awards

Hon. Henry A. Kissinger
Rabbi Schneier, the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, thank you all for the opportunity to say a few words and to introduce Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund. I know Iím speaking at a stage in the evening where some of you are wondering whether breakfast is served. I have had the privilege of knowing Rabbi Schneier for many decades, and Iíve admired what he has done on so many fronts, and Iíve been the beneficiary together with my family of many kindnesses and expressions of thoughtfulness.

Iíve been here on many occasions, and I want to say how much it means to me to be able to say these words about the Rabbi and to pay tribute to all of you for what you stand for in the Appeal of Conscience, for religious freedom and many efforts around the world. Now Iíve known Christine Lagarde for almost as long as Iíve known Rabbi Schneier, and Iíve admired her clear and forceful leadership and sustaining and strengthening the international system in the 21 st century but also the important role she played as minister of finance and the crucial role at this moment when the international financial institutions and the international economy is facing an extraordinary transformation of the international system.

We have lived through many years of globalized economy, and the world has benefited enormously, but an inevitable result of globalization has been that not everybody has been able to advance at the same rate and, therefore, there have been tensions, and we are seeing together with the growth of globalization an increase in nationalism. In fact, weíre living through one of the periods where an international system is threatened on many fronts by the change of values in some parts of the world, by the change in power relationships and by the emergence of new countries, and if not new countries, countries that are attempting to assert their new role in the world.

This has required that the global economic system and the global political system find some ways of being merged, and the outcome should be a system adapted to changing circumstances, enabling even greater numbers of people and countries to prosper, secure a sustained support within our own societies as well as from rising powers. That is the great challenge of our period in the economic field. Globalization has produced enormous benefit for large portions of the worldís population. Without it, many emerging economies would not have been able to grow as rapidly as they have.

So, the world faces a paradox. International trade, finance and data flows are essential elements in the prosperity of many nations, but many people also have felt the disruptive impact of global competition and global financial practice, and that has produced a political backlash that generates pressures. The calamities of the post war period that motivated the founding of the current political economic order have demonstrated how closely trade and financial instability are linked to the domestic political and military structures.

This brings me back to the 2008 financial crisis. Many in our societies recall the impact on their lives and livelihoods. Many still feel the personal pain of its legacy, its political effects and (Inaudible) as well. It exacerbated divisions within societies and accentuated xenophobic pressures. Earlier this month Madame Lagarde wrote an exceptionally thoughtful piece on lessons learned from this dramatic event. She concluded by pointing out that the true legacy of the crisis cannot be adequately assessed because it is still being written.

We are fortunate that one of the principal leaders in saving the global economic order in writing the economic history of this era is Madame Lagarde.

There is no one more familiar with the multitude of serious challenges facing the world economic order, and no one who commands greater respect in directing this century. Thus, there is no one more deserving of receiving the 2018 Worldís Statesman or Stateswoman Award. I have had the privilege of seeing Madame Lagarde in many difficult periods, and her great contribution has been the serenity with which she has dealt with crises, symbolizing her conviction that vision and courage can overcome the greatest difficulties.

I appreciate that the organizers of this evening have given me the opportunity to participate in honoring Madame Lagarde. Rabbi Schneier, will you please give the appropriate award to our friend, Madame Christine Lagarde?
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