September 24, 2018
Atlantic Council 2018 Global Citizen Awards

Hosts:
Frederick Kempe, President and CEO, Atlantic Council;
David McCormick, Chairman, International Advisory Board, Atlantic Council, and Chief Executive Officer, Bridgewater Associates;
Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President, Atlantic Council;
Victor L.L. Chu, Chairman, Global Citizen Awards, and Chairman and CEO, First Eastern Investment Group

Awardees:

His Excellency Mauricio Macri, President of the Argentine Republic;
Her Excellency Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway;
Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Chobani and Founder, The Tent Partnership for Refugees;
The Hon. John S. McCain (1936 – 2018), Posthumous Award Accepted by Mrs. Cindy McCain

Introductory Speakers:

Adrienne Arsht, Executive Vice Chair, Atlantic Council;
General James L. Jones, Jr., USMC (Ret.), Interim Chairman, Atlantic Council;
Klaus Schwab Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum;
Samantha Power, Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

Location:  Cipriani Wall Street, New York City, New York

Time:  7:00 p.m. EDT

Date:  Monday, September 24, 2018

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

(Applause.)

FREDERICK KEMPE:  Welcome.  Welcome to the 9th Annual Atlantic Council Global Citizen Awards.  My, how time flies.  On behalf of our Board chairman, General Jim Jones; our International Advisory Board chairman, Dave McCormick; and the Board, International Advisory Board, and the staff of the Atlantic Council, welcome.

The Atlantic Council emerged nearly 60 years ago to defend and advance the rules-based international order that farsighted U.S. leaders, many of them among the founders of the Atlantic Council, established working alongside allies and built in the wake of World War II.  That mission continues to drive us today, when it’s by no means clear that the order, the values, or the principles that we’ve spent 70 years creating, defending, and advancing will be enduring into the future.

We launched these awards in 2010 alongside the United Nations General Assembly with a triple purpose.  First, we wanted to identify individuals who represent the sort of leadership and engagement we thought defined global citizenship at its best.  Second, we hope that by recognizing these individuals, we could inspire a host of others.  And finally, we wanted to underscore a pretty dramatic shift at the Atlantic Council, our own expanded global mission of galvanizing more effective efforts among friends and allies, certainly at our transatlantic core, but also globally, to secure the future at a time when we had anticipated would be a moment or an era of historic challenge.

So first of all, I could not be more delighted tonight that our inaugural awardee is with us again, an inspiration for global citizens around the world.  He set the standard other honorees would follow.

Professor Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum, please stand so we can salute you.  (Applause.)

The recipient of the 2011 Global Citizen Award is here as well, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, what a remarkable global public servant.

Christine Lagarde, could you stand so we can salute you?  (Applause.)

I’m also delighted that the recipient of the 2015 Global Citizen Award is here tonight as well, underscoring our frequent choice of musicians and artists who very often are the most inspiring of all the global citizens.

Maestro Yu Long, artistic director of the China Philharmonic, where are you, Maestro?  (Applause.)

In 2011, we provided our award posthumously – first time we had done so – to the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, one of the most inspiring leaders the Middle East has known.  It is – it is a profound pleasure to see his eldest son, Bahaa Hariri, an International Advisory Board member, here tonight with his wife, Hasna.  Bahaa founded our Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East to honor and build upon his father’s legacy.

Bahaa, if you could stand so we can salute you.  (Applause.)  Bahaa, you and Hasna also honor us in different fashion this evening.  You are celebrating your wedding anniversary with us and I thought I’d invite a few friends over.  (Laughter.)  Congratulations to both of you.  (Applause.)

Among just this sampling of our past awardees, we have a German professor who, from his Swiss headquarters, built one of the most extraordinary communities of global actors the world has ever known, a French lawyer and politician who continues to contribute significantly to global prosperity and peace behind the scenes at moments that are enormously challenging, a Chinese musician who has inspired to move tens of millions with his music, and a Lebanese leader, prematurely taken from us by assassins, who dreamed of and worked courageously toward a more tolerant, modern Middle East that could unlock the potential of its citizens.

And, oh, yes, there is also an American Marine in the audience tonight – born in France – who was the recipient of our 2007 Distinguished Leadership Award.

General Jim Jones, if you could stand as well, please.  (Applause.)

Just back from Romania where his brainchild, a North-South Corridor economic project re-envisioning how Central and Eastern Europe can cooperate from north to south and not just from east to west, turned into the Three Seas Summit in Bucharest.  And we’re very delighted that he was there.  Also, we have Deputy Prime Minister Ana Birchall here tonight, who was so instrumental in achieving that success of this summit, which grew out of a project of The Atlantic Council, and that’s what we’re all about.  And I want to salute also my Executive Vice President Damon Wilson, but – (cheers) – we really carried things – (applause) – well as you can see, he’s very popular.  (Extended applause, cheers.)

Madam Deputy Prime Minister, where are you?  And could you rise, too, so we can salute you?  (Applause.)

What we try to do is take words and ideas to action, and that is what we did there. 

So I cannot report to you all tonight – more than 500 guests from some 50 countries – that we’ve achieved our purpose of improving the state of the world through these awards and through our daily work.  I’m convinced our contributions have been significant, but we’re also concerned.

On the eve of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, opening tomorrow morning, I’ve seldom seen or sensed such uncertainty ahead of one of those meetings.  The danger of major power confrontation has returned, number one.  New doubts have arisen facing the future of democracy, number two.  The global system of rules and systems established after World War II is in doubt, three.  And it does remain uncertain what role the United States will play on the global stage going forward.

All these challenges arise against the backdrop of an unprecedented period of technological change, what Professor Schwab has called “The Fourth Industrial Revolution.”  We at The Atlantic Council don’t see any of these factors as reason for despair, but rather as a call to action.  And so this is not just a dinner, this is not just a chance for us to raise some resources to support our work or for you to be with friends and partners, it is also a rallying moment for our community.

For nearly 60 years, we have pursued the mission bestowed on us by our founders:  to galvanize constructive U.S. leadership, alongside global friends and allies, to secure the future.  This mandate underpins all our efforts across our 12 programs and centers, driving purposeful, results-oriented work that we do across The Atlantic Council.

One case study of this approach is out today and you can find it on our website.  The newest report released by our Digital Forensic Research Lab called Breaking Ghouta, which details irrefutable open-source evidence of continued crimes against the Syrian people by Bashar al Assad and his partners.  The report depicts ground truth from the siege of a suburb outside Damascus last April, which marked a shocking turning point in the seven-year conflict.  I sight this because this body of work by The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab doesn’t just observe a tragedy, it doesn’t just write papers that might gather dust or even a little dust on a shelf – it helps build a standard of evidence for use by the international community from New York to The Hague.

It’s against this backdrop of world events that we’ve come together tonight to pause and recognize four individuals who we believe embody the essential leadership our world requires. 

In that spirit, we honor entrepreneur and humanitarian Hamdi Ulukaya for his inspirational achievements as a business leader and philanthropist.  (Cheers, applause.)

We honor the late Senator John S. McCain, a freedom fighter and defender of democracy.  We are grateful that his wife Cindy has joined us tonight to accept our recognition.  (Applause.)

We honor, as soon as he arrives here from President Trump’s reception, the president of the Argentine Republic, Mauricio Macri, for his tireless and uncompromising dedication to his country and people through his commitment to economic reform and revitalization and renewal of relations with international partners, exemplified by Argentina’s current presidency of the G20.  His leadership is absolutely crucial at this moment.  (Applause.)

And we honor Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg for her exemplary contributions to her nation and the global community, demonstrated through her dedication to ocean conservation and sustainable environmental policies, as well as improved quality and access to education around the world.  (Applause.)

Each awardee this evening embodies the leadership, commitment and character that these challenging times demand.  Let me quote the late Senator John McCain: “Glory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself, to a cause, to your principles, to the people on whom you rely and who rely on you in return,” end quote.

So thank you all for joining us this evening.  Without your engagement and support, our work quite literally would not be possible.

As always, let me particularly salute my dear friend Victor Chu, brilliant global business leader, Atlantic Council International Advisory Board, founder of this awards dinner, whose vision and drive made these awards a reality.

Victor, please.  (Cheers, applause.)  Thank you, Victor.

With that, please turn your attention to the screens to move us into tonight’s dinner program.

(A video presentation is shown.)

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the honorable Samantha Power.  (Applause.)

SAMANTHA POWER:  Good evening, everybody.  It’s a great pleasure to be back in New York City and to be here on behalf of such an incredibly important cause.

Before I introduce our honored award recipient tonight, Hamdi, I would like to take just a moment to say a word about the McCains.  The last time I spoke with Senator John McCain, I was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and he was yelling at me.  (Laughter.)  I had telephoned him to urge him to support a colleague of mine for Senate confirmation.  By the end of our call, which became only about Syria, Senator McCain was telling me not only that he would not support my friend, but that I myself should resign.  (Laughter.)

What struck me so profoundly that day, which I remember unsurprisingly like it was yesterday, as he rattled off the names of vulnerable towns that he had visited in Syria, what struck me was that there was no staff on the call to impress with his convictions, no public gallery.  There was just a man – an American senator, an American patriot, who cared so much that he was not going to miss an opportunity to make a case for U.S. leadership as he saw it.  He was an American original, one we will not see again.

Now, tonight we could be honoring Cindy McCain in her own right for her work on protecting runaway and homeless youth, or her tireless efforts to combat the scourge of human trafficking.  But during a year that must have been brutal for Cindy, she has used her own pitch-perfect voice to amplify Senator McCain’s ideals:  honor and integrity, a commitment to democratic values, partnership across the aisle and around the world.  These have been dark days and our democracy has lost a giant, but it is a great comfort to know that Cindy will bring her formidable gifts to the McCain Institute and to the ongoing fight for human dignity here and around the world.  Thank you for all that you do, Cindy, and all that you will do.  (Applause.)

Now to Hamdi Ulukaya, recipient of the Global Citizen Award.  Many of you may know Hamdi from Chobani Yogurt, a yogurt that the first time we taste it makes us feel transported to some Aegean island, which is an especially welcome destination during U.N. General Assembly high-level week here in New York City.  (Laughter.)  But the most important thing to know about Hamdi is not that he makes special yogurt; it is that he is an extremely special person who has never assumed that big challenges are someone else’s problem.  As he puts it very simply, quote, “A company should behave in a way that solves some of the problems that society is dealing with.”  End quote.  If it were so simple.

The world is experiencing the worst refugee crisis since World War II, we know:  68.5 million people displaced, 25 million of them refugees who have crossed borders, including 13 million children.  In the past year, only about 100,000 refugees have been resettled worldwide.  The rest live in limbo.  That’s 25 million refugees, among whom 13 million are children; 100,000 resettled.

Now, even if governments were stepping up to do the right thing – which many, including the U.S. government, are not – the crisis is too big for governments.  Even if we could leave our tribal, polarized corners to remember where we and our parents, our grandparents, our great grandparents came from; even if our politicians remembered the Golden Rule, the same Golden Rule we teach our kids; what governments can do would still not be enough.

After a childhood raising goats and sheep in the mountains of Turkey, Hamdi was studying political science in Ankara and advocating for Kurdish rights when the Turkish government called him in for questioning.  Concerned, understandably, that he was at risk, Hamdi bought a plane ticket to New York City in 1994, at the age of 22.  Speaking hardly any English, he took classes, moved upstate, and started a small cheese business.  Then, in 2007, he started Chobani.  And in five years he grew his company from five people to more than 2,000 employees, making a company that no one had ever heard of into the top-selling yogurt brand in America with more than a billion dollars in sales.  From early on – (applause) – yeah, that’s kind of cool.

But that wasn’t all he did.  From early on, he began inquiring with local community groups as to whether he could hire refugees in his plants.  When he was warned that this would present many language and cultural barriers, Hamdi was not deterred.  Again, he said simply, quote, “Well, these are easy to fix.  We can provide transportation, we can bring translators and Chobani is a place where everyone is welcome.  Look at me.  I’m from a different part of the world. It’s going to be OK,” end quote.

He hired hundreds upon hundreds of newcomers, paying them fair living wages and celebrating Chobani’s diversity not as some humanitarian act, but as a core source of its success.  Drop by one of Chobani’s plants today and you will hear dozens of languages spoken on the factory floor.  Refugees now serve at all levels of the business.

Few people trying to survive and adapt in a – for people trying to survive and adapt in a new country with limited job opportunities, steep language barriers and a pile of bills to pay, these are more than jobs, they are lifelines.  As one Burmese refugee, a case packer at the plant in New York, said recently, quote, “We’re living the American dream.  It’s surreal,” end quote.

A refugee who escaped horrific violence in the Middle East and who now manages production at Chobani’s Idaho plant had this to say:  “Every day, life comes more easy and becomes more beautiful.  Today we are smiling and it’s all because of Chobani.”

Every CEO here and beyond here who talks about social impact, every business that depends on stability in the interconnected global economy, every one of us, whether we’re in business or not, who are blessed by opportunity and who believes in giving back can find a way to chip in.  That’s what Hamdi has taught us all.

He’s trying to make that easier.  He is now enlisting other companies.  He is standing strong against a xenophobic backlash, refusing to be cowed by smear tactics and falsehoods.  In doing so, he is showing that pluralism is a strength, that giving opportunity to hardworking people, the kinds of people who are so determined that they have gone through hell to get here, that that is never charity.

One company employing refugees is, of course, not a panacea for the global refugee crisis.  But Hamdi has shown that just because we can’t solve the world’s problems or the whole problems doesn’t mean we can’t do something to help. 

I’d like to close with two short quotes, the first I heard from Hamdi.  The poet Rumi, who lived in Turkey, once said, quote, “When you start walking the way, the way appears,” end quote.

Hamdi, you are walking the way and you are bringing so many others along with you on that path.

The second is a quote not from a poet, but from a middle-aged man who I saw hoisting a sign at one of the women’s marches not that long ago, about a year ago.  The sign read simply “not usually a sign guy, but geez.”  (Laughter.)  “Not usually a sign guy, but geez.”  So, influenced by Hamdi and my sign guy, it seems the right time to ask, what are each of us normally not that this refugee crisis and the surge in hostility toward immigrants and refugees requires us to be?

It is my pleasure to invite Hamdi Ulukaya to the stage to receive his so richly deserved 2018 Global Citizens Award.  (Applause.)

HAMDI ULUKAYA:  Well, Madam Secretary, thank you so much.  I’m very honored with your kind words.

And I’m also very honored to receive this award on behalf of every man and woman at Chobani and at Tent, because nothing is done alone.  We all know that.  So I owe this to all my brothers and sisters that I work with every single day.

I got to know Secretary Power a few years ago when I had this idea of bringing business community into this most urgent human crisis that we are facing today, the refugee crisis.  And Samantha Power and President Obama had started this business partnership, and she took – acknowledged that we also started something like this.  And she liked what we’d been doing, and they turned over their program to us, and they said I guess you guys could do a better job than we do, so here you go.  And that was the thing that was real at that time:  It doesn’t matter who does it, who gets the credit, as long as the job is done.

A few years later – a few months later I was interviewing for a – you know, a Tent president, and I guess I interviewed her deputy secretary.  And during that time I was just talking to a few others, and she called me and she said – she’s very direct – and she said, if you don’t hire Gideon Maltz you’re an idiot, who is my deputy secretary.  So, of course, ladies and gentlemen, my president at Tent is Gideon Maltz right now – (laughter) – and he is doing an amazing job.  I was just coming from the event.

Not only her influence on me and what we do and what we learned from you, Madam Secretary, but we are lucky to know you.  We’re lucky that you’re here.  We are lucky that you are here at this time, when we are going through the most critical human rights abuses and refugee crisis.  But you are most passionate and you have taught us all about it.  And we hope to see you in any level, and your passion, your leadership, still comes through, because I personally learned a lot from you and your friendship meant a lot to me.  And thank you for that.  (Applause.)

I’ll be very quick.  Atlantic Council, you honored me.  Thank you so much.  Being in this amazing place with the most beautiful people, you know, you sometimes forget that you’re a yogurt maker, you know.  (Laughter.)  But there is a special honor for me to see my name next to John McCain, it really is.  One of my friend(s) here knew him, and I did tell her that if you could just give me five minutes with him because I just wanted to shake his hand – and this is a true story, about a year ago – not because of what his political view was, just being that real American.  That human spirit just cuts through everything, that you are miles and miles away from a TV news or anywhere that you see him, that his humanity, his – this real American personality comes out.  And it strike me so much that I always wanted to meet him.  But seeing my name next to his is a great honor, and of course along with president of Argentina and Norway.

But McCain would say that we have a long way to go.  There’s nothing to celebrate here.  Not when 20 million people are displaced from their home and went to some other places.  Not 60 million people are displaced within their own country.  Not when the kids are dying on the way, on the water, on the land.  When millions and millions of people are stuck and they are pushed away, labeled in such an unfair way, there’s nothing to celebrate.

I have been into so many places, but one particular place I’ve been to, I’m just going to give you one picture what I saw there, one simple human picture.  I was in Greece when people were crossing through the Aegean Sea to this island, and it was in evening time.  It was almost sunset.  And we went to places where there’s a tent, temporary tents, when these families, when they arrive, they can have a cup of soup and a tent where they can sleep.

It’s pretty horrible, the picture, of course.  But when I get there, we went to one particular tent and the father greeted us, and I asked him what was his name.  He said his name was father of Balat (sp).  He said it in Kurdish.  I could understand Kurdish.  And I said, wow, that’s an interesting name.  He said, yes.  Balat (sp) was my son.  He was 10 years old, and we lost him along the way.  So going forward, everyone is going to call me father of Balat (sp).  I will not be called anything else, for his memory.

And as I walk into the tent, there’s just cardboard on the floor.  And as they are generous – they had not – they don’t have much – one of his daughters, 10 or 11, maybe 13 years old, brown hair, face is – you can tell, is exposed to sun and a lot of troubles – with this most beautiful smile, she gave me a cup of tea.  And it was the most sweet tea – sweetest tea I’ve ever had in my life.

Of course, I look at her eyes.  And she’s telling me something, but what is it that she’s telling me?  Dark, flat, in cardboard.  She’s telling me, tell me I’m going to be OK.  I do not know what’s going to happen from this moment on.  I just arrived here from Dead Sea, where the sun is setting right now; lost a brother.  I know my father is going through right now.  He’s probably blaming himself.  And we don’t know – we just got here.  We don’t know where we’re going to go from here.  Tell me I’m going to be OK.

I could not tell her that she was going to be OK.  What I could come up with is I had some cash in my pocket.  So I said maybe I could give her some cash for the pocket for a few things, which it’s in our culture.  She refused to take it.  I begged.  She didn’t take it.  I asked.  She didn’t take it.  This is a girl, has nothing.  And that $500 could change her life for maybe few days and few weeks.  Maybe the family needs it.  But I’m struck by this dignity and honor that I’m not a beggar.  I am not looking at you so you can give me $300 or $500.  Tell me I’m going to be OK.

That’s one picture that I left that I will never, ever forget, that I will get my inspiration not only from her but the resilience of millions of the people that, on the road, on the way, or stuck in the refugee camps or in the cities, going to all these places.  And when I look at the resources that we have, power that we have, knowledge that we have, intelligence that we have, I’m looking at all of this and I’m trying to make a connection between this and that.  It’s difficult.

So I said maybe on the refugee side businesses can do something.  Maybe the voice is not translating to the politicians or the policymakers or U.N.  Maybe it’s not working.  Maybe people like us can do something.  And I’m honored to say we have about 110 large companies publicly, publicly announce – and we just came from one today – 20 of them publicly announced what they’re going to do with the population refugees.  And it started in 2016 in Davos with six companies.  Today we have 110.  It’s good.  (Applause.)

It’s not enough.  I’m telling you, it’s not enough.  It’s so urgent.  It’s so big.  And if we don’t start doing something about it, this is going to come and haunt us; not only us.  It’s going to haunt our children.  It doesn’t matter how far we are, oceans away, or the (walls?).  It won’t matter, because we’re going to walk with shame.  We’re going to walk with guilt that we could do something about it and we choose to avoid it.  We truly could do something about it today and tomorrow, and, of course, yesterday too, but we choose to avoid it.  And we left these people to suffer, just like we did in World War II, after World War II.  And we cannot translate this to our children.

So until then, I will get my inspiration from all these amazing people that are doing the work every single day in the refugee camps when they come from the water, when they – when they register them, when they answer their questions.  Every single day I will get inspiration from them.  I will get inspiration from the refugees themselves.  I will get my inspiration from John McCain and Samantha Power and the people that we have all over the world that they have really, really, really and passionately put in their solution into the places.

But one day I’m going to lock myself into another picture, that I see the same exact girl looking at me and this heavenly and this face and says thank you with his eyes.  And I say, of course, of course, my sister, looking at her eyes.  That’s the picture I’m locking myself in.  And until we get all these people in safety, all the children to become children and play and be silly and all the women are safe in this big universe, big resources that we have, we have nothing to celebrate, but work for that picture.

So for that, I want to thank you.  And I want to – I want to thank you on behalf of that little girl thinking that we will make this world better for her and all the other children.  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Atlantic Council Interim Chairman General James Jones.  (Applause.)

GENERAL JAMES L. JONES, JR.:  A very good evening to each and every one of you tonight.  And thank you so much for being here. 

And a special welcome to our distinguished honorees.  It is such an honor to have you with us this evening.

Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, I have the great honor and privilege of introducing someone very special to our national and international community and to me personally, Mrs. Cindy McCain, who will accept the Atlantic Council’s Global Citizen Award on behalf of our fourth honoree of the evening, Senator John McCain.

In the wake of his recent passing, thousands of well-deserved tributes have been paid to Senator McCain, who I think we all know and maintain as an authentic American hero and the world knew him as a great patriot, a statesman and a leader.  And I’m very fortunate that I had the privilege of calling him my friend and my mentor.

I admired John McCain before I ever knew him.  In 1967, I was an Infantry Marine officer in the Republic of Vietnam when he was in prison in Hanoi.  I feared for him and all of our POWs, but especially for him as a son of the admiral who was prosecuting the war from his headquarters in Hawaii.  But our meeting and our friendship dates back to 1979 when I as a Marine major, assigned to the Navy and Marine Corps Senate liaison, first met then Navy Captain John McCain and his wife-to-be, Cindy. 

John McCain, as some of you know, had a wicked sense of humor.  And as the only Marine in his office, I was frequently the recipient of humorous stories.  One of them was that in front of me he used to say to whoever was around that when he graduated from the Naval Academy, he wanted to be a Marine but was disqualified because at the time of his birth his parents were married.  (Laughter.)  Cindy knows that that joke went on for years and years, and I stood by and accepted that until the day that his son joined the Marine Corps.  (Laughter.)  And that was the last I ever heard that joke.  (Laughter.) 

After his retirement in 1980 from active duty as my captain, and over the course of my entire professional career, I learned a great deal from John.  Perhaps one of the most important things he taught me, however – and no doubt to countless other people – were his core values – those basic yet fundamental virtues, such as human dignity, justice, solidarity, equality and tolerance that informed his life’s work and defined his character – and his character, which is his most profound legacy.  And let’s not forget his capacity to forgive those who tortured him in Hanoi and the higher goal of normalizing the bilateral relations of our two countries for the future.

John McCain’s principal leadership was admired and respected not just in Washington, but across the United States and around the world.  He exemplified the brand of democratic rules-based leadership that America seeks to project and inspire globally, and particularly in developing countries where Cindy has done so much herself.  As one of the great visionaries who helped establish the alliances and the institutions that promote global peace, prosperity and freedom following the end of the Cold War, John McCain understood deeply the perils confronting the United States and our allies and the urgent necessity behind U.S. global leadership, a necessity that is particularly evident today.

His steadfast commitment to preserving these democratic values, which he feared are now at greater risk than ever, made him one of the staunchest advocates of the Atlantic Council’s founding purpose and mission of working together to secure the future.  He was indeed our global ambassador, and more importantly, he was our collective friend and inspiration.

In accepting the Atlantic Council’s 2011 Freedom Award in Wroclaw, Poland, Senator McCain powerfully reinforced the core component of our mission, and he said, and I quote, “It is our obligation, as free peoples, to look beyond these divisions.  To disregard all the arguments that counsel passivity in the fight for human dignity, and to reaffirm that core idea united us all, and solidarity with the universal longings of the human soul, for basic rights and equality, for liberty under the law, for tolerance and opportunity.”  Unquote. 

So, in honoring John McCain with our Global Citizen Award tonight, we hope to pay tribute to his enduring legacy, which will continue to guide us in our pursuit for more peaceful and more secure future.  And beyond that, we wish to honor his unparalleled brand of leadership that will continue to inspire us all to be better versions of ourselves.

So now, it’s my honor to welcome to the stage Senator McCain’s lifetime partner, his better half, and his adviser and confidant and the love of his life, Cindy McCain.  (Applause.)  Cindy McCain is a national and international hero in her own right.  From her founding of the American Voluntary Medical Team in 1988 to lead medical missions to developing and war-torn nations to her advocacy surrounding human rights abuses and trafficking cases, Cindy, like her husband, has dedicated her life to causes larger than herself.

Cindy, thank you for being here with us to accept this award.  We hope that it conveys our admiration and love for John’s life’s work and yours as well.  Devoted to the cause of peace and the betterment of the human condition on our planet, both of your examples will guide us towards that better future.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

CINDY MCCAIN:  Thank you so much for that warm welcome.  And thank you for this humbling honor that you have bestowed on my husband.

Jim is right.  I’ve known Jim since he was a major in the Marine Corps.  And what he didn’t tell you is that our son, Jimmy, who did join the Marine Corps, did it because of Jim.  He looked up to him in so many ways and became a young man that is still serving his country today.

Ambassador Powell, I’ve heard that story, you’ve told me that story before and I love you for it.  It’s a most humbling story for all of us.  And I have – I have witnessed many, many occasions like that, unfortunately, on my husband’s part.  You know he loved the country and love the world so much and wanted it right.  And you and I both know it was – it was something that was very special.  And I know at the time it may not have sounded like it, but I know it was.  (Laughter.)  Anyway, thank you so much. 

Thank you for recognizing my husband’s statesmanship and his contributions to the progress of peace, prosperity and freedom in the world.  He would have been grateful and humbled by your appreciation. 

John believed American citizenship conferred global responsibilities on our leaders.  Since ours is not a republic of blood and soil, but of universal ideals, liberty and equality, justice, we pledge allegiances to those.  Those ideals and their success beyond our own borders is our concern.

He was an American patriot who loved and served and sacrificed for our country.  But his patriotism was in its essence a kinship of ideals that embraced solidarity with all humanity.  It mattered to him that the people of Uzbekistan or Myanmar were deprived of their rights.  Americans can take that for granted.  The people of those countries have the same inherent dignity that we possess and he felt an affinity with them and their cause for, like them, he had once been deprived of his own right to liberty and justice.  And so he identified with them and they with him.  He was, quote, “in a league with them, united,” unquote, as a friend once wrote.  By suffering, endurance and a knowledge that the most marvelous of human achievements is not – is to not lose hope when experience has taught you there is no hope.

At John’s memorial service, his dear friend Joe Lieberman recalled visiting a Syrian refugee camp with John in southern Turkey.  The poor souls confined there were angry and it – and it appeared to them that the world’s indifference to their plight was simply gone.  Just hours before, they had furiously denounced and chased away a senior U.N. official.  The government officials escorting the senators to the camp were worried they, too, would get a hostile reception and advised that they cancel the visit.  Well, I know you can guess what John said:  He wouldn’t – he wouldn’t hear of it.

As they approached the camp, they could hear the refugees were shouting something, which made the escort officers very nervous.  But when they entered the camp and heard what was going on, they were greeted like heroes.  They were shouting:  “John McCain!  John McCain!”  Those desperate people knew John was their champion, their brother, and he knew their deliverance from persecution was as much his responsibility as anyone else’s.

John knew how cruel the world could be.  He knew people everywhere are corruptible.  But he knew, too, that in the worst of circumstances, human beings were still capable of compassion, selflessness, and it gave him faith that the world could be – could be made another better place than it already was.  He believed that the liberal world order that the United States had organized and led after World War II, based on an alliance of shared interests and ideals, had helped spread freedom and justice to the most hostile corners of the world.  He knew that – he knew the continued success of the international order is the – is the best hope of mankind.  And he knew that it was never more important for Americans to speak up and stand up for the universality of the West’s values and the alliance that protects and advances them than it is today.

We face a growing competition from great-power rivals who believe that – who believe in the power of the state over the power of the individual.  John knew, too, that there were growing numbers of Americans who doubt the transformative powers of our ideals and reject the responsibilities of world leadership.  And he devoted his last months and the strength that was ebbing away from him to remind his fellow Americans that our exceptionalism is based in our idealism and our solidarity with mankind.  We are part of the main, he often quoted.  The bell tolls for us.

That is his legacy.  That is his charge to us, to stay loyal to the faith that has liberated more people from tyranny and poverty than any other time in our history.  I hope to do so in his name.  And I thank all of you for your faith, your commitment to the cause, and for your generous tribute to John’s contributions in making the world a better place.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please direct your attention to the screens and welcome Ms. Kate Davis.  (Applause.)

(Music by Kate Davis:  “What a Wonderful World.”)

(Applause.)

DAMON WILSON:  Thank you very much.  I’m Damon Wilson, executive vice president of the Atlantic Council.  Thank you, Kate Davis, for your beautiful rendition of “What a Wonderful World,” one of Senator McCain’s favorite songs.

Thank you, Mrs. McCain, for being with us here tonight and for accepting the senator’s award.  He was a great friend of the Council.  We will miss him dearly.

I want to invite you all to enjoy your dinner, and we’ll break and resume the program – the second half of our program, honoring President Macri and Prime Minister Solberg.  Enjoy your meal.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

(Break.)

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

MR. KEMPE:  I hate to interrupt your dinner discussions, but it’s my duty to bring you back to our scheduled program.

First of all, I really want to thank Hamdi Ulukaya and Cindy McCain for reminding us to commit ourselves to issues and projects larger than ourselves.  Thank you so much for that inspiring first half of the evening.  (Applause.)

It’s also my pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Solberg, President Macri.  It is such an honor to have you with us.  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)

It’s now my pleasure to introduce David McCormick, who stepped into the position of chairman of our international advisory board this spring, a mantel he took from the inimitable Chairman Emeritus General Brent Scowcroft, who I saw last week, and he said to me, what you’re doing is so important.  Everything we’ve worked for over the last decades is at stake.  David fills huge shoes, but he is that unusual mix of brilliant business acumen and deep policy expertise and purposefulness that embodies The Atlantic Council at its best – a graduate of West Point, he’s a former army officer, a successful business leader, an entrepreneur and now co-CEO of Bridgewater Associates, a global macro investment firm and the world’s largest hedge fund.  Prior to joining Bridgewater, Dave served as U.S. Treasury undersecretary for international affairs and before that, as deputy national security adviser for international economic policy, and as undersecretary of commerce for export administration.  I say all that because this has been started by us as an International Advisory Board initiative, and this is his first Global Citizen Award.

So please give it up for Dave McCormick.  Thank you.  (Cheers, applause.)

DAVID MCCORMICK:  Thank you.  Well, good evening, everybody.

What an incredibly stirring and meaningful recognition of Senator John McCain and thank you, Mrs. McCain, for being here, and thank you, all, for showing the senator that recognition.

And congratulations to all of our award winners of the Global Citizens Award for, really, the incredible example and role model you are for all of us in terms of the impact that you’ve had and the example you’ve set.

Now, we’re at that point in the evening – you’ve been to these dinners before, and you’ve been at that point where everything’s been said but it’s not been said by everyone.  You know that point in the evening?  And so, I’m not going to say anything other than thank you and recognize a few people, and then turn it over to my good friend Victor Chu.

First, I’d like to recognize and thank a number of former heads of State that are here this evening – and please stand and be recognized as a group.  The first is Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz of Pakistan – (applause) – Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai of Hungary, President Jose Maria Figueres of Costa Rica – (continued applause) – my good friend Kevin Rudd, the prime minister of Australia, and Prime Minister Helle Torning-Schmidt of Denmark.  Thank you, all, for being here.  (Continued applause.)

We also have over 20 ministers and 17 ambassadors in the room, and I’d like you all to stand.  And I’d like to ask us all to recognize your contribution, your leadership.  Please stand up.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

We also have Representative Gregory Meeks in the audience and Deputy Prime Minister of Romania Ana Birchall.  And I’d like to ask them to stand.  And we also have Christine Lagarde.  I think Fred recognized Christine Lagarde.  (Applause.)  But I’ve had a crush on Christine ever since I met her about 11 years ago when she was finance minister.  So please give a hand to Christine as well.  (Applause.)

And then, finally, I’d like to ask the board of the Atlantic Council and also our International Advisory Board to stand.  The people that are standing are really – all of you, if you could please stand up – (applause) – are huge supporters of the Atlantic Council; financial supporters, spiritual supporters. They’ve played a huge role in us being here this evening – (applause) – and the enormous success of the Atlantic Council.  So thank you all.

We’ve got over 500 individuals here tonight representing over 50 countries.  And I can’t think of a better validation of our award winners this evening.  I can’t think of a better example and vote of confidence in the future of the Atlantic Council.  And I can’t thank you enough, all of you, for being here.

Let me end by introducing Victor Chu.  Victor is a member of the International Advisory Board.  And most important, Victor was the creator of the Global Citizens Award.  And I’ll turn to him.  And please welcome him to the stage.  Thank you.  (Cheers, applause.)

VICTOR L.L. CHU:  Thank you very much, Dave.

I have to make a confession, that nine years before Dave, I had a crush on Christine Lagarde – (laughter) – ever since we met at the International Board of Overseers at Chicago University, Christine.

So thank you very much, Dave.  And thank you very much, everybody, for joining us.

I think we’re getting better as the years go by.  And in these crucial times of globalization, where the spotlight is on the sustainability of globalization, each and every one of us have to stand up to be counted.  And I think today the world calls for a high level of responsibility by those of us who are fortunate to be able to support others.

Like Dave, I’m not going to say very much, because a lot has been said.  And all the speeches this evening has been most touching, which is really wonderful.  I just want to say that when Fred and I founded this program nine years ago, we were inspired by Professor Klaus Schwab’s concept of multi-stakeholders.  And again, I want to recognize Professor Schwab and Mrs. Schwab for being with us again, particularly on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.  (Applause.)  Congratulations again, Hilde and Klaus.  (Applause.)

I also want to briefly recognize my good friend Rupert Carington, the new Lord Carrington, who succeeded his father two months ago.  Sadly, Peter Carington passed away in July, but Lord Carrington Sr. was a great contributor in the Atlantic relations, having served as secretary general of NATO and also in his time as the foreign secretary of Great Britain.  So, Rupert, welcome.  And we hope the Carington family’s connection with the Atlantic Council will continue for many years to come.  (Applause.)

I’m delighted to see so many good friends joining us this evening.  And I think many of you have come, like me, for the ninth time.  So please continue to support this wonderful program.  I hope next year, as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Global Citizen Award, we’ll have an even more special event.

In the meantime, may I have the honor to ask the co-chairs to be recognized and to be thanked by all of us.  In no particular order, I would like to recognize ANA, All Nippon Airways, represented by Ohashi-san.  (Applause.)  Blackstone Charitable Foundation, DLA Piper, represented by Matt Bernstein.  (Applause.)  Edelman, represented by Richard and Claudia Edelman.  (Applause.)

And many congratulations to Richard and Claudia on your first anniversary, too.  (Applause.)  Thank you. 

Ernst & Young, represented by Herb Engert.  (Applause.)  HSBC, represented by Gerry Mato.  (Cheers, applause.)  McCartney Associates, MNG, represented by Mehmet Gunal.  (Applause.)  SNP Global, represented by Doug Peterson.  (Applause.)  S.C. Johnson, represented by Herbert Fisk Johnson.  (Applause.)  CIPA (ph), represented by Philippe Armand (sp).  (Applause.)  Squire Patton Boggs, represented by Ed Newberry.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Ed.  Total Wine & More, Zurich Insurance, represented by Dan Kleiman.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  21st Century Fox, represented by Fox News.  (Applause.)

Adrienne Arsht.  Adrienne.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Alice and Tom Lear (ph).  (Applause.)  Nicole and Andre Kellens (ph).  (Applause.)  Last but not least, David McCormick and Dina Powell.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Dave.  Thank you, Dina. 

Ladies and gentlemen, as always, when you leave this evening, please remember to pick up the bag of goodies.  And amongst the goodies, there are two fascinating books graciously donated, as always, by Penguin Random House.  Marcus, thank you very much.  (Applause.)

The two books, they are – the first one is called “Waiting for Edent,” is by Elliot Ackerman, his latest masterwork.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

The second one is most interesting, it’s a book called “Faith of My Fathers” by Senator McCain.  (Applause.)  It is a most moving story and a must-read.  So I hope you’ll remember to pick that up.

Ladies and gentlemen, finally may I also add one personal note.  And as we enjoy the wonderful ambience and the wonderful food tonight, we must remember there are millions out there who are less fortunate than we are.  And we have to rise on occasion to make sure the world is a better world and a safer world and a fairer world for all of us.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

My marching order tells me to please look at the screen now.  Thank you. 

(A video presentation is shown.)

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage the inaugural recipient of the Global Citizen Award, World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman Professor Klaus Schwab.  (Applause.)

KLAUS SCHWAB:  Good evening.  Before I have the honor and pleasure to introduce our honoree, Her Excellency Prime Minister Erna Solberg, I just want to express my admiration to the Atlantic Council, and to thank its leadership.  Having been awarded nine years ago, I was following of course with great interest the activities and – the increased and intensified activities of the Atlantic Council.  And I have to say it’s such an important, reasonable voice in an unreasonable world.  Thank you to the leadership of the Atlantic Council for what you are doing.  (Applause.)

Prime Minister Erna Solberg, dear Erna, you are a very rare species today:  a reelected European prime minister.  (Laughter.)  And not only a reelected one, but also a decent and visionary one.

After winning the September 2013 election, Madam Solberg became the second female to hold the position after Dr. Harlem Brundtland.  In May of this year, she became the longest-serving prime minister of Norway to represent the Conservative Party.  Prime Minister Solberg is heading a blue-green coalition and has since becoming prime minister demonstrated clear international leadership.

Prime Minister, you are perhaps best known for your leadership on girls’ education.  And under your administration, Norway has doubled its support of education in the past four years.  This has provided learning opportunities for more than 3 million boys and girls annually.  Thank you.  Norway and its partners established the Education Cannot Wait Fund to bridge the gap between humanitarian aid and long-term development assistance.

Prime Minister, you also established the Global Education Commission.  Through its outstanding work, it managed to rekindle a strong political interest in education around the world.  And this is so necessary.  The report of this commission shows that education – that the education goal can be reached and how important this goal is for all other SDGs.

An important milestone was reached when Prime Minister Solberg managed to get the leaders of the G-20 to put education financing at the top of the agenda.  No education, no development.  Based on all of those merits, you were asked by U.N. secretary-general to chair the group of the SDG advocates.

Prime Minister, you made it clear from the beginning that the campaign to achieve the SDGs is radically different from traditional – from the traditional development aid agenda.  There is a need for goals, but it needs to be more inclusive, job-creating, and above all sustainable.

With leaders like you putting development at the top of the agenda, we can relegate poverty to history books.  We made great advancements from 2000 to 2015 with the MDGs, but there’s still so much to be done.  There’s real hope that if we succeed we can eradiate all extreme poverty by 2030.  Just imagine a world without poverty and it’s possible.

At the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos this year, you, Prime Minister, took another timely initiative and launched a high-level panel on building a sustainable ocean economy.  You chaired the panel, which is made up of heads of state and government from a broad range of coastal states including development – developing countries.

Norway’s efforts at the international level to combat marine litter and microplastics are an important case in point.  A resolution put forward by Norway was passed by the U.N. Environment Assembly in December on the long-term elimination of discharge of litter and microplastic to the oceans.  As the prime minister has rightly put it, every year a staggering 12 million tons – just imagine, 12 million tons – of plastics end up in the ocean.  This has simply to stop.

Prime Minister, I could go on with other initiatives.  I just want to mention one last one, which is the establishment of CEPI, a new public-private partnership for vaccine development which was also launched in Davos.  This initiative will strengthen efforts to prevent epidemics from leading to a large-scale humanitarian crisis like we are already seeing these days in certain countries like Congo.

Madam Prime Minister, you deserve this prize, this award, not only as a great leader of Norway, but as a true global citizen, and as true global citizen with a heart and with a social conscience.  So please join me on the stage.  We all are very convinced and pleased because we know you are an ideal awardee.  (Applause.)

PRIME MINISTER ERNA SOLBERG:  First of all, thank you very much.  Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great honor.  And I would like to start by thanking the Atlantic Council for the award and Dr. Schwab for his generous introduction.  I’m not sure that everybody in my home political life would agree to everything.  We still have an opposition, so it could be different.  (Laughter.)

And I am humbled to join the ranks of prominent women and men who have received this award before me.  And I’d like also to start by congratulating also President Macri of Argentina for his well-deserved award that will come, but I have the possibility to do it now, and also to add my voice to the chorus of appreciation of the late Senator John McCain.  He is a true global citizen.

In recent years, globalization has come under pressure.  And we should not be surprised.  Globalization has been beneficial to our societies, but we have to recognize that it has been – not been equally beneficial to all.  And this is a very real challenge.  The force of the divisions that we are now seeing between global and local concerns worry me.  It does – as does the way that they are being used to drive political wedges between groups in many societies.  To pit parts of the population against a perceived elite and to challenge values and democratic institutions is a way that in the past would have been beyond reproach, to question even basic human rights.

In the face of these new trends, you might think that the golden days of globalization are behind us.  But, in fact, we are more connected and we are more interdependent now than ever.  Products, services, ideas, talent are flowing across borders like never before.  Our way of life and our prosperity are profoundly affected by the global nature of our societies.

So what does it mean, then, to be a global citizen?  In our digital age, we often hear that we are all members of the global village.  And I would like to take the image of the global village and apply it to what I believe.  In a village, you cannot survive without trusting your fellow people, without joining forces in everyday life.  These are the kind of principles that have shaped modern Norway.  To me, they also embody the very essence of being a global citizen, a sense of shared responsibility and shared purpose.  Understanding that we cannot avoid the consequences of climate change, pandemics, conflicts, or suffering in parts of the village, it will affect the whole village.

This is what guides my strong engagement for the Sustainable Development Goals:  a deep conviction that achieving the SDGs is vital for all parts of our global village, including small countries and not in Europe.  And let me briefly touch on three areas that are key to my international engagement.

I believe that a global citizen should understand that giving all boys and girls in all countries a free and quality education is the best investment that we can do for our common future.  (Applause.)  Education unlocks potential.  It spurs innovation.  It combats ignorance.  It empowers whole communities.  And it sets people free.  We have made good progress.  More children are now at school than ever.  Even in conflict areas, that has been a priority for us.  In a number of countries, particularly in Africa, there is a growing momentum to invest in education.  The rest of the global village must do its utmost to support the leaders of these countries.  But it’s not enough.  At least 250 million children are not in school today.  They are enrolled, but they never pass any exam, and they can’t use what they have learned in school because the quality is too poor.

Secondly, every village needs a well.  And for the world it’s our oceans, a source from which we can harvest enormous renewable resources.  In fact, estimates show that ocean-based industries could more than double their contribution to the world economy by 2030.  But our oceans are, too, also fragile, threatened by illegal fishing, increased temperatures, acidification and plastic waste.  Just in the time that I’ve been speaking now, another 136 tons of plastic will have ended up in the oceans, and it’s not because I’m boring.  (Laughter.)  And a global citizen understands the magnitude of dangers like this, of global warming and the threats to biodiversity and to marine life.  He or she understands the cost of failing to address such problems.

This is why my government has decided that it wants to play a leading international role in ocean governance and why earlier today I launched a high-level panel on building a sustainable ocean economy.  (Applause.)  And this week, we also announced the establishment of PROBLUE Trust Fund.  Together with the World Bank and others, we will dig deep in our pockets to boost our efforts to clean up our oceans.

And last but not least, a global citizen is someone who understands the importance of cohesion and cooperation, who understands how crucial multilateral organizations and institutions are as tools for saving ourselves, and who appreciates how much we rely on a strong and effective U.N., on a World Trade Organization that can ensure free and regulated markets, on a European Union that – which former foes – pulls together in an effort to address common challenges, and on a NATO that can deter and defend against threats to its members.  (Applause.)

I am sure that in certain circles, the Global Citizen Award could be considered an insult, something contrary to local or national interests.  I beg to differ.  A strong global engagement is vital for the future security, prosperity and the welfare of the Norwegians I am elected to help.  On the ruins of two devastating world wars and under U.S. leadership, we built a rules-based world order that has served us well over last 70 years.  An interconnected world is not a figure of speech, it’s a reality and it still needs this world-based order, and I still hope that the U.S. wants to lead.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please direct your attention to the screens.

(A video presentation is shown.)

(Applause.)

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Atlantic Council Executive Vice Chair Adrienne Arsht.  (Applause.)

ADRIENNE ARSHT:  Good evening everyone.  Let’s just start this off with a confession:  I have a crush on President Macri.  (Laughter, applause.)  Tonight we honor President Macri for his distinguished leadership, someone who believes in the power of teamwork in the core of any endeavor.  President Macri has had an illustrious career marked by a firm belief in dialogue, unity, and optimism.  From analyst to general manager in the construction business to top executive in the automotive business, his accomplishments are many and his leadership is well-respected.

But let me highlight some of his most rewarding years, when for 12 years he was the president of the Argentine football team, the club Boca Juniors.  (Applause.)  The team became world-famous during that time, winning over 15 national and international titles.  I’m sorry for the results, though, of last night.  (Laughter.)  You have to be a really ardent fan to know that.  His spirit of collaboration and his work ethic inspired players on and off the field.

With this same commitment to teamwork, coupled with an indisputable belief in his country and his fellow Argentines, he entered politics.  In 2003, he was mayor of Buenos Aires.  His visionary leadership brought much-needed reforms aimed at modernizing public transportation and creating effective policing.

In 2015, Mauricio Macri was elected president of Argentina.  He came to this with a clear mandate, the mandate of change.  The people of Argentina saw in President Macri a leader who could unite the country under a shared vision of hope, trust, and hard work, which would bring the country to a more prosperous future.  That optimism for the future is at the core of the president’s agenda, and I would add at the core of my center, the Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council.

Now, I did mention that I had a crush on the president, but let me now turn and introduce his wife, Juliana Awada.  Could you stand?  (Applause.)  In addition to her impeccable style and grace, the first lady is an impassioned promoter of Argentine art, artists, and performers.  As I’m sure you know it is a passion that I share with her.

The Colón Opera House in Buenos Aires is world renowned.  Two of the greatest ballet dancers in the world, Paloma Herrera and Julio Bocca, are proud Argentines.  So is the great conductor Daniel Barenboim.  In fact, it was Barenboim who actually nagged President Macri to rebuild the Colón Opera House, which he did, and it has been restored to absolute perfection.

President Macri’s family and his children are very much a personal reminder of the need to continue to work for future generations.  They are also a reminder that success means building a shared vision for the future among the Argentine people and to continue to deepen Argentina’s engagement with the international community.  Tonight, we salute this commitment to working together to secure the future, a commitment that is at the core of our Atlantic Council mission.

President Macri, tonight we honor your deep commitment to implementing the reforms needed in order to put Argentina on a more prosperous and sustainable path, and in doing so, delivering on the promise of a more prosperous future for your people.  We of the Atlantic Council and everyone in this room stand with you and the Argentine people as you take the hard steps necessary to build a strong economy.  And for these reasons and many more, it is my great pleasure to present to you the 2018 Atlantic Council Global Citizen Award.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT MAURICIO MACRI:  Don’t run away with my award, please, sir.  (Laughter.)

Thank you.  Thank you very much for that warm welcome.  And I have to confess many things before starting my speech tonight.

First, Adrienne, you have done a great presentation, but it was not perfect because you missed saying that I am a great dancer.  (Laughter.)  When you start talking about Boca and that, I was waiting that you – to mention myself.  Next time.  Next award, please don’t forget.  (Laughter.)

Second, I don’t know how to describe because we are talking about crush on, Adrienne, so we have started a great relationship.  (Laughter.)  And also with Christine.  I have to confess that we started a great – a great relationship some months ago.  (Laughter, applause.)  And I expect that it is going to work very well – (laughter) – and it will end up in the whole country crushing on – with Christine, huh?  (Laughter, applause.)

Congratulations, Prime Minister of Norway.  It’s an honor to share this award with you.

And I’m really grateful and honored with this recognition.  But let me tell you that I take it as a recognition for all the Argentine people for the courage that we have shown to stop the process of becoming another Venezuela.  So thank you to all the Argentines.  (Applause.)

Argentines decided to change, and we changed because we understood that we could not let populism affect deeply our society.  I have to recognize that it took us more than 50 years to learn from our mistakes, to learn that we have to believe again in the culture of work, in our personal effort, in our capabilities to improve ourselves, and at the same time be a part of the world.

Since the beginning of my government, we have bet on a strategic integration and mature relations with the world.  I think that we have demonstrated our vocation to be a reliable partner for business, a responsible member of the international community, and an honest broker of regional and international politics.  We are glad that we are working together, trying hard to become part of the solution to global problems.

I really want to, again, thank you profoundly for this award, but more important for the level of support that the Argentines have had from the world, and especially from the United States and from all the American people.  Thank you all.  (Applause.)

Argentina is a unique place in terms of opportunities.  We are now doing our homework.  We are solving the structural problems of the last 15 years or more, such as the fiscal deficit, the lack of rule of law and the lack of independence of the judicial system.  We are working in all these matters and especially fighting against corruption.

I strongly believe that Argentina is unique and we are looking for good partners to work together.  You are all invited to invest with us in renewables, in nonconventional energy, mining, tourism, food production, among the many other talents of our people and natural resources.

Going to another subject, you may know that this year Argentina has the honor of hosting the G20.  We are proud to show our commitment to international cooperation, multilateralism and global governance.  We are leading the G-20, putting the needs of people first with a focus on (thoroughness and ?) sustainability, seeking to build on our shared concerns and our common interests.  With this in mind, you are all invited to Buenos Aires, a wonderful city, for the summit at the end of November, together with my fellow leaders.  (Applause.)

Thank you again for this award.  I’m looking forward to work for the future of the world and to improve the quality of life for our citizens.  Thank you very much, in the name of every agenda.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

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

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you so much for attending the 9th Annual Atlantic Council Global Citizen Awards.

I’d ask all the introducers, speakers and honorees to please come to the stage for a family photo.  And as they come here, please all join me in giving them all a round of applause for what was an incredibly inspirational evening.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT MACRI:  And my award?  Where’s my award?  (Laughter.) 

MR. KEMPE:  And as they say in the film business – as the awardees and the introducers are coming to the stage – that’s a wrap.  Welcome back next year.  Please work with us to achieve our mission.  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)

(END)

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