before I stand down, I’d like to make a personal appeal. I think the most pressing global problem of today is, of course, global poverty. The number of refugees dislocated today is larger than those at the end of the Second World War. I think the Atlantic community should take stronger leadership to manage and assist in this challenge. And in particular, on this side of the Atlantic I think we can and should do more.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)


MR. KEMPE: It is now my privilege to introduce a personal inspiration for me and I know of many others in this audience. What we’ve done at the Atlantic Council – what many other organizations have done in the world – has been helped in one way or another by our experiences with the World Economic Forum. Klaus Schwab is one of the world’s great social entrepreneurs and the inaugural recipient of our award, as you know. The World Economic Forum’s mission is improving the state of the world, and it is undeniable that Klaus has done so in ways large and small. Ahead of his comments to the 2015 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum he said, and I quote: “We must recreate confidence in our future. Pessimism has become too much the zeitgeist of our time. We have so many opportunities, but we have to recognize the world has fundamentally changed.” In that spirit, we gather tonight.

Ladies and gentlemen, Professor Klaus Schwab. (Applause.)

KLAUS SCHWAB: Distinguished honorees, dear friends, dear Kempe – dear Fred Kempe, dear Victor – we have such great honorees this evening, so I don’t want to take away from their speaking time. But I was thinking, what is actually a global citizen? Very short definition: a global citizen is a personality which uses his or her energy to address the global challenges we are faced with in collaborative efforts in a multi-stakeholder approach. But that’s not enough to distinguish a global citizen. A global citizen is not just here to solve global problems. He feels a true part of this wonderful society which is our global community. And he engages truly into improving the state of the world. And that’s still not enough. He has to do it with passion and compassion.

We have so many opportunities in our world but so many challenges. Social inclusion – and here I agree, it’s probably the most pressing one, together with violent extremism – how to confront those challenges? I have one recipe: if you all, in this hall, are global citizens. Thank you. (Applause.)

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage International Monetary Fund Managing Director and 2011 Global Citizen Award recipient Christine Lagarde. (Cheers, applause.)


He dresses like a Brit. (Laughter.) He utters a few words. He doesn’t use his body language. He doesn’t drive fast cars. Yet, he’s a quintessential Italian. (Laughter.) Ciao, Mario. Non ti preoccupare, non sono Jens Weidmann. Sono tue amica. It is my great pleasure tonight to introduce a longstanding friend and colleague of mine, Mario Draghi.

If I was to count in Eurogroup meeting times, I think we would have known each other for decades. Everybody knows about your distinguished career and accomplishment. Those who don’t can actually read the little book that you found under your plate. My great pleasure tonight is to actually highlight some of the qualities you have, which are well known to most of you. And I hope you don’t mind me being generous tonight. I promise to do the same with Janet Yellen. (Laughter.)

Mario, you’re a man of vision, courage and determination. The global financial crisis left us grappling with challenges, and difficult times require a sound vision and leadership. And through the challenges that Europe has gone – has gone through in the last few years – from the sovereign debt crisis, to Greece, to now the refugees – I don’t know that many characters who have showed so much vision and so much determination. During the four years you have presided over the European Central Bank, you have done everything in your power to uphold Europe – to uphold its unity and defend the stability of its currency. You’ve used your influence to move the euro area in the right direction, the direction of stability.

You’re a man of courage as well. And I don’t know that there are so many people around the world who can actually move markets just using words, as you have done. It was July 2012, London, the Olympic Games. You uttered what would later be deemed the three most successful words in central banking history. I was there sitting at the front row. You were going through a speech – interesting, of course – when suddenly you paused and you said, I quote: “The ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough.” I can still to this day remember the silence followed by the humming, puffing and wondering. And you finished your speech, you left the room. I followed you because we had a small bilateral meeting, the two of us. Your direct report came rushing and said, “President, President, you’re moving markets!” You just turned back and you said, “Really?” (Laughter.)

Well, within three months sovereign bond yields had declined by more than 130 basis points for the euro area and by up to 500 basis points for some of the more stressed economies – and all of that without firing any of your bazookas. You also are a man of determination, for when you did actually fire your bazooka – despite what had been much talked about and written about – you still managed to surprise the world when in January you launched that program, mastering so the art of central banking, which says: go big or go home.

Your job at the helm of the ECB is bound to be one of the most difficult in the world, and it is no surprise that you have been identified as one of the true leaders of the world. This year’s Fortune’s second-most influential person, and among the top five most influential policymakers by Bloomberg for four years in a row. I have to say, if you were a woman and if I was Angela Merkel, I think I would worry a bit. (Laughter.)

Yet, with all the complexities and the intricacies of your job, you never lose sight of neither your sense of humor nor your sense of humanity. When we were together not long ago in Ankara, Turkey, and we saw at the same time that foot of this little boy drowned on the sand of Bodrum, you were the first one to raise your voice, go public, and remind us of our duty to humanity and our individual responsibility. For that, Mario, you’re not just a fantastic central banker, a true European who has taken Europe forward and given it a sense of direction, a sense of stability, and certainly substituted many other things that would have been needed, will continue to be needed – for that you’re just not a great European, you are also clearly a citizen of the globe. We thank you. (Applause.)

(The award is presented.)

MARIO DRAGHI: Well, thanks, Christine. Your words, too kind.

Let me thank the Atlantic institute for many reasons, but one of which is that here I am tonight with all of you, and especially friends and colleagues of a lifetime. So it’s simply fantastic to be given this honor and be with you.

But let me also thank the Atlantic institute for honoring, through me, all those who have worked and continue to work to maintain the cohesion of the European Union and to bring its integration process closer to completion. The fate of Europe is obviously of immediate interest to its citizens, but it’s also of immediate interest to all of us – to you and to the rest of the world.

Now, one reason for this large interest that Europe has in the world is obviously due to the size of Europe. Even though we have to say that the euro area especially has made a major contribution to growth over the past seven or eight years, nonetheless accounts for about 17, 18 percent of the world GDP and about the same for global trade. So when the integrity of the euro is under threat, so is growth globally. Christine, who has chaired many IMF gatherings where the first topic under discussion was the euro area, can testify to that. And I had to go through several of these meetings where the culprit – the villain of the narrative – was the eurozone. Hopefully won’t be this way this year.

So now the euro area has – is returning to growth, and some of this is due to our monetary policy, and that’s good news for everybody. But there is another, perhaps deeper reason why the euro area is crucially relevant for the global economy, and it comes from the fact that European integration is by far the most advanced experiment in managing issues that cut across borders through a combination of international and supranational arrangements.

Sixty-five years ago, the founders of the European Union decided that we could only achieve results if we were united in facing common problems. At that time, the common problem was to make sure that our continent – my continent – would live in peace forever. And it worked. But now the nature of the many challenges we face shows how right this approach fundamentally was – how, say, prophetical. Think of migrants seeking refuge in our countries. Think about the threat of terrorism. Think about the consequences of climate change. Think about the recent succession of financial and economic crises. And these challenges are obviously global; they’re not specific to Europe.

So, now, how would one go coping with these challenges on its own? Countries that have a size by and large less than an average American state, how would they go about coping with these challenges on their own? In this sense the method that we put in place 65 years ago was prophetical.

It may seem at times that we in Europe are not able to cope with these challenges, but we do. Each and every time, in the end, we prevail. And why is that? Because of what I said. Because we work as a union, we can address problems that would overwhelm us if each country tries to address them alone. What we always say is that the reason there is not an alternative to regain sovereignty over global problems, we have to share sovereignty. It may be difficult, Dr. Kissinger – Henry – but so far we succeeded. Not as fast as probably everybody else would like – not as fast as I would like – but we did succeed.

And here there is another element on which I would draw your attention. Sometimes what seems to be a difficulty of working together is simply a reflection of the difficulty of overcoming the challenges thrown in our way. And we should not mistake the one for the other. These are difficult problems for everybody. We decided to cope with these problems together, and often the two things are mixed.

Many argue that our societies are not homogeneous enough to operate as a union. But others would argue that further integration is the only necessary route to extract all the power – all the economies of scale – that our union brings. You wouldn’t be surprised to know that I’m firmly in this second camp, and I’m firmly among those who believe that we can better protect the interests of the citizens in every country by making our union – to use a phrase taken from your constitutional tradition – to make our union more perfect.

The progress achieved over the past three years to stabilize and strengthen the euro area is real. Growth is returning. And we will not rest until our monetary union is complete. It’s in our interest. It’s also in your interest. It’s in the interest of everybody everywhere.

Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)

ANNOUNCER: Please welcome back to the stage Atlantic Council International Advisory Board member and Global Citizen Award Dinner co-chair Victor Chu. (Applause.)

MR. CHU: Dear friends, the final awardee this evening has been called China’s Herbert von Karajan, has also been compared by the Financial Times of London as equivalent – the modern equivalent of Thomas Beecham. Yu Long is the artistic director of the China Philharmonic as well as the Beijing Music Festival, both of which he was instrumental in founding. In fact, I can even say that it was Yu Long’s initiative that brought classical music – Western classical music – back into China after Deng Xiaoping initiated the open-door policies in the late ’70s and the early ’80s. Today he is not only working for China for the money, but he’s also the music director of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra – one of the oldest in Asia – as well as Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra. On top of that, he will serve as the principal guest conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in the 2015-16 season.

Tonight we honor Yu Long not just because of his wonderful talent in music, but also because his passion in bringing music to the new generation using his organization ability and his network to bring music as a bridge across youth in different cultures and therefore promote harmony. Yu Long has once said: “Music is something you cannot see, you cannot touch. It comes from creativity. And we have to show the younger generation that music is not just about giving a concert or having a career; it is about freeing the imagination.” Superb.

Yu Long has been building bridges with the next generation. He will probably tell you more about this in his – in his address. He has brought the China Philharmonic to New York, and to the Vatican to become the first Chinese orchestra to perform for the pope. One of his most recent tours has been along the Silk Road – the old Silk Road – and he has also recently taken his orchestra to Iran for a month – and not only that, their first concert in Iran was to play “From the New World,” which is so familiar to us in America. He has described his mission as creating a cultural bridge that stretches across the region – and, indeed, across the world – that will bring people closer together at a level that can inspire them to make this world truly harmonious.

Ladies and gentlemen, the vice president said earlier that between the music-maker and a peacemaker, he would choose the music-maker. But in Yu Long we have both. Ladies and gentlemen, would you join me in welcoming Yu Long? (Applause.)

(The award is presented.)

YU LONG: Thank you, Victor.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m honored to be here, and I’m extremely honored to be here with the other honorees tonight. I must special thank Dr. Kissinger here tonight because I grew up in China in the 1970s. The opportunities that I had in my early life were all thanks to changes that he helped bring about, major shifts in China that start with the ping-pong diplomacy.

But I can only talk about the cultural diplomacy here. I still remember I brought the China Philharmonic Orchestra to the Vatican seven years ago, using music to connect my country with Pope Benedict XVI. I have been fortunate to have a choice – music as my profession, and especially being a conductor. Last month, I brought the China Philharmonic Orchestra to Tehran. Walking around Tehran, I was amazed at the city. In the concert hall, I saw young and old faces – people who appreciated Western classical music, an art form that transcends political boundaries.

The program was Dvorak’s “Symphony from the New World” – a symphony that connects spiritually to New York. In the audience were many enthusiastic young faces. When the spiritual “Goin’ Home” was played in the second movement, I could hear a pin drop. The audience was totally captivated, and at the end we received seven times standing ovation.

To make the Tehran trip, I borrowed something from my friends right here in the city. The New York Philharmonic Orchestra, which commissioned Dvorak’s “From the New World” symphony back in 1893, lent me the original orchestra parts. These precious historical materials went from New York via China to Tehran, and a few days ago I returned them to its home, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

Today in China we try and change the way of thinking about music and music education. To me, what is the key to classical music and the arts is how we nurture the younger generation. What I mean is not classical music superstars pushed by tiger parents. It could be any instrument player in the back row of the student orchestra or the young person attending his first concert. Music education should be an all-round effort because the love of music can be translated as a love of humanity. This should be the real value of music and a music education.

Thank you very much. (Cheers, applause.)

Now may I introduce you a wonderful young pianist, Johnson Li from Hong Kong, who is at the beginning of his discovery of the world through music. He will start with He Luting’s “Cowherd’s Flute.” It’s the winner of the first-ever Chinese composition competition in 1934, founded by Russian composer Alexander Tcherepnin. Johnson will follow with Chopin’s “Minute Waltz.” Thank you. (Applause.)


(Cheers, applause.)

MR. KEMPE: What a remarkable way to end a very inspiring evening. Thank you to Johnson Li. Thank you to you, Long, for discovering him. Thank you to our other awardees.

Please come back next year, and thank you all for coming tonight. Good night. See you next year. (Applause.)