Saturday, January 15, 2011

Classy Condi

BYU President Samuelson chats with Dr. Rice before her speech.

I got to attend Condoleezza Rice's excellent speech this past week. Also stayed after for the Q&A. So impressed with the former Secretary of State. (She didn't use a teleprompter or notes.) Here are some of the statements she made (from my notes) that really struck a chord with me:

  • "I would go so far as to say that with all the other challenges we face--defending the country, advocating for democracy--our greatest national security threat just might be our K-12 education system. " (This statement got huge applause from the nearly 20,000 people in attendance.) She went on to say:
  • "The world is much more dangerous when the United States is not active in a leading role, which is what will happen if today's children are not educated and empowered."
  • "I am not a fan of the 'self-esteem' movement in schools. It is not my cup of tea."
  • "Children need to recognize that self-esteem comes from doing something well. We need to reaffirm the importance of excellence for students and for teachers and for school leadership. There are a lot of great teachers; there is no tougher profession than being a good teacher. But if you're not a good teacher, get someone to help you or get out of the profession. Our children can't afford bad teaching."
  • (And one of my favorite things she said:) "Good teaching must be broad enough to include the arts. The arts should not be considered just extra-curricular. Things like music and drama provide life-long skills and create well-rounded students."
  • (Having grown up in Birmingham, Alabama during the height of the Civil Rights Movement she said:) "So often, we are caught up in our own territory, geography and language that we find it difficult to relate to others. We need to expand our horizons. Programs like study abroad and language study can be vital to this learning. It is necessary to integrate your knowledge of what is with your faith of what can be."
  • (Reminding students how fortunate they were to be attending a 'faith-based' university she said:) "It is a special responsibility that faith and reason go together. They are integrated with who we are."
  • (In speaking about looking into the past from the perspective of the present:) "Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. You will not be judged by what you do today, but by how it looks over time."
  • (She was a Classical Piano Performance major for two years before discovering her passion for international politics after taking a class from Madeleine Albright's father.) "I am really glad I changed my major. Worlds open up to you that never would have been opened. I urge you to find your passion. Find what gets you up every morning."
  • (And further to the students:) "If you are a good writer, but find math hard. Take a math class. If you find math easy but aren't a very good writer. Take a writing class. You will be more fulfilled by overcoming something that is hard for you."
  • "You can control your response to your circumstances."
  • "As educated people you have a responsibility to be optimistic!"
  • (In regard to the present angry discourse in our political landscape:) "We need to turn down the volume. Just because someone disagrees with you politically does not mean they are morally flawed. Heaven forbid we should ever compromise!"
  • "I love the importance of family in your LDS culture. I owe everything to my parents for raising me in a home of faith and teaching me the importance of getting an education. As my father would say: 'It doesn't matter where you came from. It matters where you are going.'"


Cookie Doe said...

WOW! I was so disappointed that I didn't hear about this until after the fact. I have nothing but great respect for her.

M-Z-T said...

Thanks for sharing. I wasn't able to make it to her talk, but I've been trying to find a transcript.

I definitely agree with a lot of those statements

Rain Coyote said...

Dang, what an awesome person! I love all these quotes you got. Everyone who I talked to who went said it was amazing.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you got to attend. She is one of my favorite people! Loved what she had to say. Thanks for sharing your notes. Much better than the paper.

r o y a l said...

This has nothing to do with your post but I just wanted to let you in on this tip (that I'm sure you know about, but I thought I'd throw it out there).

On Coryn's blog, you mention that it's 98 cents to mail a letter. BYU Bookstore's Pack and Ship center (in the basement down the hallway where you ship stuff you buy) will DHL your letters internationally for 30 cents. And every 10 letters you get one for free. I just sent one so we'll see how long it takes/etc. but just thought I'd send out the info!

Treble Clef ♪ said...

Thanks Whitney! I didn't know. We'll give it a go:)

confidentcharm said...

Seriously so glad you took great notes! Wasn't she amazing? Thanks.