At the fourth annual Atlantic Council Global Citizen Awards dinner, the Atlantic Council recognized the President of the Republic of Poland, Bronisław Komorowski for his pivotol role in Poland’s extraordinary evolution; Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan for her advocacy of human rights; and world-renowned conductor Seiji Ozawa for his musical virtuosity.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the chairman of the Atlantic Council and the International Advisory Board, Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft. (APPLAUSE)
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Good evening to you all, and welcome to the gala. As Fred Kempe says, I am the permanent interim chairman of the council– and you can tell how closely I am in charge since I don’t even have the proper dress on tonight. Anyway, I am so enormously proud of what the Atlantic Council has accomplished, what it has become, and what it has become– one of the world’s premiere international relations organizations.
However, I must say in my wildest dreams I never would have predicted the Atlantic Council would be playing Broadway. (LAUGHTER) Joking aside, it’s my great honor to welcome you to the Fourth Annual Global Citizens Award Dinner. We are most grateful that you’ve gathered her tonight to celebrate individuals who have made and continue to make significant positive contributions to our world.
Our honorees to– tonight are the president of the Republic of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski, Her Majesty, Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and a world-renowned conductor, Seiji Ozawa. Each one of them has contributed significantly to making a better world, as you all know, and as so often the case with such role models each of them has inspired thousands of others to rise above day-to-day challenges to seek historic opportunities. Our awaree– our awardees also underscore the remarkable growth in the global reach and influence of the Atlantic Council at a time when the world sorely needs its work.
At the end of the Cold War, this organization experienced some difficulties, and like many Cold War institutions, it was in search of a mission. It is now one of the most vital and dynamic organizations of its kind, which is a good thing because the world is sorely in need of its good works.
I’m also delighted to have with us tonight– two of my colleagues from the National Security Advisor mafia, Henry Kissinger and Zbig Brzezinski. And now– (APPLAUSE) and now ladies and gentlemen please join me in welcoming Atlantic Council president and CEO, Fred Kempe. Break a leg, Fred. (APPLAUSE)
Thank you for that kind introduce, General Scowcroft, and, yes, we are playing Broadway with all of this traffic conjection is– con– congestion as well. Thank you for all being here. General Scowcroft, all the world’s a stage, and I just wish there were more players like you.
As many in the audience know, the Atlantic Council chairman who presided over last year’s– Global Citizen Awards, Chuck Hagel, is now serving the United States as its 24th secretary of defense. We’re enormously proud of former chairman and his contributions. Public service always requires personal sacrifice, but at the sort of difficult times we face today, both geopolitically and fiscally, that is even more the case.
I think these awards really point also to the sacrifices that are made by our public servants, so please salute me– please join me in saluting our former chairman, Secretary Chuck Hagel, in wishing him well. (APPLAUSE) No one knows more about public service than General Scowcroft. He generously volunteered to step in as interim chairman, and he is right.
Our staff likes to call him– with some– reminiscence of North Korea– “the permanent interim chairman.” General Scowcroft, thank you for your extraordinary leadership, not only of the Atlantic Council, but for your country as the only– in this mafia– to have served two presidents as national security advisor and for your service to our alliance and to the world. (APPLAUSE)
I count myself lucky to be one of the many who have benefied– benefited from your wise counsel, but good evening in particular to our distinguished honorees. President of Poland Bronislaw Komorowski, Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan– congratulations on this evening. (APPLAUSE) We also will later welcome Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut– chairman of the European Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. He is– at great, sort of, sacrifice leaving Washington. Of course, a lot of us think it’s no sacrifice (LAUGH) to leave Washington at all. But we’ll– we– we’ll– he’ll be joining us later in the program.
Unfortunately Maestro Seiji Ozawa at the last moment was prohibited by his doctor from traveling, but we’ll have a touching video from– message from his later. We wish him well. His daughter, Seira Ozawa is here tonight, and– and will accept the award on his behalf. And then later in the evening, one of Maestro Ozawa’s finest students, the brilliant cellist Owen Young, will perform in his honor having joined us from the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Thank you, Seira Ozawa, and thank you– thank you, also, Owen Young. (APPLAUSE) Prompted by the characteristic vision of Victor Chu, the Atlantic Council and its international advisory board launched the Global Citizen Awards four years ago to recognize the unique accomplishments of extraordinary individuals who embody the notion of global citizenship. As the U.N. General Assembly convenes this week in the shadow of the Syrian carnage, the concept of global citizenship takes on special meaning.
At a time when world leaders are grappling with the biggest shift of power and influence since the 19th century and historic inflection points are all– always full of perils. And these are made more– all the more dramatic by the unprecedented speed of technological and societal change. The actions of unique and determined leaders have outsized influence.
So let me thank all of you for joining us this evening– former heads of state and government, former and acting cabinet ministers, business executives, former and current military four-stars, media leaders, civil society leaders from around the world. Many of you have traveled far, thank you for being here. (APPLAUSE) Just as the Atlantic community must adapt, and adapt quickly, to meet the considerable challenges of the 21st century, we at the same time have been working to transform the Atlantic Council to expand our work, to extend our global reach, and to deepen the quality and the influence and the wisdom of what we do.
It’s not because we think we as a single organization can change the world. It’s not even because we think the Atlantic community and its like-minded global friends can solve all the world’s problems, but we are convinced that our common cause is a precondition for dealing with most of what we face.
We, last month, moved into new headquarters in Washington, D.C., and I must say there’s a new spring in the step of the staff of the Atlantic Council in this light-drenched, large windows– headquarters with the state-of-the-art conference center, real-time multimedia systems, and communications capabilities. Next week we will begin operations of our tenth program, the Adrienne Arsht Latin American Center, expanding the Atlantic community to this dynamic and fast-changing region where when we looked at a map, we discovered the Atlantic shores also washed up on its– the Atlantic’s ocean also washed up on its shores.
Our board member, Adrienne Arsht, is here tonight. Thank you, Adrienne, for your visit. (APPLAUSE) Let me mention just two other of our many initiatives, but very briefly because they are relevant– to this evening’s awardees. And I also have just a little bit of news.
Your Majesty, in two short years, the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East of the Atlantic Council has become Washington’s premiere place for tracking and advancing the transition of the Middle East and North Africa. And we know this isn’t an overnight challenge. We know we have to stick with it. We are driven by Baja (PH) Hariri’s concept of convergence, the coming together of the region. And not just that region, in terms of values and economic cooperation with North America and Europe.
Thank you, Baja. (APPLAUSE) President Komorowski, the Atlantic Council has also stepped up our work in your part of the world and will do more this year and into the future. This June in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of Poland’s democracy, of Poland’s miracle, we are organizing the fourth Bratslav Global Forum, where we gather Central Europeans to reflect on issues of democracy, economy and energy, and security with their global partners.
Given President Obama’s speech this week on civil society, we will put a special emphasis this year on the democracy side of the agenda that has always been there. I’m delighted this evening that Bratslav’s remarkable mayor, Rafal Dutkevich, is with us, who has been such a champion of this initiative. (APPLAUSE) Thanks, also, to Matchay Vetuski (PH), who is here and who’s animated the concept as the Atlantic Council board member in Poland. (APPLAUSE)
And here’s the bit of news. The Atlantic Council before the end of this year will open up its second overseas office. The first one has been in Istanbul, and we’ll open that office in Warsaw. We’re going to focus on Central Europe and all its dynamism not only for what it stands for for us, but also as a model that it could be for other transition democracies– where we have an– enormously successful role models.
We’re particularly grateful to Yan Kolchak (PH) also here an an international advisory board member of the Atlantic Council, whose fertile mind, entrepreneurial spirit and creative thinking about Central Europe and its global significance is driving– and helping these ambitious– Atlantic Council– initiatives. Thank you very much, Yan. (APPLAUSE)
Finally, thanks to all Atlantic Council board members, international advisory board members, members, and in particular, Atlantic Council staff who are here tonight. I am proud to work with such a committed community, yet it is only through individuals like those we honor tonight that we can be truly successful. We really are nothing without the people in leadership who share in our vision and give it expression and who inspire us to greater vision.
Our honorees tonight are such individuals joining a remarkable line of previous honorees, including Nobel pi– Peace Prize Laureates, Henry Kissinger and Aung San Suu Kyi. It’s going to be wonderful to have Dr. Kissinger here tonight to introduce Queen Rania. IMF managing director, Christine Lagarde, U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, the late Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, the renowned musician and producer, Quincy Jones, and World Economic Forum founder, Klaus Schwab (PH). This is an incredible community of previous awardees. We’ve set the bar incredibly high for this award, and we’re incredibly honored to add these three new awardees to this impressive list.
It’s now my great pleasure to interest Victor Chu, whose vision gave rise to this initiative. Whether he is the champion of a low-cost airline in Japan– congratulations, by the way, Victor, on 68 flights a day. And I don’t know if there are other airline executives in the room, but profit in your second year of operations is almost unheard of in that industry.
Whether you’re starting an energy-efficiency investment fund in Singapore, whether you’re expanding the Lu-Lu Guinness (PH)– brand in the United States, or serving with your intellectual precision– the Atlantic Council, you personify the notion of global citizenship with your fertile mind, your consistent friendships– your consistent friendships, your collaborative spirit and your tireless commitments. Please welcome to the stage Victor Chu. (APPLAUSE)
Presidents, Your Majesty, Excellencies, friends, ladies and gentlemen, here we are again for the fourth time. Brent mentioned the notion of mafia, and I think many of you have– joined me and Fred to become the Atlantic Council mafia for the Global Citizen Award.
It is wonderful to see so many of us coming back again to honor distinguished awardees and recognize their work ranging from their wonderful contribution in integrating Europe, helping the under-privileged, bridging the religious divide, and also promoting the world of music harmony, educating young musicians.
We are very privileged to have three excellent individuals who personifies global leadership and global citizenship with us. Major problems of today and tomorrow are essentially global. They require global partnership, global citizenship and global leadership. And here we are at the Atlantic Council. We are playing our part in promoting their initiative.
The notion of partnership beyond borders, beyond your own sectors, to make the world a better place. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for supporting us, and let’s work hard to make sure the Atlantic Council will grow even stronger, better and better. Thank you so much. (APPLAUSE)
Thank you, Victor. Senator Chris Murphy was to introduce Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski. He’ll join us later, and I’m sh– and– and I know he planned to speak– of his own deep Polish heritage, which of course is evidence with the name Murphy. (LAUGHTER) But actually he does have– a large– Polish history, and he will speak about that when he comes. But Dr. Brzezinski, I was quite happy to step in and introduce you on his behalf.
You have inspired countless Atlanticists (PH) over the years with your strategic and precise mind. Your rapier-like intellect, which pierces all weakly-constructed thoughts, and your hunger for knowledge, and your capability at achieving wisdom on the most complicated of subjects– I will say one thing personally that I haven’t said before in a public audience. In 1976, as a young student at Columbia University– the Graduate School of Journalism School of International Affairs, I signed up for a course by Dr. Brzezinski, and I remember attending a couple of sessions and Bronislaw Komorowski in– so incredibly inspired that I’m sure it lead to my conversion to become a Cold Warrior.
The only bad thing was that in December, you were summoned by President Carter to become National Security Advisor, so I didn’t get all the fullness of your teaching capability, but I did turn to your textbook and it inspired me for many weeks thereafter.
But I am just one of thousands who have been inspired by you. So, Dr. Brzezinski, thank you for that. Thank you for your continued contributions, and it’s our honor you to welcome you to the stage to hon– to introduce President Bronislaw Komorowski. (APPLAUSE)
Mr. Chairman, distinguished guests, and of course most importantly, President Komorowski, on behalf of the Atlantic Council I am proud to be able to present today its annual Global Citizen Award to Bronislaw Komorowski, the very successful president of the very successful Poland.
The award hon– (APPLAUSE) the award, as you have already heard, honors those rare individuals whose leadership inspires others to pursue lives of extraordinary public service, and thus improve the state of the world. Previous recipients, it has been noted, include two American presidents, a German chancellor, a Burmese human rights leader, a Lebanese prime minister, as well as distinguished others.
During the 20th century, however, there were few moments when it could be said that Poland was blessed by having both a successful president and by being a secure and economy successful democracy. Two world wars rolled back and forth across its territory, prompting unspeakable cruelties. It was the object of aggression by Hitlerism and Stalinism.
It was the victim of imposition from abroad, of a fanatical ideology, alien to its own traditions and aspirations. Yet today Poland is indeed a successful democracy, an important member of NATO, a battle-tested ally of America. It is listed among the top economic performers in the European Union, and it is led by a president who knows how to mediate, conciliate, inspire trust, heal social wounds, and reach out to Poland’s eastern neighbors.
If Ukraine becomes a partner in the European vocation, its democratic commitment, and consequently it is later followed by Russia, it will be also thanks to Poland’s current policies of eastern outreach and accommodation. And, Mr. President, your personal leadership in these efforts to embrace Europe’s East is truly admirable, and you are strategically important for the future of the West as a whole.
At the same time, Poland is also a strong advocate of, and participant in, collective security for Central Europe. Having stood by America in its recent combat engagements, Poland hopes for reciprocity through more visible U.S. participation in the enhancement of Central Europe security. Central Europeans, and especially the Poles, have been alarmed lately by Russian military maneuvers held not long ago in adjoining Belarus, which not only targeted Central Europe, be these maneuvers even culminated in simulated nuclear attacks on a Central European capital.
That is why Poland, as well as the Central European region, continue to hope for a more demonstrative U.S. role in the collective NATO defensive exercise– first of its kind– currently scheduled for Central Europe. Let us never forget that the future of the West depends on greater political, economic, and security– cohesion between America and Europe.
If America and Europe can expand their ties and preserve their interdependent security, the Atlantic community will set an example for other parts of the world where turmoil and conflict loom so large. And you, Mr. President, know better than most that an intelligent and purposeful Atlantic community is the essential foundation of genuine global harmony. It is with these sentiments that I now am privileged to present to you, Mr. President, the Atlantic Council’s Global Citizen Award. (APPLAUSE)
President Bronislaw Komorowski, former political prisoner, president of Poland, thank you for honoring us with that important message about freedom and democracy and what the past means for the future. At this point, enjoy your dinner break– or as we would say in Broadway, intermission– and we’ll join the awards after the break– when we’ll honor Queen Rania of Jordan. Thank you. (APPLAUSE)
It’s now my honor to salute this evening’s co-chairs– but before they do that I wanna salute three people who have been incredibly helpful– and one of whom has been absolutely instrumental to the Atlantic Council’s success. So first of all, I want to thank the chairman of the Brent Scowcroft Center of International Security, former National Sec– Security Advisor General Jim Jones. If you could stand please, and thank you for your service. (APPLAUSE) It’s also my honor to– to introduce the two co-chairs– the honorary co-chairs of our Freedom Awards, and President Komorowski, we put our Freedom Awards in Poland because your country is about freedom, as you said.
And those two honorary co-chairs, fittingly, are our– ambassadors– Ambassador Richard Schnepf, the Polish Ambassador to the U.S., and Ambassador Steven Mull, the U.S. Ambassador to Poland. Please stand so we can applaud you. (APPLAUSE) And now– our co-chairs– they expressed their respect not only for the awardees, but their support of our mission by supporting us in being here.
Hold your applause until all are standing, and I will read their names. And please, those that are here, stand. I guess those who are not here wouldn’t know to stand. (LAUGHTER) So, let me read their names: Adrienne Arscht, Prime Minister Shalcot Alzeez (PH), President Jose Maria Aznar (PH), Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Victor Chu, Enriquo Kuckiani (PH), Thomas Culligan (PH), Richard Edelman (PH), Baja Hariri (PH)– that’s the Richard Edelman contingent– Baja Hariri, Brian Henderson, General James L. Jones, Dr. Kolchak (PH), Brian Moynihan (PH), Rupert Murdoch, Yoji Ohashi (PH), Pavel Olinovitch (PH), Paul Pullman (PH), James Riatti (PH), Paolo Scoroni (PH), General Brent Scowcroft, Martin Sen (PH), James C. Smith, Dr. Larry Summers, Sveten Vasolaph (PH), John Watson, and John Wren (PH).
Thank you to all of you for your contributions and for your support. (APPLAUSE) Dr. Kissinger just said to me backstage, “I was listening to your introduction of Dr. Brzezinski, and I will listen very carefully to what you now say about me.” (LAUGHTER)
Well, I have introduced Dr. Kissinger so many times with such flowery words that I can only recall the time when he was introduced by Lou Gersner (PH), who gave him– an introduction was, “No man needs an– an introduction– you know– Henry Kissinger needs no introduction.” And he came to the podium, and he said, “Lou Gersner– no one needs– no needs an introduction less than I do, but no one appreciates one more.” (LAUGHTER)
Dr. Kissinger has been introduced in a great many ways, always referring to his legendary contributions, Nobel Peace Prize, great books, the way he’s in– influenced our entire generation of foreign policy thinking. General Scowcroft has said, “He has the world’s most brilliant strategic mind.”
Yet we only only learned last May at an Atlantic Council dinner during his introduction of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that he had failed to reach one lofty goal. Said Dr. Kissinger– and I quote– “After I left office, I realized that at least four secretaries of state became president, and that started focusing my mind (LAUGH) even though there was a constitutional provision that prevented me from doing it. And I thought up all sorts of schemes to get around it.”
At that point, he sort of endorsed Hillary Clinton– we’ll have to wait to see ahead of 2016– but Dr. Kissinger, in any case, you do have our vote. Please join me in welcoming to the stage the Atlantic Council’s longest serving board member, Dr. Henry Kissinger. (APPLAUSE)
DR. HENRY KISSINGER:
Mr. Chairman, (CLEARS THROAT) Your Majesty, ladies and gentlemen, when– our chairman characterized my strategic mind, I was grateful that he quoted accurately from my autobiography. (LAUGHTER) For over five decades, I have had the opportunity to observe, sometimes to participate, in the upheavals, peace processes, revolutions, of the Middle East. In that period, there was one place on which as an American one could always count and that was the Kingdom of Jordan. Not to count on it as from a purely American point of view, but their– Jordan has contributed to the peace processes. It has provided wisdom in its analysis of the situation.
It has– its existence is a guaranty for stability in the region, and at this moment, Jordan is again under pressure from all sides and conducts itself with a dignity and far-sightedness which all of us who have had the privilege of– of participating in some of these events, and all Americans who can analyze the– world as it is will greatly respect.
At this moment, when we need to come to an understanding of what is required to reduce and eliminate the human suffering in Syria, to eliminate to the greatest extent possible the non-state organizations, to draw in other countries that might share some of our common interests– some of our interests– we can do no better than ask our friends in Jordan how they see the situation. And I have come here tonight in part to stress to all of you how important it is that this country not become a victim of the circumstances surround– surrounding it.
Now it is a great privilege to be able to give the– award to Queen Rania. She has concentrated on so many activities that I cannot do justice to all of them, and if I attempted it, I would violate the rule that Fred has put down that I must not speak more than four minutes so that you can all say you were present at a historic occasion. (LAUGHTER)
But Her Majesty has concentrated on education and fostering, particularly, children’s education. In November 2000, UNICEF asked– Her Majesty to join its Global Leadership Initiative in which she has worked side-by-side with such leaders as the South African President Nelson Mandela in a global movement seeking to improve the welfare of children. In (CLEARS THROAT) that year, together with Bishop Tutu, she formed an organization in which 67– diss– in which dedicated to the education of 67 million– children.
She has been engaged in many other activities of a similar nature. She has been, in other words, dedicated to the proposition that stability in the region can and should be fostered by concerned governments, that security in the region does not have to be based on– on dictatorial governments, that progress in the region is compatible with friendship with the United States, that the Arab cause can be given a (CLEARS THROAT) content without religious fanaticism. For all this, we thank her and her country. And it is in this spirit that I give to her the– Global Leadership Award. Thank you very much. (APPLAUSE)
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Thank you, Secretary Kissinger, for those kind words. You know, the last time I saw Secretary Kissinger, he was calling security on Stephen Colbert for dancing into his office to Daft Punk song. (LAUGHTER) So, I suggest we all be on our best behavior tonight. And thank you to the Atlantic Council for this honor.
I am touched and humbled by it. Allow me also to offer my warm congratulations to my fellow awardees tonight. With your permission, I’d like to dedicate the Atlantic Council’s 2013 Global Citizen Award to the people of Jordan, for it is from them who I’ve learned most about how to be a global citizen. Their humanity and benevolence– especially to the– toward the people of Syria at this time– continue to move me.
I can’t decide whether it’s apt or ironic to be talking about global citizenship at this moment in world affairs. Perhaps it’s both, but with ever more violent rhetoric, mounting tensions, and human suffering in my part of the world, it’s a good time to remind people of what it means to be a global citizen. To be a global citizen, we must first be local citizens.
People who take part in the social and political life of our communities, who respect and value diversity, speak up against social injustice, and look after those most in need. And whereas national citizenship is an accident of birth, global citizenship is an act of will. It requires that we consciously understand the connection between the local and the global and acknowledge our interdependence.
It requires that we take time to learn about the world beyond our borders– its merits, challenges and injustice, and our role and responsibility in it. It requires moral courage and a commitment to step up and make a difference. For some, this is instinctive, for others it must be learned. Either way it relies upon a strong foundation of values to inform our choices and guide our decisions. Values such as tolerance, generosity and forgiveness, compassion and service, respect and empathy. The ability, as J.K. Rowling once said, to think ourselves into to people’s minds and imagine ourselves in other people’s places.
I see these values in action every day in my country, Jordan. Since the Syrian conflict started over two years ago, thousands– now millions– of refugees have fled to safety. The Jordanian people have opened their homes and their hearts, and extended the hand of friendship to those in desperate need.
I could not be more proud of, or humbled by, their selflessness, their sacrifice, and their kindness. Jordan has always been and will always be a country of moderation, a haven of tolerance, and a sanctuary for those fleeing insecurity and danger. His Late Majesty, King Hussein, instilled in us all this value of human– of common humanity, and my husband, His Majesty King Abdullah, proudly honors that legacy. But we cannot do it alone. Jordan has neither the– wealth nor resources with which some countries in our region are blessed.
Rather, we’re burdened by poverty and unemployment. So, with over half a million refugees in Jordan and more arriving every day, we desperately need help. Governments have been generous, but the U.N. agencies and civil society groups on the ground are at a breaking trying to meet growing demand. We urgently need the global community to dig deeper, help the most vulnerable, and show them what it means to belong to a global family.
We need them to think themselves into the fearful and troubled minds of Syrian children who haven’t gone to school for over two years, and imagine the agony of their parents watching their sons and daughters future slip away. We need them to think themselves into Jordan’s border towns, besieged by desperate refugees, where rents are rising, and where there’s competition for scarcities like water and fuel and jobs.
And we need them imagine the strain on the teachers in make-shift schools in Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Lebanon, teaching double– even triple-shifts in tents and busses with scant resources just to keep children learning. And when the world does that, when they see those children as their own children, those parents as their own parents, those teachers as their own teachers, then we can rightly call ourselves a family, a community.
But we’re not there yet. The need for global citizenship action that accompanies empathy has never been greater. Not only to meet today’s challenges, but the looming crises of tomorrow in my region and beyond. To create a generation of global citizens, we must make education a priority. We must invest in it, train more teachers, build more classrooms, and increase access for the 57 million children out of school because global citizenship isn’t an epithet. It’s an ethos.
And it’s best learned holistically in schools. We know that educated children growth up to be better global citizens. Their families are healthier. They’re more likely to contribute to their communities and countries. Their societies will be more equitable, their nations more stable and prosperous. That’s why on the U.N. Secretary General’s high-level panel on the post-2015 agenda, we recommend that education be at the heart of the new development targets.
But we need your voice and your influence, too. As you continue the important work of the council, please advocate for more humanitarian help for those affected by the Syrian conflict. Please lobby for investment in education, for it is in schools that the roots of citizenship are nurtured and where those labors blossom in voluntary work and school exchanges. Ladies and gentlemen, it is not enough only to imagine ourselves into the world we want.
Global citizenship doesn’t happen because we want it to happen, it happens because we make it happen when we roll up our sleeves and build foundations under lofty ideals and bold aspirations. It is an act of will, and it’s a legacy we leave for our children. Thank you all very much. (APPLAUSE)
Thank you, Queen Rania, and– and thank you for challenging us and for inspiring us with that message. Ladies and gentlemen– as I said earlier, the uni– United States Senate is also with us here tonight. It’s now my great pleasure to welcome onto the stage a fresh wind on Capitol Hill– Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.
Senator Murphy, we know how hard it is to get away from deceit– D.C. in your demanding job with the votes that are taking place now. (LAUGH) But we also know how pleasurable it must be to escape. (LAUGHTER) As chairman of the European Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, it honors us that you’ve come here to let– to deliver a special message.
Earlier this week at the Atlantic Council, you were there with Senator Johnson, your Republican counterpart, to launch our report TTIP (PH) in the Fifty States Jobs and Growth from Coast to Coast. We were able to release a report that showed that all 50 states will gain in jobs and– and– and– and growth and in exports through this– through this agreement which has also geo-strategic importance.
At 40 years old, you’re not only the youngest member– or 39, 40 years old– you’re not only the youngest member of the senate, but you’re all– already one of the wisest and most effective members. People say there are no giants left in the senate– my answer to that is, watch this space. Senator Chris Murphy. (APPLAUSE)
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SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY:
Well, thank you very much– Fred. Thank you for inviting me here today. I am sorry that I wasn’t here for my original place on the program. We are amidst some turbulent times in Washington, although I did acquire a new skill on the way up there.
I now know how to put on a tuxedo on an Acela, which is– (LAUGHTER) hopefully going to do me well later in life. And thank you for the acknowledgment that– of being the youngest member of the United States Senate. That is true, but I will tell you that is a very, very low bar to be the youngest (LAUGHTER) of the United States Senate. I– wanna extend my congratulations to Her Majesty, to Maestro Ozawa, for your awards in one of the most difficult moments in the Middle East.
Her Majesty– and the King have conducted themselves with such dignity, and her call for more humanitarian aid, I hope– goes heeded by the United States Congress. And our partners, Maestro Ozawa, thank you for your cultural leadership, but also your leadership in bringing your craft out to the schools, to the public, to the children.
At a time when the federal government is withdrawing its resources, you do so well to extend your hand. But my primarily thanks goes to Mr. President for being here today. I have this very Irish last name, but I actually have much more Polish blood in me than I do Irish– and it was my great grandparents who came over to the factories of New Britain, Connecticut, that made a life that allowed me a few generations later to be a United States senator. It’s something I remember every day, and I’ll be so looking forward to a few weeks to making my first trip to Poland as the chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe.
I simply wanna make this one point to you this evening as– a matter of giving you welcoming remarks from the United States senate. I know as people have watched the conduct of Washington with respect to the debate in Syria, there has been a worry that I’ve heard loud and clear from many of America’s partners that are represented in this room that there is a new creeping isolationism that’s happening in Washington today.
That this strange coalition that formed around skepticism to military intervention in Syria between Republicans and Democrats might suggest that the United States, or at least the Congress of the United States, desires a retreat or a withdrawal from the world. Well, I speak to you as one of the leaders of that skeptical movement with regard to the President’s plan to engage militarily in Syria.
I was the first Democrat to come out and announce my opposite, but I would caution you in equating the skepticism with regard to that issue with a desire to retreat from the world. In fact, there are so many of us who came to Congress in the wake of the Iraq war who desire to see a much more robust presence around the world from a new America that realizes that in this day and age, the brute force of military intervention just doesn’t get the return on investment around the world that it once did.
And my hope is is that on the subcommittee on Europe, which I have just been chairman of for a mere seven months, we can help to lead this new path. We’ll be doing hearings– later– this fall on what America can do to reach out to countries like Ukraine and Georgia and Moldova and Azerbaijan to make it clear to them that if they make a turn to the West, if they create a strong association with Europe, that America will be there to help them grow their economies.
We wanna tell the world about the benefits of a new economic partnership between the United States and Europe that offers a new window into economic salvation for so many countries around the world and around the region. And we wanna talk in the United States Congress about the fact that we still can be a leader as a nation with regard to human rights, but only if we look inward, only if we make decisions here in the United States to make tough choices to uphold civil liberties that actually do not come at the expense of national security.
My last point is this. The Foreign Relations Committee on which I serve has undergone a transformation. The greats, the legends, the Kerrys, the Bidens, my mentor, Chris Dodd, have left, and you’re seeing names that you may not be familiar with. That’s where the Atlantic Council comes in.
Your ability to help educate those of us who want to chart this new middle ground for America, that does involve a robust presence in the world, even with a new stinginess about military intervention. That’s the real benefit that the Atlantic Council and all of your work to support it will lend to those of us who, though new on the committee, hope to make our mark as well. Thank you to the Atlantic Council for hosting me. Thank you for giving me a few moments to think about something else other than Ted Cruz. And I look forward (LAUGHTER) to spending many, many days with you in the future. Thank you very much. (APPLAUSE)
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Chairman First Eastern Investment Group and member Atlantic Council International Advisory Board, Mr. Victor Chu.
Thank you. (APPLAUSE) Ladies and gentlemen, Seiji Ozawa is a Japanese national treasure as well as an international treasure. His life actually embodies the characteristics of global citizenship. Born on the first of September, 1935, in Manchuria, now part of Liaoning Province of China, he began taking private lesson in piano at very early stage.
At the age of about 16 at a game of rugby, he broke two fingers and that shorten his career in piano. His wonderful teacher, Hideo Saito, brought him to– what happened to be a life-changing performance of Beethoven’s Fifth avenue– Fifth Symphony, which ultimately shift his focus from piano playing to conducting. About a decade after the sports injury, a first prize at the international competition of orchestra conductors in France led him to invitation by the famous Charles Münch, then the music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, to study at the Backshire Music Center (PH), now the well-known Tanglewood Music Center.
Receiving a scholarship to study conducting with Herbert von Karajan led him to Berlin. There he caught the attention of Leonard Bernstein, who appointed him as the assistant conductor at New York Philharmonic. Then a most successful and legendary career followed.
He was over the years the musical director or principle conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, the Japan Philharmonic (SLURS) Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Philharmonic Orchestra, and finally became musical director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1973, a post which he held for 29 years– the longest tenure of any musical director at the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
In 1992, he created the Saito Kinen Orchestra and Music Festival, which encourages the cross-fertilization of Japanese musicians and artists with global and international artists. In 1992, he also debuted with the Metropolitan Opera in New York and began conducting the Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic on a regular basis.
In 2002, he follow von Karajan’s footsteps to become the principle conductor of the Vienna State Opera. He is one of the few musical legends whose influence spread throughout the world, in Asia, in Europe, as well as here in New York– in America. Tonight, we salute him for his tireless contribution to educate young musicians, Tanglewood as well as Saito Kinen Music Festival, and also his efforts in integrating modern classical music into the global classical music community. Unfortunately, his doctor has prevented him to travel to United States to receive the award personally, but we’re delighted that his daughter, Seira Ozawa is here to receive the award on his behalf. May I ask Mrs. Ozawa to come on stage to receive the award? (APPLAUSE)
(MUSIC NOT TRANSCRIBED)
Hello, my name is Seira. I have brought you my father’s message tonight from Tokyo. Here it is. Yes.
SEIJI OZAWA BY VIDEO:
Before I thanking you– you– to all of you, I must apologize that– I thought I could come to New York this time. I was– a bit tired, to I took– my doctor’s– suggestion that– I shouldn’t take– I should not take a long flight, so I stay now my home here in Japan.
You know, this a big world, like this. I really like to be with you, especially in New York. I tell you– New York for me is a very special city. When I was a very young– I think I was 24 or 25 years old– after Boston Symphony Summer Festival at Tanglewood, I was student, and they gave me (UNINTEL PHRASE), I was invited by (UNINTEL PHRASE) and New York Philharmonic as– one of the three assistant conductor.
And my colleague was John Carolina and Morris Press (PH) and I became– Lenny’s (PH) assistant. We all call Mr. Bernstein “Lenny.” And also a wonderful thing happened that– Lenny but– int– introduce me to Mr. Ronald Wilford. He’s head of– Columbia Artists’ Management, Inc.– and then he became my manager for all my life.
He– I– I think he’s– he and his wife– Sarah– is here. Thank you, (UNINTEL). And– so he’s– all my life, now, still, he’s manager, which is very rare, though. All those long time– one manager. And– so– this is why– one of the reason also New York– I wanted to come back this time, but I miss– to be with you now.
And– actually– I did not know about why I received this– award, but– (UNINTEL), who received– this prize last year told me by letter how wonderful prize it is, and then I studied. It’s really wonderful. So I am very honored, and– I– I really– thank you– all of you– that you choose me– for that is very nice– good, not only for me, but– for music– classical music, orchestra music or opera.
For those things– wonderful, though. And especially I come from Japan, Asia– you choose for the– worldwide thing, which is a very meaningful for me and for my colleague. Because I couldn’t come I ask my daughter, Seira, and her husband to be here, so– this is why. Then I will listen when they come back what kind of party it was and all this. (LAUGHTER) Yes. So, I don’t want to take your time too much, but again, I thank you very, very much. And– I’m sorry I’m not here, but I– my spirit is with you. And– so, thank you very much. Thank you all. (APPLAUSE)
Thank you so much for giving my father such an honor tonight. It means so much to him that– to receive this from America, because to him, America is his home. And actually today– here, his American families are here. Mr. Ronald Wilford and Sarah– I don’t know where– Owen Young, David Niece (PH), and Karen Leopardy (PH) and Yosh Goshiga (PH).
My father is very sorry that he couldn’t come to New York this time. Recovering from his illness, he has had to cancel or– postpone events. But the very good news this summer is that he was able to finish all the Saito Kinen Festival concerts, including all four operas and a concert.
He hasn’t canceled this trip due to his illness, but as he said, little– he’s little too (LAUGH) tired. We– family, and we are also happy that he made his summer such a success, and he’s finally back to music that– which he really loves. So, thank you so much. (RUSTLING) thank you. (APPLAUSE)
(MUSIC NOT TRANSCRIBED)
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome a protégé of Maestro Ozawa, cellist Owen Young. (APPLAUSE)
(MUSIC NOT TRANSCRIBED)
Thank you, Owen Young. This is something we’ve always had at this dinner is– the musical accompaniment, and that was absolutely magnificent. Seiji Ozawa would be so proud of you– one of the people– who he mentored. President Komorowski, Queen Rania, Seiji Ozawa, congratulations. Thank you all for coming.
As is traditional at this event, because you’re all here to talk to each other, network, and I actually noticed during the intermission– some of you navigating some very narrow spaces in order to (LAUGH) do that, there’s– the reception will continue upstairs for any of you who would like to stay on and have a chance to speak with each other, but at this point, I’m concluding the Fourth Annual– Global Citizen Awards of the Atlantic Council. We hope to see you all next year again in conjunction with the U.N. General Assembly. Thank you for coming. (APPLAUSE)
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