00:00:01
[Music] you started with as a community organizer and so and rose to be

00:00:09
president you understand the power of moving people along even people who aren't necessarily on your bus when you

00:00:15
start talk to us a little bit about how you think of movements around the world and the power of those now and what

00:00:21
leaders can learn from them well I'd make a couple of observations number one is that most big change most human

00:00:34
progress is driven by young people who don't know any better and figure why can't we do something different

00:00:44
old people get comfortable or cranky or protective of their status or set in their ways there is a reason why if you

00:01:01
look at for example here in the United States the civil rights movement the leaders of those movements were in their

00:01:08
20s dr. King was 26 when he started 39 when he was killed and if you if you canvassed the world oftentimes that is

00:01:21
the the impetus people asking in in ways that I think are familiar to many not why not but or not why but why not

00:01:40
why do things have to be the way they are so so that's point number one that that young people I think can make an

00:01:47
enormous difference number two is that because most of us now either live in democracies or countries that purport to

00:02:00
be democracies because we we have won the the battle of ideas that says governments

00:02:12
are our common efforts have to be rooted in the legitimacy of people there is more power than ever in people being

00:02:25
able to band together and collectively push for initiatives that are going to make change in their lives that's

00:02:35
something that for most of human history was unimaginable that is one of the amazing transitions

00:02:43
that has taken place and you will notice that even in autocracies today there is the at least the pretense of democracy

00:02:57
because people believe that governments that are rooted in people are more legitimate and we that's a battle we won

00:03:04
and now have to make real wherever we can that's point number two point number three is simple math in most places if

00:03:18
you want to get something done whether it's a smarter climate change policy or health care for people or more funding

00:03:29
for girls education you've got to have a majority of people supporting it you got to have votes you have to have the

00:03:38
allocation of resources and that requires mobilization and a game of addition rather than subtraction so and

00:03:49
the fourth point I would make would be the internet now has turbocharged the capacity for us to develop movements in

00:03:57
ways that we had not imagined before now the last thing I'll say so that I don't sound like I'm in the still new US

00:04:03
Senate and filibustering is is I guess a smaller point but a profound one that I tried to reinforce with my staff at

00:04:19
every level of my public work and and continue to do to this day I actually thinks

00:04:25
organizing mobilizing starting movements starts with a story and you can't create a story that moves large numbers of

00:04:37
people unless you are able to listen and hear to the story of the person next to you the story of your neighbors the

00:04:49
stories of your co-workers the stories of your community the story of people who are not like you and so one of one

00:04:59
of the things that I think is is important is for us to learn how to listen to each other and learn how it is

00:05:08
that we came to be who we are think the way we do because that understanding of other people's stories is how you end up

00:05:20
ultimately forging bonds and creating the glue that creates movements mandi in India it started with his understanding

00:05:34
of India's story and his own story and seeing Indians in South Africa discriminated against and recognizing

00:05:42
that there were traditions and myths and a power in those stories that ended up driving out the most powerful empire on

00:05:53
earth it wasn't guns and increasingly that will be the case and certainly that will

00:06:01
be the case if we're able if we want to move forward the sustainable development goals that we're talking about is we've

00:06:08
got to be able to tell a story not only to big donors or politicians but also to for example people here in the United

00:06:20
States who may feel like look I've got my own problems why should I be worrying about somebody on the other side of the

00:06:25
world you have to say when we got into philanthropy and particularly studied global health we were stunned at the

00:06:35
progress we had we'd had no idea and it's it's kind of amazing if you ask even very well-educated people you know

00:06:45
what's happened with vaccinations what's happened with HIV they don't know the the positive story and a little bit the

00:06:55
news is always gonna focus on the setbacks because that's what happened that day the gradual progress doesn't

00:07:02
fit that paradigm and even people who raise money for these causes I have to say you know sometimes even some of the

00:07:08
material we create is talking about the piece that remains as though it it it's never improved do you have any thoughts

00:07:17
on how we get this more positive sense of progress going and what how we would get that word out well look you're

00:07:28
talking to somebody who for seven years tried to get the word happen and nobody at least about 40% of country didn't

00:07:41
believe me until I was gone and then suddenly they believed it so with that caveat I'd make

00:07:58
a couple observations one you're right bill there is the the nature of the media and maybe just the human brain is

00:08:07
to fasten on what's wrong not on what's right and I'm not sure we're gonna be able to change that right visual

00:08:17
displays of a fire are much more interesting than just a building sitting there and so the fire is gonna make the

00:08:28
news the building sitting there nicely and people are walking their dogs in front of it and stuff that will not make

00:08:33
the news so so I don't think that we can count on conventional media necessarily to spread the word this is though where

00:08:45
the power of the Internet has not I think been harnessed the way it needs to be particularly when we think about

00:08:54
young people and young audiences Malia and Sasha consume information differently than I do and I think that

00:09:03
those of us who've been involved with policy work are still putting out these reports with pie charts and this and

00:09:12
that and that's not interesting to them but stories and visual representations of progress can go viral there's a

00:09:26
hunger for it it's just that we don't systematically think about it and and so I think when the three of us we're

00:09:34
talking a while back I mentioned that one of the one of the areas that I'm deeply interested in is how do we build

00:09:41
serve in a digital platform whereby people can go to find out what's happening that is moving the progress on

00:09:55
issues and then activates them because I heard somebody I think maybe Trevor saying an

00:10:01
important point one of I'm very interested in how online communities can move offline how this incredible power

00:10:12
to convene through hashtags and tweets and this and then the other eventually leads to people meeting each other and

00:10:21
talking to each other and I think that we have not fully tapped that as a way of spreading the word about progress

00:10:32
that has been made I also think it is important for us to put some friendly pressure on leaders to tell good stories

00:10:43
and to make sure that we don't that we aren't so rigid in our partisanship or ideologies that we are not willing to

00:10:59
acknowledge and share when somebody who might be of a different political persuasion has done something really

00:11:08
good even if it runs contrary to our short-term political interests I mean I always used to say as as big as the

00:11:19
differences were between me and my president predecessor George W Bush that what his administration initiated with

00:11:28
PEPFAR was a singularly important achievement that we needed to sustain and build on and I didn't think that

00:11:43
somehow had attracted for me to say that somebody from another political party did something really smart and really

00:11:49
good and deserve credit for it and and and I feel as if these days with within our political circles that's a hard

00:12:00
thing for people to bring themselves to do [Applause]

00:12:05
[Music] one of the things that bill and I had the great privilege of doing when you

00:12:15
were in the White House late in your presidency was spending a little bit of casual time on a Saturday night and your

00:12:20
daughters were in and out of your home Willie and Sasha and you've been to our house earlier this summer and saw Rory

00:12:25
and Phoebe two of our three in and out of our house our daughter Jen is here in the front row

00:12:29
tell me about Jen's like thanks mom that's our job to embarrass you that's what we do job done right there but you

00:12:44
know Jen's about the age of your girls a little bit older but how have you and

00:12:48
Michelle thought about talking to your children about being leaders in the world and taking up this mantle of what

00:12:56
needs to be done in the world well it what we've tried to communicate their entire lives is that each of us has

00:13:10
responsibilities when they were small the responsibilities were small my say when you want to go potty and then as

00:13:24
you get older your responsibilities grow and and but but part of what we I think try to communicate is is that being

00:13:36
responsible is an enormous privilege that's what marks you as a fully grown human is that you that other people rely

00:13:47
on you that you have influence that you can make your mark that if you do something well that that will improve

00:13:54
other people's lives that the kinds of values that we've tried to instill many of them your basic homespun values like

00:14:05
kindness and consideration and empathy and hard work that those are our tools by which you can

00:14:17
shape the world around you in a way that feels good and so what we've what we've tried to encourage is that the sense

00:14:29
that it's not somebody else's job it's your job and I think that is that that's a epic that they've embraced now they

00:14:41
will choose to participate in in different ways because they have different temperaments and different

00:14:47
strengths I think one of the mistakes that we sometimes make is to think that there's just one way of making a

00:14:54
difference or being involved you know if you are a brilliant engineer you don't have to make a speech you can create an

00:15:07
app that allows an amplification or the scaling up of some something that is really powerful if you are somebody who

00:15:21
likes to care for people you you don't have to go out and lead the protest march you can mentor some kids or work

00:15:38
at a at a local health clinic that is going to make a difference so there are a lot of different ways in which to make

00:15:45
a contribution and we try to emphasize that that to them as well and then the third thing that we try to try to

00:15:52
encourage is what I mentioned in my earlier remarks which is that you have to be persistent I I always tell people

00:16:07
that my early work as a community organizer in Chicago taught me an incredible amount but I didn't set the

00:16:19
world on fire you know I got some public parks for communities that needed them I started some after-school programs we

00:16:31
we helped set up a job training program for people who had been laid off of work but that those communities weren't

00:16:39
suddenly transformed that they still had huge problems but I took that experience and then I was able to build on it and I

00:16:50
think so often we get impatient because change does not look as if sometimes it's not as discernable or mediate or

00:17:05
impactful as we had imagined in our in our minds and we get disappointed and we get frustrated and for for me by the way

00:17:17
that's advice in life and not just in social change I assume occasionally there was a bug in the software

00:17:24
Melvyn every now and then every once in a while you know and how we got a patch it again this is this is annoying but

00:17:33
but that's how I was I wasn't known for my patience bill did you have one yeah so this week at part of the reason we're

00:17:52
all in New York was the United Nations is meeting and you know some of these global institutions were created right

00:17:57
after World War two World Bank World Health Organization UNICEF they've been key partners for many of these causes

00:18:06
and yet there is definitely a cynicism about their bureaucracy their efficiency and their ability to change in fact very

00:18:16
few exceptions like Global Fund and gobby we haven't had any new one so over the next 10 or 20 years do you think

00:18:23
these global institutions in terms of reform or creating new ones it for pandemics and climate change can they

00:18:31
step up to play the role we need them to play well let me first of all say that the biggest problems we confront

00:18:44
no one nation is going to be able to solve on its own not even a nation as powerful as the United States of America

00:18:53
there are times during my presidency where I was attacked for not claiming that we could go on our own as if that

00:19:06
was an expression of weakness no I I believe that the United States is in fact an indispensable nation and that

00:19:17
many of the initiatives and much of the progress that we've made could not have been done unless we underwrote those

00:19:26
efforts and I'll use as an example of our handling of Ebola which in retrospect I think a lot of historians

00:19:41
would argue was one of the if not the most effective emergency public health intervention in history we we had to

00:19:51
create the architecture and the infrastructure and send our military in to create runways where the Chinese

00:20:00
could then land planes to deliver goods and we had to provide guarantees to the Europeans so that if they sent health

00:20:08
workers they could feel some assurance that they could be medevacked out if they got infected so so so I take great

00:20:20
pride in what the United States can do but if we're talking about climate change or global migration spurred on by

00:20:34
drought or famine or you know ethnic conflicts we're not gonna be able to solve those things by ourselves and as

00:20:46
you as you indicated don't some if we get an airborne pandemic unlike a slow-moving slow disease it's

00:20:59
difficult to transmit like Ebola if we haven't built ahead of time some some structures to deal with this millions of

00:21:08
people could be adversely impacted so so number one you have to start with the premise and believe that multilateral

00:21:18
institutions and efforts are important and you don't have to cede all your sovereignty or it doesn't make you less

00:21:25
patriotic to believe that you just have to have some sense and read so that's point number one point number two is

00:21:38
that in fact there are problems with existing multilateral institutions not surprisingly they were designed

00:21:49
post-world War two for the most part and they couldn't have anticipated everything that's happened there is

00:21:57
bureaucracy and inertia and resistance to reform so it is important for every country every leader to be honest about

00:22:10
the need for reform and not simply think narrowly about well I want to keep certain numbers of slots or votes or

00:22:17
this or that at least on many of the issues where there shouldn't be a big ideological

00:22:23
controversy look reforming the Security Council that's something that goes to core geopolitical interests and is a

00:22:34
huge difficult and perhaps unachievable goal any time soon on the other hand making sure that the WHL works well and

00:22:47
that we have a sufficient security trigger when a pandemic or something else happens that is achievable and it

00:23:01
shouldn't be controversial it's just a matter of digging in and getting the work done

00:23:06
what comes to girls education there may be cultural resistance in some places to

00:23:11
actually getting it done but generally speaking there's not a there aren't that many folks who will explicitly say I'm

00:23:22
sorry we don't want to educate our girls and women as a practical matter they may you may see that in in certain countries

00:23:30
but at the level of our multilateral institutions there should be a broad consensus and so what what I would hope

00:23:38
for is that we come up with concrete plans in those areas oftentimes with respect to the the sustainable

00:23:54
development goals our areas where there is a consensus on at least the aims if not always the means and think about how

00:24:01
can we improve delivery systems how can we improve their operations on a day to day basis but ultimately the last point

00:24:11
I would make that requires leaders to feel as if it matters and is important that in turn requires the public think

00:24:23
that it matters and is important because unfortunately what you discover is is that most politicians and elected

00:24:31
leaders are followers and not leaders they they're called leaders but most of the time they follow they they see what

00:24:41
do their constituencies care about and they respond and one of the biggest challenges that we've had is that and I

00:24:50
speak most intimately by the United States the general public responds with enormous generosity when they see a

00:25:00
specific story of a child who's hungry or somebody who's been stricken by you know a flood but when it comes to just a

00:25:13
general knowledge or interest in development funding not only the not know much but they oftentimes have a

00:25:25
negative reaction because their view is we've got a lot of needs here at home why are we sending money overseas sadly

00:25:33
it is one of the area's the only areas where Democrats and Republicans agree in this in the United States is on foreign

00:25:38
aid and repeatedly you've seen public opinion surveys where people wildly overestimate what we spend on foreign

00:25:49
aid they think 25 percent of the federal budget is going to foreign aid and helping people other than folks in their

00:25:59
towns and their communities so the need for public education in the ways we talked about that promote that that tell

00:26:08
a good story that point out that this is actually a bargain that connect what we do with respect to development to

00:26:18
security not in in a perfect correlation but to say that look if you've got failed States then generally some of

00:26:28
that's gonna spill over on us if you have economies that are failing ironically if you are concerned about

00:26:36
immigration and mass migration it's really a good investment to make countries work so that people can eat

00:26:45
because then it's not like they're dying to get on a dinghy and float across an ocean if the place the country were they

00:26:57
were born and they loved was functioning so so thinking about ways in which we describe this both as an economic

00:27:08
imperative a environmental imperative a security imperative the more we can influence public opinion the more you'll

00:27:20
see politicians respond that doesn't mean that there is not an enormous role to play for NGOs philanthropy and so

00:27:29
forth but and I've said this to both Bill and Melinda even with the incredible generosity and

00:27:39
enormous skill with which they've deployed their their resources over the years the u.s. budgets still bigger a

00:27:51
lot and you know you there's this notion that you can that I hear sometimes from young people that you can work around

00:28:01
government and work around politics because it's too messy or it's corrupt or it's you know I just don't like those

00:28:09
folks or what-have-you I'm sorry guys that's not gonna work if you want to get done what you're talking

00:28:18
about you will have to combine effective philanthropy and technical know-how and you know smart policy engineering with

00:28:31
getting your hands dirty trying to change public opinion and trying to ensure that the people who are in charge

00:28:38
of the levers of power are responsive and and that will require work and I guarantee you you will be disappointed

00:28:46
at points but what a glorious thing it is to be responsible for saving the world that's your responsibility that

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