September 21, 2012, the Atlantic Council hosted its annual Global Citizen Awards Dinner in New York City. The Council honored Aung San Suu Kyi, Henry Kissinger, Sadako Ogata, and Quincy Jones. We are also proud to announce the official launch of the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.
Welcome and Discussion:
President and CEO,
The Atlantic Council
Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft,
President and Founder, The Scowcroft Group,
The Atlantic Council
International Advisory Board,
The Atlantic Council
Chairman, The Atlantic Council,
Former U.S. Senator (R-NE)
Founder and Executive Chairman,
World Economic Forum
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Dr. Henry Kissinger,
Former National Security Advisor,
Former Secretary of State
Former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Aung San Suu Kyi,
National League for Democracy
Trumpeter, Producer, Social Activist
Location: The Atlantic Council of the United States, Washington, D.C.
Date: Friday, September 21, 2012
Federal News Service
ANNOUNCER: Welcome, and thank you for joining us at the 2012 Global Citizens Award Dinner. Ladies and gentlemen, Fred Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council. (Applause.)
FREDERICK KEMPE: Good evening. If I could have your attention please; good evening. Good evening, distinguished honorees Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Madame Sadako Ogata, Dr. Henry Kissinger, Mr. Quincy Jones. What a remarkable quartet. Congratulations on tonight. (Applause.) Co-chairmen and illustrious members of the Atlantic Council board and international advisory board, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, welcome.
This is the Atlantic Council’s third annual Global Citizen Awards Dinner. I’m delighted to see so many of you who have been with us since the very beginning of this initiative and honored to welcome new co-chairmen and members of this influential audience. This is the ultimate community of influence, and we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. Three years ago, we celebrated Professor Klaus Schwab, the inspirational leader of the World Economic Forum, as our inaugural awardee of the Global Citizen Award. (Applause.) It was a perfect way to launch this award, as he embodies the notion of global citizenship. Professor Schwab, we are honored that you are here tonight to salute this year’s honorees.
I’m also delighted that Madame Christine Lagarde, a recipient of our Global Citizen Award last year, is with us tonight as well. (Applause.) Madame Lagarde, we knew you had courage, diplomatic craft, skill, the ability to get things done in a crisis. We just didn’t know it would be needed so sorely in the last 12 months. Thank you so much for your contributions to what we’ve achieved in avoiding financial – the financial precipice.
Last year, we also presented the award to the late prime minister of Lebanon, Mr. Rafik Hariri. The award was accepted by his eldest son, Bahaa Hariri, a member of our international advisory board, who also joins us for this special occasion. (Applause.) It was a wonderful moment last year with so many members of the Hariri family in the audience. We’re so proud to have captured the legacy of your father in this center, and after a remarkable first year in operation.
As many of you know, our Global Citizen Awards were introduced to recognize the council’s expanded global mission. Last week’s tragic death of our ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens – a friend of many of us, a colleague of many of us – the continuing carnage in Syria, the political and geopolitical and global repercussions of the ongoing eurozone crisis, America’s own political and economic challenges ahead of a historic election – this just scratches the surface of the issues that underscore the relevance and urgency of the Atlantic Council mission.
We don’t believe the Atlantic community and its global friends can solve all the world’s problems. But we do believe greater common purpose among us is a precondition to their solution. Conversely, we fear a bleak global future if we don’t rise to our historic challenges. So tonight is not just an awards dinner, it’s a call to action.
Recognizing the global nature of the Atlantic challenge, the council three years ago launched centers of South Asia, Africa and Eurasia and a program on global business and economics. Continuing this work, as I said, we launched last year the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. Tonight, we also will launch the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. We are enormously fortunate to have Brent Scowcroft here with us tonight to officially announce the launch of this center. (Applause.) Atlantic Council Chairman Chuck Hagel will have more to say about the Scowcroft Center in a moment and will introduce General Scowcroft. But I would like to mention a great member – number of the founding members of the Scowcroft Center are in tonight’s audience.
I would like to ask all of the founding members who are here to stand as I name them – and then please give them your applause, but hold until I get to the end of the list please: General Brent Scowcroft; Bahaa Hariri; George Lund; Adrienne Arsht; Alexander Mirtchev; the government of the United Arab Emirates represented tonight by the UAE’s ambassador to the United States, Yousef al-Otaiba and at the reception earlier this evening, by UAE foreign minister, His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan; the Kingdom of Bahrain, represented tonight by Ambassador Houda Nonoo; the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, represented tonight by His Royal Highness Prince Tuki al-Faisal; Zurich Insurance Company, represented tonight by Francis Bouchard and Michael Kerner. I would also like to recognize – oh, and I will ask the next two people to stand as well – I would also like to recognize the attendance of His Excellency Carl Bildt, minister of foreign affairs of Sweden, and please also, Ambassador Jonas Hafstrom, the Swedish ambassador to the U.S. Thanks to Minister Bildt’s – (applause). Thanks to Minister Bildt’s leadership, the Swedish foreign ministry will provide support to the Scowcroft Center’s Strategic Foresight Initiative and will partner with the government of Sweden, which assesses global trends, emerging technologies and the impact of strategic shocks. Thanks to all of you. (Applause.)
We also have a new initiative that we’re announcing tonight – another new initiative, which is the Women in Global Security. And so I’ll be recognizing, again, council board member Adrienne Arsht, the latest founding member of the council’s Scowcroft Center. Thanks to her generous support and vision, we will be launching this initiative which will both be a platform in Washington to Cabinet-level official and above women in global security around the world, while also nurturing a new generation of women in global security in the United States and in Washington. Thank you very much, Adrienne. (Applause.) This effort will be led by Scowcroft Center Vice Chair Ellen Tauscher, Atlantic Council board member Mary Howell, as well as Laura Liswood. Thank you to all of you.
It’s now my great pleasure to introduce Victor Chu, one of the most creative business leaders, dedicated philanthropists and consistent friends anybody in the world can have. It was a lot of new ideas, were hatched in Davos. And it was in Davos four years ago that Victor and I sat down and he inspired the idea of these awards as a means of galvanizing the Atlantic Council’s global mission.
He and several other international advisory board members thought about who would be the best first recipient. And on the 40th anniversary of the World Economic Forum, the choice of Klaus Schwab was unanimous. Queen Rania introduced him and the great pianist Lang Lang performed on his behalf. By the way, we’ll have a surprise performance at the end of tonight as well. In our second year, we recognized Christine Lagarde, Senator John Kerry and the late Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri, as I said before. And you know the powerful recipients this year, each an inspiration for our lives and whatever generations will follow. But none of us would be here tonight if it weren’t for Victor, for his leadership, his engagement and support of these awards. He’s as personally humble as he is professionally determined. He’s as visionary in his ideas as he is soft-spoken in articulating them.
And this is not the first he’s been involved with. He was – his first eastern was the first Equity Investment Group in China. His partnership with Peach – with launching Peach Airlines was the first low-cost airline in Japan with ANA, and we’re very happy to have tonight his partner in that venture, the chairman of ANA, Yoji Ohashi. And it goes without saying he embodies global citizenship. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Victor Chu to the stage. (Applause.)
VICTOR CHU: Thank you so much for your kind words, Fred. Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, time flies and we are here for the third time. I’m particularly pleased that Klaus and Hilde and Christine are with us this evening, and I hope we are now building on a tradition that previous awardees of the Global Citizen Award are always back to present the awards and join us and share their wisdom with us.
The creation of the Global Citizen Award is to recognize that we live in an interconnected and an interdependent world. Problems of today mainly are global, and it requires men and women of global vision who are determined to reach out beyond their own shores and their own professions to try to improve the lives of others. Tonight, we are extremely privileged to recognize another four outstanding individuals, and amongst them are the first two Asian individuals that we recognize with these awards. Respectively, they champion world peace, they champion human rights, they champion human security and they champion harmony through art and music and philanthropy. So I look forward to a wonderful evening that we can celebrate these achievements together.
And now, I have the great honor of introducing to you a war hero, a statesman, business leader, and most recently, a scholar and professor and since he assumed the chairmanship of the Atlantic Council, we have gone from strength to strength. Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the chairman of the Atlantic Council, Senator Chuck Hagel. (Applause.)
CHARLES HAGEL: Victor, thank you. Welcome. Good evening. We are grateful that you are here tonight to help us recognize and celebrate individuals who have made – continue to make significant positive, important contributions to our world. I also want to thank our board, and on behalf of the board of directors of the Atlantic Council I welcome you.
I want to thank the leadership of this institution – Fred Kempe and his magnificent team – for what they are doing to make the Atlantic Council relevant to the great challenges of the early 21st century. That is not an easy task. (Applause.) And in a moment, I will ask one of the most special individuals in this business to come out and share his thoughts about the institution and about our future. But as I prepare to do that, let me make one comment about our honorees tonight.
We – as Victor noted, we, being 7 billion global citizens, now part of a global community underpinned by a global economy, all living side-by-side trying to raise our families, trying to be hopeful about the future and our children’s and grandchildren’s futures – is always a challenge for every generation. And it is the story and the history of mankind.
We recognize four individuals tonight who have in each their own way contributed to hope in our world. They have led lives – committed their lives to making a better world. And at a time in which the world is undergoing a high state of uncertainty, a world of great danger, a world of great complication, a world of great combustibility, we often tend to overlook what’s good, what’s good with our world, what’s good in our world and what makes that good world even better.
And an institution like the Atlantic Council should be about that as well, as about the importance we have in helping develop policy and inform and educate and engage. But we must not ever forget the human dimension, the humanity of who we are and the decency of who we are. And these four individuals tonight represent all of those components to our civilization and we’re very proud of that recognition and the opportunity to recognize these four individuals.
Now, let me introduce you to an individual that you all know – know of, as selfless, a public servant that I’ve been privileged to know and work with over many years. Brent Scowcroft’s career spans many years in many ways. He is in a pantheon of very few world leaders, understated, quiet, unassuming but has had a role in almost every big event post-World War II. We have others here tonight, Henry Kissinger being one of them who would fit in that special satellite of great leaders. But Brent Scowcroft is a rare, are individual. And I don’t know of an individual who is more regarded, more respected, more admired and beloved than Brent Scowcroft. And that’s not easy in the world that he has had to navigate and help lead in.
Brent is going to talk a little, I hope, about the new Brent Scowcroft Center that Fred noted. I think bringing this new body, forum, structure into a very important, relevant, admired organization like the Atlantic – trans-Atlantic organization – the Atlantic Council adds a dimension that institutions must always bring to their future and their relevancy. Brent has been very generous in allowing us to use his name, his reputation and his personal involvement in accomplishing that. I think it’s one of the great developments of this 50-year-old institution that’s had many. And institutions don’t stay around for over 50 years unless they have contributed, unless they have been important.
So with that, ladies and gentlemen, one of our special American heroes known around the world and appreciated around the world for what he is and who he is, ladies and gentlemen, General Brent Scowcroft. (Applause.)
LIEUTENANT GENERAL BRENT SCOWCROFT: Thank you very much, Senator Hagel, for that kind introduction, and especially for your leadership on the Atlantic Council and decades of service to our wonderful country. It is very humbling for me to stand here before you on the evening of the launch of a center that will bear my name. While I am deeply honored to be associated with the creation of the Scowcroft Center, I’m also excited to see the work already underway in building the center and how it is already producing cutting-edge work on a range of issues the Atlantic Council was not addressing merely a couple of years ago. That is a testament to the great leadership of Chuck Hagel, Fred Kempe and the enormously talented team they have assembled. I applaud the center’s ambition for engaging in long-term thinking that goes beyond the issues of the inbox to anticipate the strategic shocks that can prove so disruptive to policymakers. I share the vision for fostering closer engagement between the United States, its traditional allies and new global partners to address complex security challenges. And as well, I am grateful for the generosity of so many of you and others who could not join us tonight in supporting the creation of this center. I feel this very deeply.
I would also like to recognize the leadership team of the Scowcroft Center who has done so much to turn this vision into a reality. I’m excited at everything that my good friend General Jim Jones has done to articulate the vision of the center and for his invaluable contributions as its chairman. I can think of few others who better embody what I hope the center will stand for than General Jones and I know his involvement will give it enormous credibility and allow it to exert outside influence in national capitals.
I would also like to recognize my friends Ellen Tauscher, George Lund and Ginny Mulberger who have generously supported the center and have contributed enormously to its development as its vice chairs. Please join me in giving them a round of applause. (Applause.)
Finally, I would like to recognize Barry Pavel for his extraordinary leadership in serving as the director of the center and the holder of the Arnold Kanter Chair. Barry, you and your team do us proud. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you very much.
And it now gives me great pleasure to introduce the recipient of the Atlantic Council’s Global Citizens Award, my dear friend and the 56th secretary of state, Dr. Henry Kissinger. (Applause.) It is customary to say, when introducing a well-known figure, that he needs no introduction. That certainly is true of a world celebrity like Henry Kissinger. You most certainly do not need the introduction, but Henry does. (Laughter.) And the more – the more extended and mellifluous, the better. (Laughter.) But I will not go there tonight. (Laughter.)
Just listening – listing even the most notable achievements of this remarkable man would easily consume the entire evening. Let me make just a couple of points. Most secretaries of state reach their peak fame as they leave office. I venture to say that Henry Kissinger is perhaps more widely known in the world today than he was when he left office some 35 years ago. He is a synonym of global diplomacy. But even more notably, I would like to point out that in my judgment Henry Kissinger has the most strategic mind certainly that I have ever encountered.
What do I mean by that? Henry is able to fashion and nurture all of the disparate elements of U.S. foreign policy in a manner to facilitate their individual success but he managed to do that in a way through which each contributed to the success of the other elements of the policy. That is a remarkable and almost unique talent. History does not reveal its alternatives but it does make clear that the United States, and indeed the world, is a safer, more peaceful and more prosperous place as a result of the contributions of Henry Kissinger, though he did leave a problem or two for us lowly mortals to deal with. And now, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great honor and privilege for me to present the Atlantic Council Global Citizens Award to the Honorable Henry A. Kissinger. (Applause.)
HENRY KISSINGER: Fred, ladies and gentlemen, you have witnessed an extraordinary spiritual performance on the part of Brent Scowcroft – that anyone who worked with me for as long as he did and still speaks to me – (laughter) – deserves enormous credit. And he can bring himself to say some positive words as well, you have to recognize that you are in the presence of a man of great capacity for forgiveness. (Laughter, applause.)
As always happens when I am introduced, there are many gaps in the achievements that are listed. (Laughter.) But I’d just point out one, that for a few years I was simultaneously security advisor and secretary of state. And I mention it because never before and never since have relations between the White House and the State Department been as constructive – (laughter) – as they were in those days. It is a great honor for me. Brent and I worked together for many years in a difficult period for American foreign policy, in a divided America, and Brent has gone on for decades afterwards to contribute to world order and a creative American foreign policy. So I am extremely happy to be here at the creation of the Scowcroft Center that will make its contribution in a world that faces unprecedented challenges, and on a global basis.
The nation-state as we knew it is in the process of modification, if not in some regions disappearing. The relationship of the continents to each other has to be designed in the face of the shift of the center of gravity from the Atlantic region to the Pacific and Indian Ocean. And there has been another shift from a focus on foreign dangers to the rifts produced by the operation of the international system itself.
We have a globalized economic system based on the principle of comparative advantage. We have a political system, based on states, which operate on the premise that the national interest plays a principal role. How to relate the imperatives of globalization with the necessities of the national interest underlies many of the issues of our day. We see the emergence of new major powers and we are told that history teaches that this leads to inevitable conflict. But history also teaches that there can be kinds of conflicts that so drain the participants that victory has no meaning, so that, in our time, the need is to achieve security without military confrontations. And of course, we are all familiar with the challenges of proliferation, energy, environment, which are global issues.
So it is not strange that the Atlantic Council, which was formed for the Atlantic Partnership and to sustain the Atlantic Partnership should now address global problems. The cohesion of the Atlantic partisanship is important because the two sides of it should not drift into competitive perceptions. But it’s also important because it must relate itself to the other parts of the world and to enable the other parts of the world to play a significant role.
Brent, with his conciliatory nature and with his extraordinary perceptiveness, will be able to help within America to heal some of the divisions which have made our approach on a comprehensive basis more difficult. And he and his associates will undertake studies that will enable us to face a future not from the point of view of how to overcome our immediate problems but from the point of view of a vision of the world we want to bring about.
And I want to say what a great honor it is for me to be here honored at the same time as our friend from Burma. She has shown the world that societies are inspired by the vision of the courageous. And they become great when they turn confrontation into reconciliation.
So thank you all for inviting me here. Thank you, Brent, for the kind words that you have said and for – and I know as soon as I leave the stage, he will point out to me some regions of the world that I have neglected – (laughter) – and pay adequate tribute to. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
MR. KEMPE: Dr. Kissinger, there could have been no more powerful statement of Atlantic Council mission and purpose. He did stop me, and we had a brief chat backstage – and I maybe paraphrasing a little bit here, but to the best of my recollection he said, Victor Chu, Madame Ogata, Aung San Suu Kyi – it seems Asia is taking over the Atlantic Council. (Laughter.)
The only answer I’ll have to that, Dr. Kissinger, is we believe that there should be a pivot to Asia or a pivot to the Arab awakening or a pivot to climate change but it should be done with our allies and global friends. It is now my great honor to introduce our inaugural Global Citizen Awardee, Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. He is one of the world’s great intellectual entrepreneurs. Just last year, Professor Schwab said here that we as leaders need to ensure that strategy rather than crisis will drive the world. But to do that, he said, we had to come up with common strategies. And that is our challenge. There is perhaps no other person who has worked so many years with such focus and success in improving the state of the world. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Professor Klaus Schwab. (Applause.)
KLAUS SCHWAB: It’s a great honor to be back here. And it’s even a greater honor to introduce a friend, a great mentor, a true global citizen, a role model for humanity, Sadako Ogata. Sadako Ogata could be described in many ways – as a scholar, as a diplomat; but above all, she is a humanist. And among the many functions she exercised, I just would like to mention three which show her dedication to the global good.
She was chairman of the executive committee of UNICEF and, particularly, she was the high commissioner – the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees for over nine years. She also during the last years – she just left her position as the president of the Japanese organization for development cooperative – development. You see, I’m speaking out of my heart when speaking about Sadako.
Just imagine, when she was the high commissioner – and it was at the time of the wars in the Balkans, in Burundi, Iraq, Kuwait – she was responsible for every 130th citizen on this Earth. I don’t know of any refugee camp which she didn’t visit, sometimes under extreme hardship. She gave hope to all those displaced persons. I couldn’t imagine a person who has dedicated her life with humility, with dedication, with passion, with compassion, so much to human dignity and human security.
Sadako, you are a true global citizen – a global citizen as we need many more, a global citizen who is ready to serve not only humankind but, if necessary, to take all the risks on yourself which it means particularly when you are working in disaster areas. The world owes you a lot. And therefore it’s my great privilege to hand out to you the 2012 Global Citizen Award of the Atlantic Council. Please join me in honoring professor, Dr. Sadako Ogata. (Applause.)
SADAKO OGATA: One surprise after another, Klaus. It is really a big surprise and a great honor to come here tonight and be given this award of the World Economic – the Atlantic Council.
As you know, I’m from Japan. Japan is not exactly in the Atlantic community. But I suppose it is part of the worldwide community of – what shall I say – people who want to do – bring the world peace, security and also some order. And thank you very, very much.
I would like to say what an honor it is – and what a big surprise, the way you are presenting me this award. And I think this award has also given me an occasion to reflect on my own years of trying to do something for the world and especially to reflect especially on the 10 years as I served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, followed by another eight and a half years as the president of Japan International Cooperation Agency. And during – I have just retired from all of these things, right, and now here I am to receive a prize. (Laughter.)
During my years of active service, I had expected that the end of the Cold War and the decolonization process would bring global peace and stability. Many refugees would head home and engage in new state-building. But in reality, what happened proved quite the opposite. The demise of the Cold War led to the breakdown of Communist regimes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The breakdown of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia caused the most devastating conflicts among the three main ethnic constituent groups of Serbs, Croats and Muslims. And I had the pleasure of going – visiting the Balkans this spring. People were getting back to their homes, but they were still short of houses and places to stay on.
The second front after the Cold War was in Africa. While the decolonization process brought independence and self-reliance to many states, it caused new conflicts among the various tribal groups and local leaders and the colonial powers often failed to settle the economic and social confrontation among the various African population. And among the most serious were the conflicts in the Great Lakes region where historical confrontations among the people of Rwanda, Burundi and Zaire resulted in bringing about large numbers of refugees in serious need of safety and survival. Conflicts had to be settled, but peace, just as economic viability, had to be immediately introduced. And the population was in need of security but also in search of more lasting economic viability and social order. UNHCR – that is, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – could cope with the immediate provision of food and medical care but hardly capable of assuring the people more lasting safety and justice.
It was in response to the problems of the post-Cold War period that the need for new security and development thinking began to grow. And the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which I headed from 2003 after going back to Japan and just retired a few months ago, the Asian countries which it had concentrated its development efforts were advancing considerably. And more and more, Japan International Cooperation Agency began to shift its technical and economic assistance programs to East Asia – from East Asia to cover Africa and the countries recovering from conflict and rural disasters, and the idea of linking security thinking with people’s livelihood gained the attention of leaders in many parts of the world. In other words, they were reminded that security not only related to statehood but was also central to the livelihood of a wide range of people.
At the 2000 U.N. Millennium Summit, the U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan launched the idea to uphold the concept of human security and set up an independent commission to explore its relevance. Amartya Sen and myself were assigned to co-chair the commission. And over the last 10 years, together with a wide range of colleagues and collaborators, Professor Sen and myself have explored and acted to advance the concept not only of security in general but particularly of human security.
Today, the refugees are again on the increase. Unfortunately, that is the reality. And poverty and displacement are still growing. By fostering more in human security, might we not at least reverse the trend? And I think this is the great challenge that the Atlantic Council is now going to face beyond the Atlantic community, all over the world. And I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Atlantic Council for the honor you have bestowed on myself. I come from a country that is not in the Atlantic Council.
But I think the world is already becoming so globally integrated that from the Atlantic Council you have to reach everybody, all over the world – and once again, to stand together for establishing the security of people. And human security, I think, must indeed serve as the imperative to rebuild the very, very rapidly globalizing world that we are facing today.
And I would like to once more thank you for the great honor and the trust that you have given to myself, which is from Japan, representing the other part of the world that is becoming very, very much linked with the Atlantic Council. And thank you again. Thank you very, very much. (Applause.)
MR. KEMPE: Thank you and congratulations, Madame Ogata. One important matter before our dinner break – it’s my honor to introduce tonight’s dinner co-chairs who have made this evening possible. By playing this role, they express their respect not only for the awardees but support for our mission.
So hold your applause until the end, please, as I read their names: His Royal Highness Prince Turki al-Faisal, David Arkless, Adrienne Arsht, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, Tom Blair, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Victor Chu, Richard Edelman, Ashraf Ghani, Peter Grauer, Bahaa Hariri, Brian Henderson, Yoshito Hori, Muhtar Kent, Walter Kielholz, President Aleksander Kwasniewski, Dinu Patriciu, Amartya Sen, Larry Summers, Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, Alistair Lucks, George Lund, Yoji Ohashi, Paul Polman, Brent Scowcroft, Tzvetan Vassilev, Daniel Vasella and George Watson, thank you so much for supporting tonight’s celebration. (Applause.)
We’ll now break for dinner. Following dinner, we will make the presentations to the final two awardees, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Mr. Quincy Jones, and we’ll conclude our program with a very special musical presentation. I’ll only give you one hint, that neither one of the two great artists is over the age of 14, followed by desert and a cordial reception in the lobby. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please turn your attention to the screens. (Video plays.)
MR. KEMP: (Applause.) That music and those words were composed by Bono and U2 in honor of our next awardee. Ladies and gentlemen, since Christine Lagarde’s acceptance of the Global Citizen Award one year ago, when she was heralded as the “Belle in Chanel” by the New York Post, Madame Christine Lagarde has been faced with unprecedented challenges in her role as managing director of the International Monetary Fund.
But she has taken on these challenges with grace, courage and the calm resolve needed to bring the global economy back from a dangerous precipice. We’re grateful for her leadership through these difficult times and for her presence tonight. Please welcome to the stage my good friend and a friend of Atlanticists everywhere, Madame Christine Lagarde. (Applause.)
CHRISTINE LAGARDE: Thank you very much, Fred. Thank you, Victor. Thank you, Chuck. Thank you to the Atlantic Council for being so indulgent as to having me again this year. And warm congratulations to Dr. Kissinger, to Dr. Professor Ogata and to those who are going to be awarded tonight. I have to tell you something. I’ve been in my job as managing director of the IMF for over a year now. And I don’t get intimidated easily. (Laughter.) No, politics, money, power, economy, crisis, just name it – machismo as well, a little bit of that. (Laughter.)
But I tell you something. When it’s resilience in the face of adversity, when it’s simplicity in the face of success, when it is kindness, when it is spirituality, I get unbelievably intimidated. And tonight, I just wish I was small – I’ve always wish I was a bit smaller. (Laughter.) But tonight I wish I was really small because she’s very, very big. And I would like to be much smaller than she is tonight.
So I’m extremely impressed and extremely intimidated to introduce tonight Aung San Suu Kyi, whom I will call in the first five minutes that you will have to put up with me – I will call her Daw Suu, which is I think the name that her people name her – (inaudible) – Daw Suu. You were a true global citizen way before we talked about global citizenship; way before the Atlantic Council, rightly so, invented the award. You were a daughter of Asia, educated in New Delhi and Oxford, a global civil servant at the United Nations back in the early ’70s. And now you’re returning to New York 40 years later, as beautiful as ever. You are an amazing woman, a hero to millions, an inspiration to you and an inspiration to me.
And in my imagination, I don’t know about you, but you travel with the likes of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and a few others. Now, each of you – each of us, and you too, are many persons in one. And what I would like to do very briefly tonight is single out three persons you are, Daw Suu. You are a determined visionary. She was living a quiet life in Oxford when she had to rush to be by the side of her ailing mother in March 1988. And this was a very tumultuous time for her country. The student-led rising – uprising against the military reached its peak a few months later.
Now, Daw Suu could have easily chosen a comfortable life. But she took the much more difficult path, the one less traveled by, because she dreamed of a better future and would only rest when that dream had become a reality. She paid a very, very high personal price and made enormous sacrifices so that her vision could actually become an inclusive nation. She was under house arrest and not able to be by the side of her ailing husband, Michael Aris, the noted scholar of Tibetan students, when he passed away in 1999.
Now, when they started their life together, Daw Suu wrote to her husband a very simple request. And I’m quoting her: “I only ask one thing. Should my people need me, you would help me do my duty by them.” Now, tonight as we’re going to pay tribute to her, let us also remember her beloved husband, the late Michael Aris, and their two sons Alexander and Kim.
Now, you are a determined visionary. But you are also a role model. You can’t help it. If you have read Daw Suu’s book, she has a – the book is “Freedom From Fear.” There’s a whole chapter about Mahatma Gandhi, who once famously said: “My life is my message.” Well, so are you. Your life is your message. To women, you show how to lead with courage and determination in a vastly male-dominated society. To the oppressed, you show how to look the oppressor in the eye without flinching. To the young, you show that there are certain causes that are greater than a secure job and material comfort. And to the world, you show that the peaceful transition – for peaceful transition, ideas – ideals can be much more powerful than bullets. You’re a determined visionary. You’re a role model. But you’re also an incredible political leader. Others might have just settled with the status as an icon. Not you.
As a new member of the national parliament, you are busy reestablishing your National League for Democracy as a political force for the future. Daw Suu has long envisioned a modern democratic nation that will heal wounds and mend fences and build a bridge to the 21st century for all her people – the 58 million people from her country.
In her December 1988 speech, she asked her people to take part in the democratic struggle because it was the right thing to do. And she said: “Just continue to do what you believe is right. Later on, the fruit of what you do will become apparent of their own.” Your dream is becoming a reality, step-by-step, day after day, statute after statute, freedom after freedom.
In your Nobel acceptance speech, you spoke of not being forgotten. You actually said: The French say, partir c’est mourir un peu, et oublier c’est mourir un peu – to die – to part is to die a little, to be forgotten is to die a little. Well, Daw Suu, tonight what I can tell you is that no one has forgotten you. No one will ever forget you and your historic journey for your country. So tonight, we want to recognize you as a global citizen forever. And I now invite Aung San Suu Kyi to the stage to receive the Atlantic Council 2012 Global Citizen Award. Join me in welcoming her. (Applause.)
AUNG SAN SUU KYI: Thank you. Thank you for your very, very warm and very kind welcome. It’s an honor to receive the Atlantic Council award. It is an even greater honor to be – to receive it alongside Quincy Jones, Dr. Henry Kissinger and Sadako Ogata. I feel a bond with each one of them. Quincy Jones, because he is a musician – during the years while I was under detention, I made a resolution that I would never wish for anything, but that resolution was broken again and again and always for the same reason. I wished again and again that I were musically talented – (laughter) – because music has a way of reaching out to people across the barriers of language, across the barriers of race and culture and, of course, geographical borders. That is why I so admired musicians and so wished that I were one of them. I could not help wishing that wish. For this reason, I feel very close to all musicians. I felt that during those years when I was removed from the outside world, they gave me something that I could not get for myself. And for this reason, I’m honored to be together tonight with Quincy Jones.
Dr. Kissinger I felt I had a bond with for a completely different reason – apart from the fact that, of course, I knew about him, as who didn’t? I also had with me during my years of house arrest his thick book on diplomacy. (Laughter.) That really kept me going for many, many days. (Laughter, applause.) And it stopped me from being intellectually lazy. There were times when I was alone and I felt a little inclined to take things easy – mentally easy. But if you read Dr. Kissinger, you realize that this is not what you can do in this life. You have to face the intellectual challenges of our world. And that is how he and other writers helped me.
I was helped in many ways by people who did not know that they were in fact helping me, people whose voices I heard on the radio, people whose music I heard on the radio, people whose books I read, whose words I listened to. All this kept me in touch with the outside world. So I was never alone. People have often asked me how I survived those years. But I never felt it was a great difficulty because I felt connected to the rest of the world in spite of the fact that I was physically separated from them.
Ms. Sadako Ogata – again, there is a special bond. She was the very first rapporteur appointed by the United Nations to investigate the human rights situation in my country. When she came on an official visit, I was unable to meet her because I was under house arrest. But again, from my little shortwave radio, I heard about her presence in the country. I heard that she was there and I heard about how much hope she had given to those who wanted to live in peace with their conscience as they pursued their beliefs in the realm of politics and the ideas of freedom and democracy.
They were given hope by this small woman – I can say small about Ms. Sadako Ogata, although I can’t say that about Madame Lagarde. But even compared with me, Ms. Ogata is small. But she had a big heart. And we in Burma felt that. Even when she left her post as rapporteur for human rights and went to be high commissioner for refugees, she was not separated from my country because she helped a lot of our people who had gone across the borders to escape political persecution, to escape economic ills. And so she continued to be with us even after she was – she no longer came back to Burma as part of her job. I hope, however, that in the future she will come back and she will be able to see the changes that will be, I am sure, coming to our country.
I have to confess that I’m not quite sure how a global citizen should be defined. I am not quite sure whether I have the right to call myself a global citizen. If a global citizen is one whose work has attained global proportions, then I am afraid I cannot really say that I am one of them. I in no way – my work in no way compares with that of my fellow honorees in reaching the far – reaching all the places on this globe. But if a global citizen is one whose concerns encompass all the issues that are common to humanity, then I would like to claim that I alongside many of the people in Burma, those who have never been beyond their borders, are global citizens because what we have been struggling for over the last few decades have been what all human beings would be prepared to suffer for – for our freedom, for our security, for the right to live in peace with our conscience. And in this struggle, we have been helped – we have been supported by people from all over the globe. By taking us into their hearts, they have made us global citizens, even the humblest of us who have never known what it is to go beyond our borders.
So tonight when I am with you, I would like to tell you a little of what our struggle has been like. It has taken the movement for democracy in Burma two decades to reach the point where we could say: Now the real work can begin. We can start laying the foundation for a democratic society. For two decades, we had to struggle for the right to lay this foundation. We could say, in a way, that for two decades we were simply baking the bricks with which we would lay this foundation. Those were not easy years, but we managed to keep together because we believed in what we were doing and we believed in one another.
So tonight is a night when I must pay tribute to my colleagues whose names are unknown to the world – the nameless soldiers of democracy, as I often refer to them. Those nameless soldiers are so much bigger than others like me who are known and who have been given so many honors and who have had so many privileges that our unknown soldiers did not even dream of. They did not join the fight for democracy because they thought they were going to be heroes. But they were heroes and heroines for the simple fact that they expected nothing for the work that they had done. All they wanted was to achieve for our country the right to shape its own destiny. Our people should have the right to shape their own destiny.
When Burma was fighting for independence more than 60 years ago – because we achieved independence in 1948 – this was the cry that we should have the right to shape our own destiny. Yet after independence, we found that the people had no right to shape their own destiny. And this is why when I entered the movement for democracy in Burma I said that this was our second fight for independence, the kind of independence that would make our citizens not just those with full privileges in their own country but also with the potential to take their place as citizens of the world.
The long years of hardship taught us the value of perseverance, the value of self-discipline, the value of friendship and unity. We also learned that it is possible for people to change. We can change others as we ourselves can change, that we might be able to meet new challenges. We have had to change. There are some people who seems incapable of change. But even they begin to see that this is the time for our country to take a new path, a path that will lead us to unity, to security, to freedom. Burma is a land of many ethnic nationalities. The Burmese who form the majority are just one of these many ethnic nationalities.
We have to learn to live together as a union. When Burma became independence as the union of Burma, we had great hopes that our diversity would be our strength, that because of our very differences we could make our country more multi-dimensioned, stronger, more vibrant. These hopes have not yet been realized. We have not achieved the unity we so wanted. But I am confident that we will be able to achieve it because we owe it to the world. We owe it to all those who have supported us. We owe it to people like you.
This evening I have been shown so much warmth by strangers from lands where I would not have thought they had heard about our struggle – our struggle in Burma. Yet so many have come up to me to support me, to support what I have been doing, to give me kind words that will give me and my colleagues the strength to go on to complete the task that we set out on 24 years ago – 24 years, that’s almost a quarter of a century. I am very proud of my colleagues who have walked this long path with me. I am very proud of the fact that they did it in spite of all difficulties. So many have sacrificed all that they have for the sake of their beliefs, for the sake of the cause in which we all believe.
I genuinely feel a sense of humility when people say how much I have sacrificed. I feel I have sacrificed nothing – nothing compared to many of my colleagues. Also I have said often that it was not a sacrifice. It was a choice that I made. I decided to follow a path that I thought was right. And so, really, I deserve no praise for it nor do I really deserve compassion for any of the problems I might have met along the way because it was my choice. I chose to walk that path willingly. And I chose to continue along this path because I owe it to all of you and to the people of my country.
As political prisoners, we had to learn endurance. As activists, we had to cultivate determination and daring. And now that we have been given the chance to reconstruct our society, we need the courage and the wisdom to let go of old prejudices, to seek reconciliation, to work together in good faith with those who had once been our adversaries. I hope that our experiences will be of some use to others around the world who are struggling to rebuild their societies in a shape that will provide them with peace, prosperity and progress.
The ultimate – the best way in which we can repay those who have stood with us through the hard years, the most difficult times, will be to prove that there can be a happy ending to long struggles. We have yet to achieve that ending. But we will move towards it with faith and with daring. And then, we shall be able to say we have earned the title of global citizens. I hope you will stay with us as we work to become truly global citizens. Thank you. (Applause.)
MR. CHU: Ladies and gentlemen, it is said that Quincy Jones might need an entire volume to himself at the Encyclopedia Britannica if we were to record all his achievements. He is entirely unique. His life involves working with the who’s who of entertainment, from Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra. Remember “Fly Me to the Moon”, not to mention the “Thriller” with Michael Jackson. Seventy-nine nominations to the Grammy award, twenty-seven Grammy awards, including the Grammy Legend Award that he received in 1991; on top of that, 33 theme songs in motion pictures to his credit.
But Quincy is not content to achieve harmony just in music. It is his social activism that began in the 1960s with his support of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that sparked off a whole life of service and philanthropy. Whether it is problems in Ethiopia, to Katrina, to helping underprivileged youth in South Africa, Quincy took the lead. It is that part of his life, achieving harmony both in music but also helping the needy, that really make Quincy outstanding.
He is the only person that I know that speaks 22 languages, including Chinese and Japanese, and at the age of – at the young age of 79, he tells me that he is now learning Korean and Arabic. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Quincy Jones. (Applause.)
QUINCY JONES: My goodness. This is really a special night for me. I don’t know whether you can see it, but I’m so privileged and honored to be in such company that I honor so much and I know their stories. I’ve followed their lives and a lot of friends – through the same thing. And I want to say good evening to all of you. And I’m humbled, truly humbled to be here, accept this Atlantic Council’s global award – citizen’s award – as you celebrate your 50th anniversary.
And I feel very privileged to be included in such esteemed company as my fellow honorees tonight. They are heavy. Would you give them some more love? Give them love, come on. (Applause.) Come on, Henry Kissinger, my two ladies from Burma, oh my God – (inaudible).
Receiving this award is bittersweet, honorary, loving and everything you can imagine for me inasmuch as I’m honored to be recognized for whatever contributions I’ve been fortunate enough to make to this world. It saddens me to still find ourselves battling some of the same divisive and inflammatory issues that we were fighting with the last summer. For instance, I remember in the ’50s and ’60s with Dr. King – maybe 1958 – and we said – Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, isn’t it wonderful we won’t have to think about racism and all that nonsense, you know, in 1975. And here we are in 2012. And sometimes I wish the women would take over because they give life and they’re not so quick to take it. (Applause.) I’m serious. I’m serious.
The guys just keep doing the same thing over and over again. You don’t agree with me, I’m going to shoot you, I’m going to beat you up, I’m going to kill you. Come on, men. And I hope before I leave this planet that my foundation is a place that where all of the religions – Buddha and Judaism and Christianity, Hindu, Islam – and that’s what it’s really all about. And I’ve been blessed to have been traveling since I was 18 years old.
And Ben Webster, a great jazz saxophone player – before I left, I was playing trumpet with Lionel Hampton who’s said, young blood, step into my office – (inaudible) – step into my office, let me pull your coat. That means I have something very important to tell you about life. Wherever you go in the world – and I was going overseas with Lionel Hampton; I was a trumpet player at 18 – wherever you go, eat the food the real people eat, listen to the music they listen to and learn your 40 words in every language. And I really took that seriously. And it’s the best advice I ever had in my life because you’ve got to go to know; if you don’t go, you don’t know.
We went to Iran, everywhere – Iraq, Aleppo, Damascus, Karachi. And it’s a blessing. I don’t know how it happened to me. Maybe it came from not having a mother. But it’s one of the greatest things that ever happened in my life because I feel at home everywhere in the world. And in 1951, Dizzy Gillespie asked me to be the musical director of his band. I was 23 years old. I couldn’t believe it, because he was one of my gods. And it turned out to be the State Department tour in 1956, the first United States-sponsored goodwill tour to the unifying power of “We Are the World” in 1985, joining my brother Bono and Bob Geldof to lead a delegation one time. We had to learn a lot because we made a lot of dumb mistakes. We went on a delegation to the Vatican on behalf of the HIPC Third World Debt Relief and, most recently, bringing together the artists from North Africa and the Middle East to record a song of hope for a better future for their children in the wake of the Arab Spring.
And at that moment in the Castel Gandolfo in Italy, just believing with no agenda, Bono and I went and Geldof and Randall Robinson, a few other people, and in 25 minutes we met with Pope Paul and read our mission statement which is to reduce the debt and he read an affirmation. Bono and I went to – (inaudible) – that night, on a Thursday. And on Saturday, in the Herald Tribune, it said because of that meeting, knowing nothing at all, just having done our homework since we made so many mistakes with Live Aid and “We Are The World,” we had to do our homework and become educated. We got $27.5 billion from the world debt relief for Mozambique, the Ivory Coast and Bolivia. And I’m telling you, Bono and I, we were the happiest. We were smiling like two foxes eating sauerkraut. (Laughter.)
And that’s the way you learn. You make a lot of mistakes. And I’m very gracious for the mistakes that I make today because that’s how we learn and that’s how we keep going. And I’ve watched people come together, of all shades and backgrounds, to open their souls and share in the power and the joy that music brings to people’s lives.
From Chicago to Seattle, New York to the Chitlin’ Circuit, to Sweden, to Paris, Beijing, the Middle East, I’ve watched the power of music. And it astounds me. I can’t even drive a car and in particular American classical music which is jazz and blues, to make men forget about – and women, especially women – forget their differences and come together. That’s what it’s about, coming together.
To make their hearts swell to the point where you think it’s going to jump through their chest, to make them laugh, cry, jump, dance think and love because I don’t think anybody in this room could live without more than two weeks without music. Anybody out there can? Could you make it two weeks with no music at all? Anybody?
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No –
MR. JONES: Thank you. Two days? (Chuckles.) We take it for granted. And I don’t know it I was fortunate enough to get involved in it. I wanted to be a gangster when I was a kid, because that’s all – (laughter). I did when I was in Chicago. That’s all I saw were dead bodies and piles of money and tommy guns. Anyway, at 11 years old, God turned me around and changed – saved my life. It’s a power that doesn’t recognize color, class, religion, geographic boundaries. It’s universal and it may be the one only absolute power in the world that plays this role. And it’s why in the case of jazz that it has been embraced universally by every culture on this planet as Esperanto.
I’ll share a secret with you. There’s a reason that every musician in the world can communicate with one another. It’s because they speak the universal language hat is music. And more times than not, music is jazz and blues today. And when I studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, she said, Quincy, there’s only 12 notes; until God comes up with 13, learn what everybody did with those 12 notes. And as I said before, I can’t drive a car but I know that music. (Laughter.)
And that’s my strength in life. And it keeps me going and positive and looking at life, having the choice of a problem or a puzzle, all the negative things in my life. The problems you worry about and get all excited about. A puzzle is something that you can eventually solve. And so, I’d rather look at it like a puzzle than a problem.
And I was fortunate enough to find in my youth that and music has served me well for more than six decades. And in the global landscape that we live in today where ideas are exchanged with the stroke of a SIM key on a smartphone or computer, what better way to transcend geographical and cultural boundaries and build bridges than through the shared love of music. As a citizen of the world, a world that indeed is flat – we found that out in 1492, I think. You know, it just blows my mind to realize that Queen Isabella, who got Columbus to come over here to find this country, he was from Italy. Queen Isabella was 15 years old. See, I told you about these women – 15 years old. And I believe that we all have a human responsibility bestowed to us by a higher power to come together, come together and help those that are less fortunate than we are, a responsibility to respect one another as human beings. Ours is a choice to approach our lives from a place of togetherness and love or from a place of fear and hate. And for me, the latter is not an option.
I know in the depths of my heart that as long as we foster an environment where we approach each other with an open ear, open heart and open arms of love, respect and cooperation, we find more ourselves in a more tolerant, understanding and peaceful world. And I always remember why God gave us two ears and one mouth, especially – I talk a lot now, but – I’ve got a big mouth now. But when I was young, I realized that two ears and one mouth is so we listen more than we talk.
And to have a peaceful world, the more we shine a light on and address the multitude of problems that plague our planet, the better this world can be and there will be no limitations to the wonderful things that we can accomplish. And I know this will be true because I’ve been there when it has happened on many, many memorable occasions, especially tonight. That’s why I will always stay engaged. Forget about retirement, man. Take “re” off retirement, and that makes tired. I’m not tired yet. And I stay engaged because together we can do things for the betterment of mankind that we can never do alone. We have to do it together.
And tonight, as we come together to celebrate this fantastic Atlantic Council’s 50 years of commitment to achieving these very same goals, please know that I consider it such a great honor to participate in those shared and noble endeavors with you all, each and every one of you in this room. And I pledge to you as long as I have breath in my body – and I’ll be 80 next year – that I’ll always be there with you on the front lines in the fight for the wellbeing, peace and mutual understanding of every one of my fellow citizens in this world.
I’d like to thank Fred Kempe, the president of the Atlantic Council, and Victor Chu, an old friend I knew before electricity – (laughter) – awards chairman. And then Irene, and the members of the Atlantic Council, all of you here this evening, I thank you for this wonderful recognition.
And now to give you an example of the power of music to build those bridges I referred to, I’d like to present you with a gift that turns me on every second of my life. I’d like to bring out two young people who I believe that will carry forth the torch of global citizenship for the next generation. We have a group called the Global Gumbo that we travel all over the world. We’re lucky enough to have two of them here tonight. They are the best musicians on this planet. And we went down a while. These kids are taking it back up to the top, I promise you. We played China. We played Spain. We played Montrose, everywhere in the world. Joining us tonight from Slovakia, please welcome a young man who will be one of the greatest jazz guitarists of his generation.
George Benson said when he heard this man at 10 years old, he played better than he did. He was with me at this year’s Montrose Jazz Festival, with the others. And I’m so happy to introduce you tonight. Ladies and gentlemen, please give up the love for Andreas Varady. (Applause.) 14 years old. 14 years old. (Applause.) Dangerous. Andreas Varady.
MS. : (Applause.) So, thanks very much. That was the New York – and we’re going to do another short one, and this one is for Quincy and it’s called “Billie Jean.” (Laughter, applause.)
MR. : (Off mic.)
MR. : This brother here is from Puerto Rico, conservatory graduate and everything else. They astound me.
Now we’d like to give the elder – our respect to the elder on the stage tonight – (laughter) – and I’d like to thank you again, Andreas (sp). They always blow my mind.
I’d like to introduce you to a young lady who has been traveling around the world for a long time – Shanghai, Spain, all over the world. I call her – her name is – I’ll give you her name, but I call her Lady Fleas-Knees (sp). That’s our little inside joke. She’s a young lady who will absolutely amaze you. She’s been doing this since she was five – writing classical music. Obama calls her Baby Mozart. She writes for symphonies – composer. Frightening, frightening. A piano prodigy whose future’s so bright that it blinds my eyes. I think you’ll find that at just 10 years old there’s a whole lot of music in this little body.
Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Emily Bear. Give it up. (Applause.)
MR. KEMPE: In honor of Quincy, this group would like to play a closing song, “Billie Jean.” But Victor and I would like to close this evening on our part now and let the music really close it.
Thank you for allowing – for celebrating these remarkable awardees together tonight. Victor?
MR. CHU: Friends, I just want to say let the good times roll. (Laughter.) We are the world!
MR. KEMPE: See you next year.
MR. : (Applause.) From Slovakia, Andreas (sp); Puerto Rico – (inaudible) – and Chicago, Lady Fleas-Knees (sp). God bless you. (Applause.)