Atlantic Council

2019 Distinguished Leadership Awards



John F.W. Rogers, Chairman, Atlantic Council Board of Directors


Frederick Kempe, President and CEO, Atlantic Council



North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

(Award Accepted by NATO Deputy Secretary Rose Gottemoeller, with a Video Message From NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg)

Adrienne Arsht, Executive Vice Chair, Atlantic Council

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

Frederick W. Smith, Chairman and CEO, FedEx Corporation



General James L. Jones, Jr., Executive Chairman Emeritus and Chairman, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Atlantic Council

Alonzo Mourning

Ivanka Trump

US Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Location:  Washington, D.C.


Time:  7:00 p.m. EDT

Date:  Tuesday, April 30, 2019


ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Atlantic Council Chairman Mr. John F.W. Rogers. 

JOHN F.W. ROGERS:  Ladies and gentlemen – ladies and gentlemen if I could ask you to take your seats.  Ladies and gentlemen, if I could ask you take your seats and we’ll begin tonight’s program.  Ladies and gentlemen, excellencies and friends, on behalf of the board of the Atlantic Council, and on behalf of my partner, David McCormick, who’s the chair of our international advisors, and all the board, we want to welcome you here to the 2019 Distinguished Leadership Awards.

Now, standing before you this evening I don’t need to tell you that together the United States, Europe, and our allies and friends worldwide face one of the most volatile geopolitical environments in recent memory.  And seldom has that work be so acutely in need of the kind of authentic and effective leadership we celebrate here tonight.  And with that in mind, as we recognize the accomplishments of outstanding efforts and individuals, we hope to advance a far more ambitious form of leadership that is equal to the challenges that we collectively face – braced in principle and nimble in the face of ongoing challenges and change.  And at the very heart of this vast change stands the Atlantic Council.

Now, against that backdrop, for the first time in the Atlantic Council’s history we are recognizing an international organization, NATO, for its extraordinary contribution towards promoting global peace and stability.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank that we have here today Rose Gottemoeller, who is the deputy secretary-general of NATO, for joining us to accept the award on behalf a truly deserving and pretty extraordinary organization.

We are also gathered, this illustrious audience here tonight in Washington, to celebrate an individual who exemplifies the leadership, and the vision, and the character needed to navigate these turbulent times.  He was raised by his mother and his uncles with an early – with the early passing of his father.  He was crippled by bone disease as a small boy.  But he regained his health by the age of 10 and he went on to become a pilot by the age of 15, an athlete, a decorated Marine, a Vietnam veteran.  He wrote a paper for an economics case while attending Yale outlining overnight delivery service in a computer information age.  And the rest, of course, is history.  And today, as chairman and CEO of an organization that we use every day as a verb, FedEx – (laughter) – Frederick Smith is someone who we’re going to celebrate tonight his entrepreneurial spirit and his transformational leadership.  (Applause.)

But I also want to note, with Fred, his positive corporate culture that he’s inspired throughout his years of leading this enterprise.  It’s 450,000 teammates that he’s assembled in 220 countries.  And that’s an enormous accomplishment.  So we’re grateful to have him here with us tonight.

Now, we honor as well individuals who, in an era that increasingly looks to the role models of women and girls, stand out by any measure as who we’re going to talk about tonight.  In fact, I was thinking about how best to introduce them and I was transported to an exhibition that I saw a few years ago in the docks of Edinburgh, Scotland, where it was unveiled a warship that was done to celebrate the role of British women in the First World War.

It offered a contemporary take on a strategy that developed by military model makers and camouflage experts, so many of them who were women themselves, and they were to paint warships with bold optical designs to confuse the enemy.  Now, this technique – the dazzle technique, as it came to be known – reached its peak at the end of the war with some 2,000 warships that had been ordained with the vibrant patterns to mask their size, their speed, and the direction of their travel.

And what was especially striking about this exhibit, however, is what was less apparent, perhaps more telling and certainly more powerful, because across this 239-foot vessel was painted in reflective paint and encrypted in Morse Code “Every Woman a Signal Tower.”  And what’s more, in creative and symbolic use of the medium and context – the Morse Code dashes and dots – they were completely gray by day.  They barely registered on the surface against the sunlight and the bright overall design.

However, at night the message “Every Woman a Signal Tower” was activated by the reflective paint, poignantly but powerfully recognizing women’s invaluable role in that great undertaking and holding themselves up as beacons of hope, of resiliency, and single-minded resolve.

Now, tonight we too will motivate and we will activate that same message – every woman a signal tower.  We will ignite the beacons of hope and resiliency and resolve, and we’re talking about two of our honorees, who, in their own right, are signal towers of resonance and of results and resolve. 

We honor this evening Madam Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund – (applause) – her steadfast, resourceful, and principled leadership in a time of volatility, her commitment to providing opportunity through economic reform, and her unwavering support for gender equality.

And we at the Atlantic Council are especially proud to present our rarely bestowed distinguished service award to a true force of nature, a visionary business leader, a generous philanthropist and, most importantly, a comrade in arms, Adrienne Arsht.  (Applause.)

Adrienne is the executive vice chairman of the Council.  She is an integral part of the Atlantic Council family and our board leadership.  Now, her passion for this Council and its mission is infectious and her dedication to her cause is unwavering.  Her leadership has enabled the Council to expand its geographic reach to Latin America and her out-of-the-box thinking equipped the Council to launch a world-class Resilience Center.

So you’ll hear more about these beautiful women – (applause) – later today.  But I want to offer my congratulations to all of them, and rather than hearing my poor words, let’s get on with our program tonight and honor these wonderful people.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage a procession of esteemed NATO representatives, past and present, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the alliance: Former Secretary General Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen – (applause) – former Supreme Allied Commander Europe General George A. Joulwan – (applause) – General Wesley K. Clark – (applause) – General Joseph W. Ralston – (applause) – former Supreme Allied Commander Transformation General Stephane Abrial.  (Applause.)

Please also welcome ambassadors from the following NATO member countries: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Spain.  (Applause.)

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Atlantic Council Executive Chairman Emeritus and former Supreme Allied Commander Europe General James Jones.  (Cheers, applause.)

GENERAL JAMES L. JONES, JR.:  Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.  It’s my not only pleasure but great honor to introduce our first award of the evening, which we will present to NATO for the alliance’s role in ensuring the peace, stability, security and freedom of Europe and North America for the past 70 years.

Before doing so, though, I have the sad task of informing you that one of our great diplomats, one of our great congresswomen, one of our great business leaders, former Congresswoman and Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher, passed away last night in California.

As many of you know, Ellen was one of NATO’s most active advocates.  She was a patriot, a politician, a transatlanticist, an Atlantic Council board director, the mentor to many of us here on stage and here in the audience, but above all, a great friend to many of us in the room.

I first came to know Ellen when she was a member of Congress from California’s 10th district, the seat she held from 1997 until 2009.  She was a Democrat in a Republican district, but she also liked to say that her district was the smartest district in the United States because it included all of Silicon Valley.

She was a Blue Dog Democrat who brought her extraordinary experience from the private sector to the Congress, along with a determination to work across the aisle.  Prior to joining the Congress, Ellen was a dynamic business leader who, at the tender and young age of 25, was the first woman to hold a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.

With her business acumen and exposure to the technology world in San Francisco, Ellen instinctively understood the importance of a strong American foreign policy.  She quickly became one of Congress’ leading experts on nuclear weapons, nonproliferation, and arms control.  Her commitment to international security in Congress was rewarded in 2009 when President Obama appointed Ellen to serve as the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.  And as undersecretary of state, Ellen shepherded the difficult negotiations with the Russian Federation on the New START treaty which was signed and ratified in 2010. 

It was one of the highlights of my professional career to be able to work with Ellen on the White House on this crowning achievement of the Obama administration’s foreign policy.  She continued to make her mark in policy outside of government, serving on the boards of numerous blue chip corporations, nonprofit organizations, and the board of governors of the National Labs of Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore.  She was the vice chair of the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on Strategy Security, and a member of the board’s executive committee.  She has also remained a regular attendee at the Munich Security Conference, where she hosts regularly – she hosted regularly a Saturday night German-American friendship dinner that has become a standing room-only affair.

Ellen would have instinctively understood why the Atlantic Council is offering its International Leadership Award this evening to NATO in recognition of the alliance’s contribution to peace and security for so many decades.  And she would have been so pleased that her dear friend and successor at the State Department as undersecretary, Rose Gottemoeller, will accept the award on behalf of NATO as the alliance’s deputy secretary general.  Rose is a friend to many in this room.  She is a highly and well-respected career diplomat, and one of the finest minds in nonproliferation and arms control and had a lot to do with the successful signing of the START treaty in 2010. 

She was the principal negotiator day-to-day with her Russian counterparts.  She took up her position as deputy secretary general of NATO in October of 2016, after serving nearly five years as undersecretary for arms control and international security at the Department of State, where she advised the secretary and the president on arms control, nonproliferation, and political military affairs.  Ladies and gentlemen, I would ask you for a moment of silence in memory of a great American patriot, a great international leader, and a wonderful human being.

Thank you. 

It’s now my honor to invite Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller up on stage to accept the award and say a few words.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

ROSE GOTTEMOELLER:  Thank you, Jim, for that very moving tribute to my boss, my mentor, and my friend Ellen Tauscher.  It really hit me in the gut today to hear about this.  And I heard many gasps in the audience at the news.  She truly was a great American, and we will all miss her, I know.

But let me say a few words about what this award means for NATO as well.  And I really wanted to thank you, Jim, also for your kind introduction of me.  But I must thank you for your lifetime of service and for everything that you have done for NATO and for the defense of our great nation.  (Applause.)

I’m also going to hazard a little bit by thanking you for being a fellow Hoya.  We both graduated from Georgetown University.  I know there are others in the audience, yes.  (Laughter, applause.)  Including my very good friend and roommate from freshman year who is here, Phyllis Kay (sp), but also Alonzo Mourning I understand graduated from Georgetown.  So there are a lot of us here.

Thank you to Fred, Damon, and the entire team at the Atlantic Council for honoring NATO with this prestigious award in our 70th anniversary year.  As you mentioned, Jim, NATO and the Atlantic Council have shared a close bond over the years.  We are the offspring of the same visionary founders.  One of them was a former U.S. secretary of State, Dean Acheson.  On signing NATO’s founding treaty in Washington in 1949, he described his hope that new strength and courage would come to all peoples of the world who seek freedom and peace.  And that’s what we are celebrating here tonight – freedom and peace, the benefits that 70 years of unprecedented freedom and peace have brought to all of our countries, all of our peoples.

NATO is the first international organization to receive this distinguished leadership award in its own right.  It is a distinct honor and a fitting testament to the hard work and vision of so many men and women over the years.

So it is a particular honor to be joined on stage by representatives of NATO’s military command, also the former secretary general – Secretary General Rasmussen – here today, and also representatives of the alliance; that is, so many of the NATO ambassadors have been able to join us here tonight.  So we are very, very pleased to have them here on stage.

And we’re very proud to be recognizing, alongside our own award, the other impressive honorees tonight, Adrienne Arsht, Christine Lagarde and Fred Smith.  They are inspiring leaders in the public-private domain, philanthropists.  It’s a great thing for NATO to be included in their number.

I’m here to accept this award on behalf of men and women around the world and down the decades who have helped make NATO what it is today.  We are 29 and we hope soon to be 30 allies.  Our many partner countries and organizations around the globe also participate in our work and help in our missions, the brave men and women in uniform who serve side by side under the same NATO flag, the thousands of civilians working every day across the alliance to build a better NATO.

We have always in mind our nearly one billion citizens.  For them, the result of our efforts is a safer, stronger, and more prosperous world.

So thank you again for recognizing all that NATO has done for deterrence and defense, and just like those visionary leaders who came before us, may we always have the strength and the courage to stand firm for freedom and peace.

Thank you for your attention.  (Applause.)

JENS STOLTENBERG:  (Via video.)  Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honor to address you again and to receive this Distinguished Leadership Award on behalf of the whole of NATO. 

NATO is the most successful alliance in history because through the decades we have kept our commitment to protect and defend one another and because we have adapted as the world around us changes.

For 70 years NATO has ensured unprecedented peace and prosperity – (applause) – uniting two continents, 29 allies, and almost one billion people.  We ended the Cold War without a shot being fired, stopped bloodshed in the Western Balkans, fought terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, and spread democracy and stability in Europe by keeping our door open, with North Macedonia soon to become our 30th ally.

Today, as we face the biggest security challenges in a generation, Europe and North America are doing more together than for many years.  Because NATO is good for Europe and NATO is good for the United States.

We are adapting and modernizing our alliance, strengthening our collective defense, stepping up the fight against terrorism, and investing more in our defense.

Together Europe and North America are greater than the sum of our parts – half of the world’s economic might and half of the world’s military might.  When we stand together, we are stronger than any potential challenger, economically, politically, and militarily.  We are stronger and safer together.

So thank you, on behalf of the whole NATO family, for honoring us with this prestigious award.  With your help, with increased investment and strong political will, NATO will ensure our freedom and security for many more years to come.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Atlantic Council President and CEO Mr. Fred Kempe.  (Applause.)

FREDERICK KEMPE:  Good evening, everybody. 

First of all, thank you to General Jones for that moving tribute to our friend and our inspiration, Ellen Tauscher. 

Let me also add my welcome to that of our new chairman, John Rogers, to what some in the Washington media have come to call the Oscars of international affairs.  (Laughter.)

So John is a very modest man, but the chairmen of the Atlantic Council are a remarkable group, and those I have served with are Henry Catto, Chuck Hagel, Jon Huntsman, Brent Scowcroft twice, and General Jones twice.  John Rogers is an inspiring individual who embodies everything that this institution, almost 60 years old now, stands for.  So please join me in welcoming him as our new chairman.  (Applause.)

Through these awards, the Atlantic Council not only salutes deserving honorees, but in so doing we also hope to inspire others to step forward to contribute to a better world.  In that spirit, our recognition of NATO – the first time we’ve so honored an international organization – is a sort of lifetime achievement award, which is also looking to the future of what NATO can do next.

Our next award has been presented rarely at the Atlantic Council.  It looks squarely to the future.  Our Distinguished Service Award recognizes a woman, among her many accomplishments, has contributed significantly – and I would say uniquely – to the Atlantic Council’s continual innovations to address a host of new and global challenges.  The late Senator John McCain, who we honored posthumously last year, once said, “Glory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself.”  In that spirit, it is my honor to announce this evening something we made known publicly only yesterday. 

Almost three years ago, Adrienne Arsht came to me with an idea for a new Atlantic Council center, one focused on resilience.  Adrienne challenged us to question the bounds of the human spirit and its inherent resilience, while pushing us to think deeply about how we can build resilience into every level of our societies to sustainably counter the many complex and rapidly changing threats we face each day. 

Tonight, I’m delighted to announce a pivotal moment for the Adrienne Arsht Center for Resilience and a historic moment for the Atlantic Council.  Adrienne has committed $25 million to permanently endow the Adrienne Arsht Center for Resilience at the Atlantic Council.  (Applause.)  Coupled with the recent $30 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, the center will be renamed the Adrienne Arsht Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center effective tomorrow.  (Applause.) 

Thirdly – and this is the reason I was – and I use the word “historic” advisedly.  At The Wall Street Journal, where I worked for 25 years, it was the word that was cut out of stories most frequently.  But it is a historic moment for us.  Under the leadership of its new director, the remarkable Kathy Baughman McLeod, the center now embarks on a bold journey to enhance the resilience of 1 billion people around the world by 2030.

The painstaking mythology – methodology – behind this audacious goal not only convinced me but also convinced the Rockefeller Foundation that the goal is not only achievable but commendable.  If that’s not about acting true to something larger than yourself, then I don’t know what is, Adrienne.  (Applause.)

Ladies and gentlemen, turn your eyes to the screens.

(Music:  “I Will Survive.”)

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage seven-time NBA all-star, Olympic gold medalist, and founder of the Mourning Family Foundation, Mr. Alonzo Mourning.  (Cheers, applause.)

ALONZO MOURNING:  I’m a little upset with the Council.  They had to find the smallest podium.  (Laughter.)  They weren’t expecting me to be here, I guess.  (Laughter.)  We’re going to work it out, though.  We’re going to work it out, yeah.

Good evening, everyone.  Good evening, everyone.

AUDIENCE:  Good evening.

MOURNING: Ladies and gentlemen and distinguished guests. And congratulations to all the other honorees.  It is truly my pleasure, as well as a tremendous honor, to spend an evening with you all, even though I would rather be watching the playoff games right now.  (Laughter.)  But I’ll make an exception for Ms. Arsht.

But on a more serious note, I walked in here and I look around, you know, and I’m seeing all these distinguished guests and what have you, and immediately I started thinking about the journeys that we all had to take to get here – not here specifically this evening, but in our lives, the journeys that we all had to take in our lives to get to where we are.

And the one common thread that we all share is that none of us would be here without the contributions of others.  Each of us achieved some level of greatness by standing on the shoulders of a predecessor, a benefactor, a role model, a family member.  Because we are recipients of someone else’s benevolence, we have an obligation to pay it forward in an effort to perpetuate the ripple of kindness, creativity and service.  In essence, our true purpose in life is service, service to others.

Tonight I have the privilege of introducing a phenomenal servant leader who personifies the philosophy that service to others is paramount.  Adrienne Arsht is a lawyer by trade, but philanthropy is her heart, her calling card.  She has donated millions of dollars to various cultural and not-for-profit organizations, including the Kennedy Center and the Lincoln Center.

Adrienne’s passion for artistic expression is so intense that in 2007 she donated 30 million (dollars) to an arts center in the heart of downtown Miami.  It demonstrated her willingness to take a stand and invest in her passion, and it resulted in the establishment of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, one of the world’s leading performing arts organizations and venues.  I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Arsht Center many times over the 23 years that I’ve been in Miami, and Adrienne also makes it possible for me to take my students from my foundation and the youth center that I have in Overtown just blocks away to the arts center – to the arts center for various programming. 

We both believe exposure particularly to the arts expands a child’s worldview.  In an effort to shatter shallow experiences and pervasive poverty, we expose my kids to the culturally diverse and inclusive events at the center including theater, camps, and different performances.

Adrienne once said that the arts, visual and performing, define civilization and when you give to the arts or, in this case, expose others to the arts, we are in fact preserving the essence of civilization for generations to come.  That is such a profound idea and it perfectly explains why it is so critical that all kids, even kids in very impoverished areas, are exposed to the arts. 

In addition to her work with the arts, Adrienne has launched several centers, including – and I echo this; it was just mentioned – the Adrienne Arsht Latin American Center for the Atlantic Council.  This center was established to help forge an effective partnership with the Latin America Group in Europe. 

Her efforts to mitigate suffering in crisis led to the launching of the Adrienne Arts Center for Resilience, also at the Atlantic Council.  This center seeks to advance resilience by helping individuals, communities, institutions better prepare for, absorb, and recover from potential challenges and prosper in a more resilient world.

Adrienne’s benevolence has propelled the growth of the arts globally through business and civic interests in several cities including New York, Washington, D.C., and, of course, Miami.  The through line in all of her efforts, however, is fortifying resources – natural, financial, and cultural resources as well as human relationships.  This is why she is so deserving of the Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Service Award.  Adrienne is the quintessential tastemaker whose passion for culture, class, business, and service has added layers of sophistication, edification, and preparation to our world. 

Ladies and gentleman, it is truly an honor to bring to the stage my friend, the elegant Ms. Adrienne Arsht.  (Applause.)

(Music:  “I Will Survive.”)

ARSHT: Thank you, Zo. I’m sorry for the short podium.  They had to choose between what I needed or you needed, and you can lean over but I can’t stand taller.  (Laughter.)  Thank you for those kinds words, Zo, and for flying in from California on the red eye this morning with a change of planes in Nashville.  I’m sorry, Fred.  It was not in Memphis.  (Laughter.)

As I was reading Zo’s book, “Resilience,” I learned that he, the great Muhammad Ali, and I have something common.  Ali said service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.  Zo, in his book, along the same lines, said:  I try to – I strive to pay my rent.  And I say our time here on Earth is a gift.  We pay rent for that time.  And those of us here in this room live in a very high-rent district.  (Laughter.)

Part of that rent is to care for and support humanity.  My father, Samuel Arsht, always taught me that you only regret your economies.  All my philanthropic decisions flow from this, and from the money raised by my investment advisor, Goldman Sachs.  (Laughter, applause.)  Thank you, John Rogers.  (Laughter.) 

I always think of my mother, Roxana Cannon Arsht, as a combination of Joan of Arc and Don Quixote.  There was a small statue of Don Quixote in the front hall of our home in Delaware.  Like Joan of Arc, my mother was always prepared to die for a cause.  And sometimes, these causes were merely tilting at windmills.  But she was never deterred.  My mother always carried a copy of the Constitution . In your giftbag tonight is your own copy of the Constitution.  And inside, is a card with a quote from Edmund Burke:  All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing.

Thank you for this honor tonight.  I share this podium with some really great people, and a spectacular organization called NATO.  And now, I ask you to join me in living your life by standing up for what you believe, whatever that may be.  And how I will pivot from Edmund Burke to Liza Minnelli.  (Laughter.)  Liza once said that it gave her great comfort to know that whatever emotion she had, there was already a song written about it, and therefore she too would get through.  (Laughter.)  Two of my favorite songs will be performed for you tonight by the American Pops Orchestra.  I won’t spoil the surprise about the closing song, but remember it defines me and all of you in this room.  And now, the first song, performed by Christian Douglas I dedicate to my parents.  It is called “I Am What I Am.”  Christian.  (Applause.)

(Music:  “I Am What I Am.”)


ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy your dinner.  The second half of our program will begin shortly.


ANNOUNCER:  Mr. Fred Kempe.

FREDERICK KEMPE:  Welcome back, everybody.  Welcome back, folks.  So I love the buzz in the room.  It’s always nice when you invite 800 of your closest friends, and they all come.  So I hope you were as inspired by the first half of the evening as I was.  I would love it if you would join me in a round of applause for Luke Frazier and the American Pops Orchestra.  (Cheers, applause.)  You may have noticed that we have not had Luke Frazier and the American Pops Orchestra always at the Atlantic Council dinner.  So it’s just such a pleasure to have you here, Luke.

Also, do pick up your gift bags.  Not only do we have Adrienne’s Constitution – and Adrienne, you’ve left it up here, I’ll bring it back to you – but we have a document that’s almost as important as that, which is the Atlantic Council Annual Report.  (Laughter.)  We have a book connected with our resilience center that’s a must-read.  And also, I must say there’s a Foreign Policy magazine with our ad in it there.  (Applause.)  We’re very happy for the in-kind sponsorship and support we’ve had from Foreign Policy and Edelman, so thanks to both of you.  (Applause.)

For 60 years, the Atlantic Council’s pursued a mission bestowed upon us by our founders to advocate for and galvanize constructive U.S. leadership alongside our global friends and allies to shape the future.  Thanks to so many of you in this audience, the Atlantic Council has never been as robust as it is today, yet the tests we have face have probably never been quite as complex or daunting.  We had strategic retreats of board and staff in the last months, and they’ve produced a consensus that the Atlantic Council’s work must wrestle with five interwoving, defining challenges.

First, we must peacefully navigate a new era of major power competition.  Second, we must address new challenges to our democracies and the surge of autocracies.  Third, we must reinvigorate and perhaps even reinvent the global system of rules and institutions that the Atlantic Council’s founders helped create.  Fourth, we must help define a new and help execute a role in shaping this new world.  And then, finally, we must harness the opportunities and manage the risks of an unprecedented era of technological change.

We, at the Atlantic Council, don’t see any of these challenges as reason for despair, but we do see this as a call to action.  For all of you in this room and everything we do at the Atlantic Council.  Our community has faced far greater challenges than this.  The challenges we face are no match for the brand of leadership represented by you in this room tonight.  Among you are some 800 guests from more than 45 countries, including more than 60 corporate chief executives, chairmen and presidents, about the same number of ambassadors, countless other senior officials, business executives, media and civil-society leaders.  Thank you so much for one of the most amazing communities of influence I can possibly imagine.  Thank you for being here.  (Applause.)

I would particularly like to recognize our former heads of state and sitting ministers in the room with us this evening.  And if you could hold your applause – and I’d like them to stand if they would not mind.

Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt – (applause) – former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former Danish Prime Minister and former Secretary General of NATO Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, which – (applause) – by, the way, this shows that we’re bipartisan even in Denmark – (laughter) – and Romanian Vice Prime Minister for Strategic Partnerships Implementation Anna Birchall.  Please stand, Anna.

Give them a round of applause.  (Applause.)

And as we gather this evening to celebrate NATO, I’d like to thank again the NATO member-country ambassadors who took part in our remarkable opening procession.  I know how hard your schedules are.  It’s wonderful to have you here.  Thank you for representing your countries with us this evening.

I also want to give a special Atlantic Council welcome to the elected officials from both sides of the Atlantic who are with us: Congressman – and please do stand – Congressman Cohen, Congressman Rose, Congressman Waltz, Senator Alexander – (cheers, applause) – and member – (applause) – and member of the German Bundestag, Alexander Radwan, please stand.  (Applause.)

Finally, I would like to give a salute and offer my deepest respect to the former Supreme Allied Commanders who you saw on stage earlier this evening: General Abrial, General Clark, General Jones, General Joulwan and General Ralston.  Please stand so we can salute you.  (Applause.)

And as we’re recognizing military leaders, I’d also like to salute General Colin Powell, an honorary director of the Atlantic Council board.  (Cheers, applause.)

So I was befuddled, and I once asked him, so do I call you Secretary Powell or General Powell?  And he said, oh, there’s no question about that.  It’s General Powell.  (Laughter.)

You can explain later to people why you felt that way.  (Laughter.)

This evening – and the work would not be possible of the Atlantic Council without our community of supporters.  I want to salute the co-chairs of tonight’s dinner.  I’d ask those co-chairs in attendance to stand as I read out their names.  It’s an incredibly impressive list, but it is a little bit of a long list.  So please hold your applause until I’ve finished.

Airbus, represented by Jeff Knittel; Adrienne Arsht; the Blackstone Charitable Foundation; Ahmed Charai; Chevron, represented by Heather Kulp; Edelman, represented by Richard Edelman; FedEx Corporation, Bob Gelbard; Joe Gibbs Racing; Mary Howell; KMW, represented by Bob Schulz; Leonardo, represented by Bill Lynn; Lockheed Martin, represented by Marillyn Hewson; Dave McCormick and Dina Powell.  (Scattered applause.)  Yeah, I knew there would be some applause to interrupt at that point.  (Laughter.) 

MetLife; MNG Group of Companies, represented by Merva (sp) Günal, representing her father, Mehmet Nazif Günal.  Please give our best to your father, Merva (sp).  Ahmet Oren; Penguin Random House; Raytheon, represented by John Harris; John Rogers, chairman of the Atlantic Council; Saab, represented by Erik Smith; SAIC, represented by Nazzic Keene; Southwest Holdings, represented by Tewodros Ashenafi; Textron, represented by Mary Claire Murphy; Thales; Thomson Reuters, represented by Kate Friedrich; Zurich, represented by Francis Bouchard, which is also the first corporate sponsor of the newly named Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center.  Please join me in a round of applause for these co-chairs.  (Applause.)

General Jones always reminds me that vision without resources is hallucination.  (Laughter.)  So thank you for – thank you for allowing us to have a larger vision.  And with that, let’s keep the show going.  (Applause.) 

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentleman, please welcome to the stage United States Senator Lamar Alexander.  (Applause.)

SENATOR LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN):  Just before I came up, the person I’m about to introduce said to me one word – brevity – and it reminded me of what the late Senator Everett Dirksen said to his son-in-law, Senator Howard Baker, after Howard Baker made his maiden address on the floor of the United States Senate and he spoke too long, and Dirksen went over to his son-in-law and said – and Baker said to Dirksen, “Senator Dirksen, how did I do?”  And Dirksen said, “Howard, perhaps occasionally you might enjoy the luxury of an unexpressed thought.”  (Laughter.)  So let’s see how I do.

There is so much media these days who seem to honor individuals, in the words of the late Daniel Boorstin, who are famous for being famous.  So it’s refreshing to honor someone whose life is one of such remarkable accomplishment.  Atlantic Council’s awards are supposed to go to individuals who have achieved something in military, business, art, humanitarian, politics. 

The awardee tonight certainly has earned his military stripes – four years in the Marines, two tours of Vietnam, Silver Star, Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts – and in business his thesis at Yale University, which earned a C+, is an inspiration to C+ students everywhere –  (laughter) – because he had – he had this strange idea of buying big airplanes and hauling packages to Memphis, Tennessee, every night and then delivering them the next day to their address.  In 1973, that meant that Federal Express had 14 planes.  They brought 186 packages to 25 sites on the first night absolutely positively overnight. 

Now Fed Ex has 678 aircraft, 150,000 trucks, 15 million business shipments every day.  Staying ahead of the curve has not been easy.  When I was governor in the ’80s, a new technology arrived called the facsimile.  (Laughter.)  Some of you may know about this.  So Fred Smith was – he had studied the Japanese.  He knew they were good at characters.  We had Japanese investments.  We had a dinner at the governor’s residence.  He had an idea.  We’ll put the Fed Ex fax on the corner and people will go down to the corner and they’ll fax their fax and pick up their fax and that’s what will happen.  That didn’t work.  But Fed Ex overcame that, and today they have more than 450,000 employees worldwide and they’ve added a new verb to the English language called Fed Ex.  And, most remarkably, the founder, in 1973 is still the CEO today, 46 years later.  (Applause.)

In public policy, Fred Smith has been an advocate for open skies, for free markets, for electric vehicles.  Insofar as politics goes, he’s had the good sense not to run for anything, but he’s been deeply involved in many different ways and everybody in Washington who’s in the Congress will tell you he’s the most effective advocate for his point of view than any of us know because he does it himself.  He knows the subject, he makes his case, and he goes on his way.  And as a humanitarian, everyone in Memphis knows that no one surpasses his generosity for that city and for the lives of the people who live there.

So congratulations to the Atlantic Council – (applause) – for your work to promote stability and security around the world.  In 1961, the threat was communism. Today it is different:  cyberattacks from Russia and North Korea, instability in the Middle East, civil unrest in Venezuela.

And congratulations to the Atlantic Council, also, for having the good judgment to honor Fred Smith.  He is the only person I know who, all by himself, has become a walking, talking, international economic indicator.  (Laughter.)

Ladies and gentlemen, Fred Smith.  (Cheers, applause.)

FREDERICK W. SMITH:  Thank you.  Thank you.  (Continued applause.) 

Thank you very much, Senator Alexander, one of the great statesmen of our times, obviously represented our home state with distinction for many, many years.  He is a renaissance man, university president, athlete, musician – just Google up Lamar Alexander Alfalfa Club when he ran for president of Alfalfa, and watch his musical acceptance speech.  It is quite extraordinary.  (Laughter.)

I’m very pleased to be on this stage with Adrienne.  She, too, is a national resource as was well described tonight.  You heard all of her accomplishments.  What they didn’t say is she actually started in the air carrier business, in the air cargo section of TWA, as I recall, so she took a right turn at some point, it would seem to me, with the philanthropy she demonstrated tonight.

So this SameDay Bot, which was developed using the technology of Dean Kamen, who is also a national resource – he is the Thomas Edison of our time.  (Applause.)  Just Google up Dean Kamen and first robotics, and you will see the tremendous effect he is having on kids every place in the world and the fantastic inventions, including the chassis for this FedEx SameDay Bot, who will be delivering things to you 15 minutes from your local store here pretty soon, I’m quite confident.

I think it’s an example of the innovation and creativity that has marked FedEx over 46 years of operation, and there’s more to come, I can assure you.  Stay tuned.

As I said, I’m honored to be up here representing 450,000 FedEx global team members who earned this award.  We’re proud to connect people and possibilities everywhere, and Senator Alexander’s kind remarks noted the scope of FedEx operations that allowed us to deliver, this day, 14.5 million shipments to 220 countries and territories.

At Fred Kempe’s request, I couldn’t make a film, but I’ve included a couple of biographical photographs that I believe are pertinent to the Atlantic Council’s important mission. Of particular note tonight regarding this event is the large FedEx presence in Europe where we have almost 50,000 people employed in 50 markets in a thousand facilities.  These include major hubs at Stansted, Liege, Cologne, Milan, and our largest, at Charles de Gaulle airport, or CDG as it is better known.  It sits right outside of Paris to the north-northeast of the city.  We operate 700 flights and about 55,000 highway trips per week in Europe.

Now, France has always been a very important country for FedEx.  We began operations using French aircraft, Dassault Falcon 20 freighters.  Each is about as big as one of the engines on our 777 freighters today.  (Laughter.)  Our first Falcon, 8FE Wendy, sits in the Smithsonian at Dulles Airport.  All planes are named for FedEx team members’ children drawn by lot.  Today, FedEx actually operates a few more than Senator Alexander mentioned, 679 aircraft.  (Laughter.)

I’m especially proud to be here tonight with one of France’s greatest citizens, whom I greatly admire, Christine Lagarde, the distinguished director of the International Monetary Fund.  She was previously a partner and ultimately chairman of Baker McKenzie, which is FedEx’s global legal advisor.  So she represented FedEx ably for many years before becoming the minister of finance for France. 

The modern strategic relationship between the U.S. and Europe now spans over a century and began when this country entered World War I in April 1917.  One of my good friends in college was Dick Pershing.  Dick was the grandson of General John J. Pershing, who led the American expeditionary force into France.  We often sat in Dick Pershing’s library in New York City under the portrait of the great general.  And you could see in those stern, piercing eyes the determination and resolve that oversaw the unprecedented defeat that he accomplished to turn the tide in the great war. 

As Senator Alexander mentioned, I had the great honor of serving in the Marine Corps immediately after graduating from Yale in 1966.  Two years later, in 1968, I was in Vietnam as a company commander in the 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment, a renowned unit in a storied branch of the American military.  It was the 5th and 6th regiments that composed the two main units of Pershing’s Marine brigade 100 years ago in 1918 that initiated the first major fighting for Americans against the highly experienced German army.  That spring the Germans launched a great offensive against the allies in the West.  Germany’s key objective was to finally take Paris, thereby winning the war after four years of stalemate and unprecedented slaughter.

The Marine brigade had been assigned to guard the road 40 miles northeast of Paris.  The tip of the German spear was the Wald Belleau, a heavily wooded hunting preserve occupied by tough German veterans dug in among ravines and tangled foliage.  The untested Marines of the AEF attacked the Germans through a wheat field, swept by intense fire, suffering 1,000 casualties on the first day alone.  After nine days of assaults – excuse me – after nine assaults and twenty days of fierce close-in fighting, the Marine brigade prevailed, blunting the German advance and, Christine, saved Paris. 

I believe it was at Belleau Wood on June the 6th 1918 that the seventy-year alliance honored here tonight was foreordained.  It was at the cost of 10,000 Americans dead, wounded, or missing in action.  The initial victory was followed over five months by a series of now legendary battles for Pershing’s armies that would end World War I at the 11th hour, on the 11th month, of the year 1918, 11th day as well, now our Veterans Day.  Last year, I went with several of our senior Europe executives and our youngest daughter Sam, of FedEx government affairs, who’s here tonight, to Belleau Wood to pay my respects to 2,289 Marines and soldiers who lie in eternal repose at the beautiful Aisne-Marne Cemetery nearby. 

One of those resting there was Lieutenant Weedon Osborne, who was killed the first day of the battle.  He was a young Navy dentist from South Carolina who went forward voluntarily to retrieve wounded Marines and rush them to safety.  Lieutenant Weedon was awarded the Medal of Honor.  Sam and I laid a wreath in honor and remembrance of all the young Americans who died to preserve the freedom of Europe in both World Wars.

As FedEx grew into a significant company through the 1980s and ’90s, we were bolstered by our expansion throughout the world to the growth in global trade and communications.  It was a great day when we introduced our first Boeing’s after air cargo reform in 1977, and in the 1980s we began flying our first wide-bodied freighters overseas, which Americans commitment – America’s commitment to open skies made possible.  The unprecedented door-to-door trade flowing through the international networks of FedEx have truly changed the way the world works.  You may find it of interest that the express super-hub in Memphis, shown here, processes more customs entry per day than any other U.S. port.

In early June 1994, FedEx conducted – or, concluded an agreement to put our largest hub in Europe at CDG.  I’ll never forget the day when the general manager of CDG stopped in the middle of his briefing for our board of directors.  He held up a small vial of sand from Omaha Beach, and a coin with Eisenhower likeness the airport gave every arriving veteran.  He said simply:  Every French school child knows about those cemeteries above the Normandy Beaches.  And every French citizen knows what the Americans have done for our country in two wars.  We, at FedEx, are very proud of our major hub in Europe being located in France, where we are in the midst of a major expansion now.

We fly from CDG daily to many places around the world, including Asian hubs in Guangzhou, pictured here, Singapore, Shanghai, and Osaka.  We often hear now that we’re living the Asian century, and FedEx has been heavily involved on that side of the world for decades.  I had the privilege to serve as chairman of both the French-American Business Council and the U.S.-China Business Council, the latter during the period when China was admitted to the WTO.  This photo is the FedEx board of directors and our senior management team in 1998 being hosted by President Jiang Zemin with key members of his government in Beijing. 

China’s economic growth has been unprecedented in the history of the world.  Since the financial crisis of 2008 and ’(0)9, China has significantly changed its posture from a purely commercial orientation to one that is much more geopolitical with such initiatives as Made in China 2025, indigenous innovation, rapid expansion of bases in the South China Sea, and a major buildup of its navy. 

While I believe the world is far better off with China having improved the living standards of hundreds of millions of its citizens, no one should ever forget this was largely done by opening the markets of Europe and the United States to Chinese exports.  FedEx played a major role in facilitating China’s growth, which is why our board was welcomed by China’s president 21 years ago.  I dare say, it is unlikely China’s leadership would host a Western company’s top management today in such a fashion.  Times have changed. 

We at FedEx were profoundly disappointed that the U.S. administration ended our country’s involvement with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which was recently consummated by the 11 other countries.  Our lack of participation puts American exporters at significant disadvantage.  In the same vein, the efforts to conclude the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership also ceased shortly after the new administration took office.  I strongly believe both of these decisions were unfortunate.  And I have had the opportunity to express that to the president himself.

In this regard, hopefully his current trade negotiations between the U.S. and China and the U.S. and Europe will further reduce trade barriers and achieve the ambitions of President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull, who began the march towards open markets with the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act of 1934.

Following World War II, the U.S. worked hard to develop rules-based institutions such as the IMF, which Christine heads, the World Bank, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which became the World Trade Organization in 1995.  Without question such institutions fed the growth of global prosperity in the latter half of the 20th century, leading Europe and the U.S. to become each other’s largest trading partner and the largest recipients of each other’s foreign investments.  We believe the relationship between the democracies of North America and the democracies of Europe is key, in turn, to a stable and prosperous relationship with China and the rest of the world.

From time to time I visit Arlington National Cemetery and pay my respects to my old friend Dick Pershing, who lies at the highest point in Washington alongside his grandfather General of the Armies John J. Pershing.  I was about 30 miles away – and I suspect Jim Jones not much further than that – when Lieutenant Pershing was killed in Vietnam in February 1968.  He served in the famed 101st Airborne that jumped into Normandy 75 years ago this June.  At the pinnacle of that hallowed place I think about Dick and what he might have become, and my mind always turns then to the World War I doughboys that General Pershing took to France 100 years ago and the GIs that followed a generation later in Eisenhower’s armies during World War II.

Many of our dead from both wars rest in Arlington, and I think about what they gave for the freedom of the world and the defense of Europe.  They gave everything.  The deep and sacred ties between Europe and the United States transcend the here and there – here and now, dollars and cents, and the news of the day.  These bonds were consecrated by the heroes that lie on the slopes below the Pershing’s graves and overseas within the beautiful American cemeteries across Europe.  We forget their sacrifice and the important Atlantic relationship honored tonight at great peril to the security, prosperity, and peace of the world to come.  Thank you.  (Applause.)



ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Ms. Ivanka Trump.  (Applause.)

IVANKA TRUMP:  Thank you.  And this has truly been a spectacular night, so I want to congratulate all of tonight’s honorees and award recipients and everyone who came to support the Atlantic Council this evening and the excellent work that they’re doing.  So thank you all.  (Applause.)

This evening I am deeply honored to introduce the next award recipient, a leader and a friend who has shaped my own thinking and who shares a passion for women’s economic development and so, so many other issues, as evidenced by that great video, Madam Christine Lagarde.  (Cheers, applause.)

Twenty years ago she was elected as the first-ever woman to run the third-largest law firm – apparently Fred’s law firm – in the world.  Today Madam Lagarde is a model of excellence, a visionary for global finance, and a pioneer for women around the world.  In 2007 Madam Lagarde became the first woman in the eurozone to hold the position of finance minister.  During the financial crisis of 2008 she guided the French economy with a steady hand decisive action, and fresh thinking.  As Madam Lagarde often reminds us, if it had been Lehman Sisters rather than Lehman Brothers the world might very well look a little different today.  (Laughter, applause.)

In 2011 Madam Lagarde was elected as the managing director and chairman of the International Monetary Fund, again the first time ever a woman has held this role.  In the eight years since she has modernized the IMF and pushed the boundaries of economic analysis to empower women and to help leaders to overcome corruption with transparency and service to their citizens.

In every phase of her career, Madam Lagarde has faced opposition from resisters of change.  But she has always responded with both poise and strength of character, bringing even her skeptics to the table for the common good.

I will never forget being at the G-20 main session last year in Buenos Aires with Christine.  She was addressing the heads of state in attendance, all of whom happened to be men with the exception of Prime Minister May.  Chancellor Merkel had been running late and had been delayed in arriving.  Madam Lagarde opened the first session, which happened to be entitled “Women’s Economic Empowerment,” by saying “Lady and gentlemen.”  (Laughter.)  Point made.

Madam Lagarde is among a rare class of leaders who embody the best paradox of humanity.  She is relatable, yet cerebral.  She is warm, yet uncompromising.  She is among the fiercest negotiators, yet an excellent consensus-builder.  She has a heart big enough to serve the world and an intellect to make it better.  She lives by the motto of her high school which is just a couple of miles down the road, Holton-Arms:  I will find a way or make one.

Christine, this evening we thank you for paving a way to a brighter, more just future for women and for the world.  I ask you to join me in welcoming to the stage Madam Christine Lagarde as we present her with the Atlantic Council’s 2019 Distinguished International Leadership Award.  Congratulations, Christine.  (Applause.)


CHRISTINE LAGARDE:  Bonsoir, tout le monde!

AUDIENCE:  Bonsoir!

LAGARDE: Whew! (Laughter.)

This is the Atlantic Council.  We speak all languages, we understand each other, and the purpose of it is to keep and bring people together.  And I salute tonight, obviously, Ivanka, who has been such a wonderful, wonderful introducer to me, and who shares the same passion that I have to empower women and to help them around the world.

I would like to thank Fred Kempe, the Atlantic Council, and all the board members of the Atlantic Council.  Thank you so much for the job that you do.  (Applause.)

I would like to also recognize my fellow awardees of vintage 2019, and I really would like to say a special thank you and express my gratitude and my friendship to Adrienne, who is such a generous, passionate, and wonderful friend to many of us and to me, in particular.

Adrienne, bravo.  (Applause.)

And I would like also to recognize an old client of mine, Fred.  It was a pleasure to serve you as a lawyer, and it is extraordinary to see the expansion of your Paris base.  It used to be that small – not small, actually.  It was already big, and then you expanded it, and expanded it, and I see that you expanded it yet again.  You are a genius entrepreneur in addition to being an extraordinary human being, so well done to you, of course.  (Applause.)

Now NATO, of course, represented by its deputy secretary general, is a great, great, and terribly humbling awardee to be associated with, so I’m really humbled and privileged to be with such wonderful individuals and organization.

You know, as I was watching backstage these photos of mine, I was really a bit concerned at the beginning that they would show even more personal and intrusive photos – (laughter) – you know, those that would have described me as a – in my early professional life, those jobs that prepared me to be a good lawyer when I was a student and I had to earn my living:  assistant fishmonger, backstage wardrobe assistant, lifeguard, switchboard operator.  You just name it.  (Laughter.)  So no wonder, Fred, you selected me as a lawyer.  Well prepared I was.

No, what actually surprised me when I was watching these photos is those who were missing, and I would like to take the opportunity of this evening – not for too long – to say publicly thank you to them.  They are the ones who brought me here, and I would like to really say thank you to my mother.  I know everybody does that, but my mother was a bit special.  She was a very distinguished professor of ancient Greek and Latin, and yes, I had to have my seven years of Latin and five years of ancient Greek – (laughter) – to be a decent human being – (laughter).  So she was strict but very sensitive as well – only five years of ancient Greek – (laughter).  She was an accomplished skier, race car driver – yes, Adrienne, my mother was doing those things, too – and she was just an amazing role model to my brothers and myself.  She singlehandedly raised the whole family after my father passed away very early on in our lives, and she did that with courage, with generosity, and with resilience.  And those three attributes, to me, embody what a leader should demonstrate.

The second person I would like to say thank you to here is the person who hired me as a baby lawyer at Baker McKenzie.  She, too, was an incredible role model, and she taught me three things:  how to dress, how to address, and how to redress.  (Laughter, applause.)  And I haven’t forgotten any of those three.  I still remember those three today.  The most intriguing one, by the way, is redress, and friends of mine who are sitting in the room actually would probably remember what they called the little knife of Christine.  (Laughter.)  When you want to take out the – (inaudible) – send the bastards.  (Laughter.)  I shouldn’t have said that.  (Cheers, applause.)

Now, what I thought I would also tell you tonight is talk to you about the leaders that, thanks to my various jobs, in the course of my life I’ve met, particularly lately as managing director of the IMF.  No, I’m not going to talk to you about presidents and prime ministers and chancellors and highness, princes and kings or popes.  I’m going to talk to you about, all right, three.

The first one is Maximiliana Taco.  She’s this Peruvian lady that you saw walking with me hand in hand.  She lived in the high plateaus of Peru.  Her entire family had been decimated by the terrorists.  She didn’t know how to read.  She didn’t know how to count.  She didn’t know how to write.  And whenever she was earning a bit of money growing her guinea pigs and she was taking money to other places where she could buy something, she would be robbed.

So she had the courage, the generosity and the resilience to actually be taught through a microcredit program in Peru how to use a little credit card specific to that microcredit system.  And then she told all her neighbors how to use that system and how to combine that with the mobile telephone in those days so that the whole community could farm safely and could be self-sustainable.  That’s a leader to me.

The second person that I’ll remember always is the one I met in Indonesia last year when we had our annual meetings in Lombok.  Now, little did we know that Lombok would have a devastating earthquake.  So when I arrived there, I went to visit on site to see by myself and for myself what the disaster and what the damage was.  And that’s where I met the one I call the lady of Lombok.

Everything had been destroyed – no house left, nothing to harvest.  Everything was gone.  And there she was, together with the neighbors and the community, picking up the pieces and beginning the rebuilding of the community and the rebuilding of the houses.  She came towards me.  She reached out.  And I thought she was going to ask what we can do, what the IMF can bring, because we do give a lot to charities as well.  No, she didn’t ask.  She didn’t beg.  She did not complain.  She looked at me and she said, good luck, madam.  May you travel safely.  That’s also courage, generosity and resilience.

And the last one that I want to share with you is those firemen whom I met Wednesday a week ago, 24 hours after they had eventually put out the fire in Notre Dame.  And the colonel of the firemen that I met that day had been up for over 48 hours, and he was still driven, determined.  And he explained to me that a group of 20 young men, all in their early 20s, had volunteered to climb up the two towers in order to water from the top to save the structure of what was much more than a building, but this beloved symbol of peace, tolerance, respect, faith, worship, a place where my parents got married.

That also to me was courage, generosity and resilience.  It was to the peril of their lives, but they had no hesitation.  And the colonel said to me, if I had been only 20 years younger, I would have been with them too.

So inveniam viam aut faciam.  That’s what Holton-Arms’ motto says: I will find my way or make one.  That’s also what I like to do, heading the IMF now and leading a group of unbelievably talented and dedicated people whose life it is every day, everywhere, to actually show courage, to show generosity, and to show resilience.  We together try to make the place a better world.  We remind all those we work with that we are in this together, and that those sacrifices that were made 75 years ago or a century ago between this country and Europe was not in vain, and that those bonds are forever.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Ms. Nova Payton, performing, “The Impossible Dream,” accompanied by the congressional chorus and the American Pops Orchestra.  (Applause.)

(Music:  “The Impossible Dream.”)

(Cheers, applause.)

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Atlantic Council President and CEO Mr. Fred Kempe.  (Cheers, applause.)

KEMPE: So one more round of applause for Nova Payton, Luke Frazier, American Pops Orchestra, and the Congressional Chorus. (Cheers, applause.) 

This is a magnificent event.  It only has meaning, and we know that at the Atlantic Council, if we turn it into action.  With your help we can.  And we can – and we are determined to help create a better world.  Thank you so much for being here tonight.  We’ll see you next year.  And we’ll work with you all the days in between.  Thank you.  (Cheers, applause.)