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The Synergos Institute     
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Presenting The Synergos Institute's Annual Award for Outstanding Leadership in Bridging Divides to David Rockefeller

I have been fascinated by history since my childhood, and can still remember as a boy hearing with excitement about the formation of the United Nations. Of course, as all of us this evening are aware, the Rockefeller family stepped in to play a crucial role in this, providing the land on the East River for the UN complex. A lot of things have changed since then, but we are here to celebrate something that has remained constant: the innovative and thoughtful tradition of philanthropy that David Rockefeller embodies.

I think David was onto something important when he referred to his "parallel careers" -- his work in business and philanthropy. How fortunate for all of us that David saw his career with Chase not as incompatible, but rather as inseparable, from his career as a philanthropist. David traveled the globe not only as a businessman, but as an unofficial ambassador to the world. David's important decision to steer Chase towards welcoming globalization went hand in hand with his keen understanding that the world was getting smaller and smaller, and that it was vital to embrace and cooperate with everyone.

It's a lesson I believe deeply in and take to heart. It's the reason behind the United Nations Foundation and CNN. And in fact, one of the policies that we implemented at CNN was that we would refer to other countries as international, not foreign. We now live in a world where we are all related by economics, politics, the environment, technology, and human nature. We can no longer think of the people and problems in other parts of the world as "foreign" to us.

David certainly understood this early in the game, and has been a tireless and inspirational advocate in this regard. He wears the badge of "proud internationalist," openly, as do I. Again, the Rockefeller family tradition is prescient, the Rockefeller Foundation being the first foundation with a specifically international focus. David has carried on and advanced these ideals with his work with the Council on Foreign Relations, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Trilateral Commission. All of these organizations share the goal of increasing our understanding of global issues, and increasing cooperation to address our shared problems. We need these institutions that pull us together, just as we need people like David who bring us together and focus our attention and efforts on the challenges that affect us all. We have tried to do so as well, with CNN, the Goodwill Games, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, and the United Nations Foundation.

I'm worried about a lot of things these days -- war, the nuclear threat, overpopulation. But it's reassuring to know that a man like David is worried, too, and what's more, that he's working with diligence and vision, and with the help of the best people around, to find a solution. I'm sure some people thought I was a little naïve when I pledged my support to the UN, and I'm sure that some people may find David's vision lofty, too. But we need to have the courage to bet on ourselves, and the resolve to follow through with our very best.


Thank you, Ted Turner, for your generous words.

It is wonderful to be here tonight. It gives me great pleasure to see so many close personal friends and colleagues in the audience. And, I am heartened by the knowledge that everyone in this room is deeply committed to addressing the world's persistent inequities and establishing a just and prosperous global society. In my opinion, all of you are "building bridges to a better world."

For that reason, I am honored to accept the "Bridging Leadership" award from Synergos. Indeed, it is hard to think of anything that would mean more to me.

A good part of the reason why this award means so much is the person standing next to me. For more than twenty-five years, my daughter Peggy Dulany has wrestled with a multitude of difficult, almost intractable, issues -- most importantly how to narrow the gap separating rich from poor -- with persistence, determination and intelligence. I hope you will indulge a proud father for expressing his great love and admiration to her for being the remarkable person she is.

Thank you, dear Peggy.

I appreciate all the hard work that went into producing the film we just viewed, as well as the very kind remarks made about me. However, I fear the film has overstated my role in a number of these very worthwhile projects.

Nevertheless, it does accurately reflect how deeply I believe in the importance of building relationships. Working together with others -- creating effective partnerships -- has been at the center of my business career and all of my civic involvements. I believe it is the only realistic way to achieve positive and enduring change.

Of course, creating effective partnerships and building bridges is at the heart of Synergos's work around the world. Their projects in South Africa in relation to HIV/AIDS and economic development are striking examples of the benefits that occur when individuals and organizations have the courage and conviction to bridge the traditional divides of race, class and ethnicity.

I would like to think that I have served as a bridge between generations as well -- transmitting to my own children the values of social concern and civic engagement that my grandfather and parents taught to me. It is with pleasure that I see them continuing this tradition with my grandchildren.

I am honored that Synergos believes I exemplify the values that so deeply motivate their outstanding work. Synergos provides individuals and communities across the world with the tools to help them change their own lives. I am proud to be associated with this important endeavor.