Earlier this month, I was honored to moderate a conversation with Condolezza Rice, the 66th Secretary of State of the United States, at my Alma Mater DePauw University. Rice’s lecture was a part of the Timothy and Sharon Ubben Lecture series, where she spoke on a number of timely topics, including a rise in populism and nationalism, democracy and free markets.
Rice noted that on a global scale, the international system feels a bit chaotic, suggesting this is likely due to the fact that we’re seeing a “kind of breakdown of the order as we’ve known it and come to take it for granted for the last 70-plus years.” On democracy as we know it, Rice keyed in on some of the challenges we face across the U.S. and globally. Rice:
“We’re actually not held together by ethnicity, nationally or religion. America is an idea. And the principle idea was that is doesn’t matter where you came from, it matters where you’re going. You can come from humble circumstances, you can do great things, and that had better be true, because a democracy can not hold together if it’s central organizing belief is no longer held by many of its citizens.”
An educator for more than 30 years, she spoke to her optimism about future generations and young people’s determination to change the world. Rice:
“[T]his is the most public minded generation I’ve ever taught. They want to do things bigger than themselves — they’re in a bit of a hurry … But that desire to do something bigger is something that we should all value. We should encourage it. Because, ultimately, if we are going to come to a place where we can defend the notions of free markets and free peoples, where we don’t weaponize our identity against one another, and where somehow we find a common project again here in America and, therefore, to go out and lead abroad, they’re gonna have to lead it. And that’s why places like this are on the forefront of solving the world’s greatest problems.”
Like my friend Condi, I am also optimistic about our future and the determination of so many who want to make a difference in their communities.This drive is the very reason The Policy Circle was founded. Sylvie, Angela and I wanted to tap into the drive that empowers women to start a conversation, to lead and be influential in their communities by engaging in policy.
I hope you’ll take a moment to watch the highlights of her engaging remarks below. I look forward to continuing this, and many other conversations at the 2019 Policy Circle Leadership Summit in Chicago November 15th.