May 3, 2007
Good Morning, I am Michael Drake, Chancellor of the University of California, Irvine, and it is my privilege to welcome you to a very special event. Our students will provide a formal and proper introduction of our honored guest shortly, but allow me to say that this morning we will all have the pleasure of hearing from one of the leading citizens of the world, the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter.
Our campus has achieved great prominence in 40 short years. We are moving ahead rapidly. Our unprecedented success derives from inspiring and empowering our people to make a difference, and from living our values, and allowing those values to guide our every decision.
The values I cite most often, in a representative if not exhaustive list, are: respect, intellectual curiosity, commitment, integrity, empathy, appreciation or tolerance, and fun. There is no one in my experience who illustrates the power of a life lived by values more than President Carter.
In too many places around the world we, unfortunately, see the damage done by those who do not adhere to these values. We have all witnessed disrespectful, dishonest, intolerant behavior; examples include hate speech in the form of anti-Semitism, intolerance in the form of condemnation of the Islamic faith, or the demonization of entire ethnic groups.
As I stated last year: Officially and personally I abhor racism and I reject hate speech. I know that you all join me in this. We respect, appreciate and value all members of our campus community. We may not always agree, but we are privileged to live in a society where we can explore, learn, and grow from our differences; from our difficult dialogues.
Among the many areas in which the United States leads the world, two stand out: the enduring brilliance of our constitution, and the quality of our elite institutions of higher education.
Here, today, in the free and open discussion of difficult issues, we will experience the best of both.
This morning’s discussion is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Democracy and the Model United Nations Program, in association with the Center for Citizen Peacebuilding and the School of Social Sciences. Our co-sponsors all contribute greatly to the intellectual climate on our campus and in our community.
I would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to arrange this event, particularly during these last two weeks. Among the many let me single out Dulcie and Larry Kugleman, who sponsor the Citizen Peacebuilding award, and our esteemed colleague Professor Willie Schonfeld, the Dean Emeritus of the School of Social Sciences, and the very able director of the Center for the Study of Democracy. Professor Schonfeld will serve as moderator for this morning’s program, and will introduce our student representatives. Please join me in welcoming him to the podium. Professor Schonfeld …