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In 1999, I recall being in the audience at the Ken- nedy Center when you were on a panel to select the Time magazine person of the 20th century. I don’t recall any women even being considered. Remember that women only got the vote in this country in the early 20th century. It then took another 50-plus years to develop women leaders nationally and internationally. So when we get to choosing the person of the 21st century, we will see women included.

Technology has hastened history by increasing the speed of change that leads to many transforma- tions. Is the speed at which our world operates today a positive situation? What cautions would you offer? Technology is definitely accelerating change. On the whole, I think it’s positive. Social media is democratizing information in positive ways. A couple of cautions: In terms of politics, our insti- tutions are made to work slowly. For example, a question is asked about what Congress will do on a specific issue. As soon as someone commits their opinion and then changes their mind, they are accused of flip-flopping. Because of the speed of technology and the media, having time to think isn’t there. Secondly, technology is permitting us to go into

our corners ideologically. When I was growing up, everyone had basically the same newsfeed. Now technology is allowing us to gain exposure to very select slices of issues, so we all know different pieces. Thirdly, there is no fact-checking on the Inter-

net. Many things posted turn out to be not true. I have experienced many times being introduced and the facts are totally wrong — such as a list of the languages that I speak. Yes, I do speak Russian and French, but not Spanish. Recently I was intro- duced as a person who speaks Spanish, which is factually incorrect. Where did this misinformation come from? This kind of thing happens often and in much more serious ways.

What advice would you give to those who are lead- ers of nonprofit organizations and are challenged with a critical mission — having a great deal to ac- complish with limited resources? You have to prioritize, because you’re trying to lead people. You want to give the right signals so those


following you won’t go off on tangents and direc- tions that aren’t helpful. I always try to ask the question about what

‘You need to speak up for what you believe in, and yes, there will be consequences, but people in earlier generations and people around the world have had it much harder.’

is the major enabling condition for a successful outcome. I came to that belief when I was chief operating officer at Stanford and we were working on a disaster-preparation plan. I asked what is the one enabling condition that will allow us to do other important things and if we don’t do it, it will not allow us to do other important things. Then we need to rally people around that one enabling condition and be sure they have the resources to follow through.

You were able to rise to prominence by having the courage to speak up for what you believe in. Where did that courage come from? I know so many people who spoke up for what they believed in with much more dire consequences than I had — when you look back in history, such as the life of my grandfather. I am in an incredibly privileged position. My parents spoke up for what they believed in. If you aren’t able to do that, you can’t very well look yourself in the mirror. You need to speak up for what you believe in,

and yes, there will be consequences, but people in earlier generations and people around the world have had it much harder. My speaking up is pretty small compared to others. Even when I was secre- tary, I had an obligation to speak my thoughts. We can overdramatize how hard it is to be true to your conscience. It is simply something we must do.

As we conclude, please share your dreams for the 21st century. I hope that the basic pyramid becomes very broad, so that all people have the opportunity to get to the top of it. Here in the U.S., it relates to a qual- ity education system and integration by bringing people from around the world together. The universal message that you can come from

humble circumstances and still have the oppor- tunity to do great things must become a reality. Everybody deserves freedom; everybody deserves an equal opportunity to advance. We are already closer to a more peaceful world. We must push it further and work harder.

Is there anything else you would like to add? I want to add my belief in the power of stories.


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