tv Book Discussion on Choosing the Hero CSPAN July 16, 2016 8:15pm-9:01pm EDT
they're not unlike other revolts that are taking place within the hemisphere in which there's either inspiration by the haitian revolutionaries or direct instigation, the haitian revolution ignited crisis of the entire slaved system that can only be resolved by the system's collapse. if your trying to understand why slavery collapsed in north america, you should not only look within the four corners of north america but look to haiti and as i said you should also look to the inspiration, if not the instigation of british abolitionists in london. >> you can watch these and other programs online at book tv.
[inaudible conversations] >> thank you all for being so patient. i'm along with my wife, and on behalf of the entire staff, thank you very much for coming out on this afternoon. a few quick administrative notes, now would be a good time to turn off any cell phones or something that might go beep. when we get to the q&a part of the session, because we are recording this for our youtube channel and -- and c-span book tv is here, we appreciate it if you have a question, if you would step up to this microphone
here so it can be recorded and also heard by everybody else in the audience and at the end normally for those of you who have been to events before we would like to ask you to fold up your chairs, well, don't do that today because we have another event coming up. it's not often that we have a head of state here at politics and prose. in fact, it's pretty rare and at the moment it's pretty rare because she's not with us yet. [laughter] >> but she's on her way with an escort, so she should be here shortly and we thought we should just get under way. but we will see a very privileged when she's hear to welcome president johnson of liberia and it was just over a decade ago in 2005 president
sirleaf to be elected head of state. she's widely credited with ushering her country into a stable peace after years of brutal civil war, educated in the united states including a master's degree from harvard. president sirleaf was in and out of her native country several times of her career as a result of the political up seasons there. she was administered finance in 1980, within a few months she went to exile and what turned out to be a series of international banking or development positions with the world bank, citibank, hsbc and the united nations. return to go liberia in 1985 she ran for senate seat but after speaking out against military regime she landed in jail and again fled the country, back
once more a decade later she ran successfully for president against the war lord charles taylor, then again went to exile with the transition to democracy in the general elections of 2005 she ran a second time for president and won in a runoff, grab lg -- grappling of widespread poverty. same year that she shared the nobel peace prize with other courageous women all recognized for, quote, nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and women's right to full participation and peace-building work. her story is told in the new book, choosing the hero by riva levinson who is a guest and is here and as head of krl international, communication and
relations firm, riva represents lie -- lyberian interest and she talked her way into a job at a political public relation's firm founded by paul manford. yeah, that paul manford. there's no place in the world she wouldn't go. she's been involved in another of complex and sensitive projects around the world but much of her work has focused on africa. by the way, i would like to note that also here today is former
president of malawi. [applause] jeremiah, embassador to the united states. please join me in welcoming riva levinson. [applause] >> good afternoon, great crowd. thank you for being here. madame president is about five to ten minutes out so we are going to have to be flexible. i'm going to start and stop and we will move that way. i wanted to say that it's an honor to be here today introduced by brad graham and eventually along side madame president with my american family and my lie -- lyberian
family and colleagues that i have worked with nearly two decades in support of the people in liberia and ellen johnson. special thanks to my father jeff and my daughter kylie and my son andrew. also to my work family and to the remarkable team that brought my book to life. there are so many reasons i wanted to write this book, but here today for the sake of time as we are running 30 minutes late, i'm going to focus on three as brad said, i have spenl nearly three decades traveling the world, often in times of conflict iraq, liberia. many of the people that i have come to know and befriend did
not live to fight another day. i needed to make sense of it all. how would my work be judged and by whom. so this book helps make sense of it all. second, i wanted the world to know elen johnson, hopefully you will know soon, not asthma dam president but first women elected to lead african nation, not as medal freedom winner but as the person underneath all of those titles, underneath all of those to know her humanity, to meet the grandmother, to meet the mom, the sister, the aunt, the friend, the woman who i came to work in february of 199 when
everybody was lined against her and, yes, the u.s. government was against her as well. even her own family who will be coming in with her including her grandchildren had hoped she would relent because they feared for her safety but she was seized with her mission in life. her call to go bring peace to her country liberia, she was willing to fight no matter the cost, no matter the consequence. i had hoped madame was going to be here because i was going to say that this woman is not perfect and she makes mistakes, she has regrets, but she has been utterly consistent her her life, it's always been the well-being of the liberian people, their future and promise that she taught to advance. i met ellen johnson sirleaf when
he was to return to native liberia and she was looking for someone to fight for her in washington, d.c. i met ellen at a time when i doubted almost everything about my life's choices and i think brad shared with you how i started with a political consulting firm back in 1985. so it was ellen's faith in me that restored my belief in myself. final reason, well, final of three i'm going share, there's so many more reasons. i wanted to demistfy, to show how things get done and demonstrate leadership in the world and what happens when we get it right , to shout out to those which is select members of
[applause] >> madame, you missed my introduction to the book. [laughter] >> anyone want to summarize it? i'm just going to do a reading now. i will share with you. i wanted to make you cry. [laughter] >> so i'm going to do an unreading from the book, the close of the second chapter and then ask madame president to come up. so the year is 1996, july, and identify just met madame president for the first time,
she was serving as the head of the undp for africa, she sat over the entire program and budget for the african continent and i've just met her and this is my thoughts. so how did i get here trying to -- on the summer afternoon in new york city in 1996, i had the overwhelming sense of being at a personal cross roads. it's time to stop and examine what i'm doing and why. i need to put everything on the table and take a brutally honest look at my life. what difference had i really made? what lasting good had i don't? what would oma say if she were standing here before me? i wish with all my heart she was, would she think i was a drift? would she reassure me that all of this is life's journey and i'm accumulating lessons that
would be applied with meaning one day? would she think my trial given the decision she had to grapple with in her lifetime coming from berlin. i am sure of a few things. i know to be right, i know to be good. my husband jeff, my infant daughter kylie, my unshakable belief that there are people in the world dedicated to doing others and that i want to be one of them and this, a new thought that is just beginning to take growth ellen johnson sirleaf will change the world. i know i want to help her, i want to come along in that journey, i want to work for ellen johnson sirleaf. [applause] ..
and then i have the first draft and then i called her and i said are you sure you want to write a book. are you sure you want to say the things you say? do you want to disclose competences. but she said you know, this is my story and in a way this is your story and we think it should be told. there are a lot of things that people ought to know the good side in the bad side the thrills one gets from following development work and the agony that they face from time to time.
she did a little bit of tweaking here and there into the book is a wonderful book. it tells a story of tran want and some of the daring things that she did. it tells the story of courage the courage to go to uncharted waters and to be able to to come out of it to have your goal accomplished. somewhere along the way of course because of her commitment to work with me it tells the story of my story in a way. and that to has the hills and the valleys the good times and
the bad times. it has been a long road. and let me say quite a few people in this room that they could write about that. and i can see many of them in the room that had shared those difficult days. i think one has to give a lot of credit to riva for doing this book in the midst of all the many things she was doing although the difficult part was over it could end in success. with my election, with mine taking on the task to join others.
but still she continued doing that to be a part of what we are trying to do of trying to reconstruct the country and build a new something that has been so badly destroyed. she is always been there with us. i think that she knows the country as well as i do. because she's always probing and questioning and talking and sharing with people some of her own ideas. she is truly a part also of the removal and what she has committed to the support that she has given to me for us to achieve what we have. to all of you who are here to be able to share and as i think you are to read the
book. and that is the end game. and so each and everyone will participate in the endgame because is not only to write the book but all to share it and has a people read it. and maybe after reading it you might want to write your own experiences just as interesting and captivating or you could be encouraged for join your own and identify somewhere along the road something that you want to achieve and begin to pursue that and being able to share
your experiences after you had reach the goal. that you set up to achieve. i could recognize quite a few people in this room. i know joyce is working on it. she's waiting for that one too. i know there are so many of us here that have been part of that and i want to say to all of you that has contributed to what we have achieved in liberia it's because you had been there and you been able if not directly certainly indirectly to the organization's in which you are part of to the support
that comes through your own government so many ways through the universities that we've had opportunity to be able to speak to and to work with them all of that has made our story the success story that it is. i want to thank all of you for being here and for being a part of it. i'm quite sure we will get to the second part of the show and that's when we will really begin to have fun. as we begin to have the interaction and begin to listen to your side of the story and your comments and your views and your questions sharing with us some of the same kind of experiences that i'm sure you had had as you look forward to carrying on. thank you for being here.
>> i think we will take questions and everybody lines up at that microphone right there but before i take the first question because madame president was not here for my company i just wanted to take the liberty of reading from the afterword of my book which helps people understand what the meaning of the title is. it is just a single paragraph and i'm going to read it. >> working with alan has taught me to follow my heart and cannot fear being misunderstood.
i have come to see certainty is a luxury and destiny a journey that reveals itself as a straight off course to doubt and lose faith to seek compromise and surrender. even abandoned. but there is always something to hold onto the belief that things will get better have come to appreciate that we need people to guide us those we admire as we believe in the heroes that we choose. and christians.
it is my privilege to be here i read the book before it was even printed and i went through line by line but first we congratulate you in this book and second, may i be allowed to say i was amazed at how the two of you found one another and how you sip provided support to the president i say this because i've been there and i know about peace. you can balance to someone. and especially in this year. i want to thank you.
i want to thank madame president for allowing her to make them see through your journey. the question i have you got there and you are not well. and you ask yourself what am i doing here. just take us through that. that was one chapter that i read again and again because i was trying to understand and i found yourself on the streets in iraq. i think i will take that question. madame president thank you and thank you for the inspiration that you have provided. she sends me a text and she said i totally don't get it.
why is this relevant. she did not get that one either but it's part of my story so it's part of the story through my eyes. i think we have a couple of friends here long story short i was a state department contractor to the national congress. i was hired by madeleine albright in 1999 and i thought it would be a really good assignment. i would go back and forth they were in exile in london. and then september 11 happened and then and i felt like that was my place. they needed to go and they
needed to set up their communication operation and so one of the most fun and ridiculous chapters just when there cannot stay on that continent it is pretty harrowing and at one point might vehicle is stoned. it was weird jessica lynch was kidnapped and she was raped. at that time i was completely second-guessing my life and i was holding a card for my son andrew and it said mime i love you because you take such good care of me. and i'm thinking i'm not going to be able to do that anymore. but i went there because i felt like it was my object patient and the things that
when i got there after 13 hours it was a remarkable. in history and that chapter defines that it closed the meeting with his famous quote which he said so many times which is that he says that the americans what is it again. it is something like they will do the right thing after trying every other poor option. there are the questions please. >> i'm a college student here on the washington dc area.
it's one of the most meaningful books that i read and i mean it with great sincerity. my question is what do you think of important for future -- for future generations to believe regarding the main messages of the book. >> be what you want to be. set your course. take with it do not be distracted. i whenever you face stay on course take courage and it will take commitment but if
you stand course you will get where you need to be. i wanted to remind people one of the most quotable quotes is that if your dreams don't scare you they aren't big enough. and i think that is probably one of the quotes. i think second that just to persevere and even when you think everything is just as bad as it can get to snow that there is always an opportunity to reach out and to step back up. my name is rachel and i had spent the past nine years living in uganda and kenya working and help them with development. the reason i wanted to come here today is the importance
of female role models. through the nexus of culture and tradition in semi things that keep them from aspiring to reach this level. i would love to have you speak the need for perhaps mentoring whatever it will take to have a young african female in our lifetime be able to see and aspire to be in the position of you to women. >> i can't say enough for nick working. they defined us reaching out getting to know others understanding their culture and their tradition identifying common causes and
working together. i can tell you in this room they have done this and done it successfully in their own life story. so many of them that have been a part of this and what they've done is to be able to bring together particularly young people and to talk about a world of people having shared values the evil to work together in unity and so i would say also to all of the young black women don't just stay in the cocoon of where you are. reach out maybe be a little
bit courageous do something and some other place. it may take a lot on your part. that is great experience that you have. i wish you would share with people in alabama, florida you know. places where perhaps we will not even be able to identify where uganda is. if you can inspire other young african americans to do some of the things you have done and share your experience i think you will find that that will be on reaching for them.
>> it is a great honor to be here. if both of you have a different view in terms of the future if you have the opportunity to be with our new president what advice would you give them president bush did a great job with the millennium challenge. i can't go through the many programs that president obama has what advice would you give the new president as far as how he should legacy.
i have a two word answer be presidential. [laughter] >> i have nothing to add. >> it evening madame president. i would like to ask a question about current politics in liberia my question is i would like to ask mena madame president for her comments on recent bribery allegations with respect for people in the legislature and other officials.
these allegations having been the global witness a well-known international organization. thank you. there is a report from an international that report makes a certain allegations. we have asked our miniature -- minister of justice they have determined that there are some people who need to be indicted so that they can be able to defend themselves. that's it. it's just a question of being able to ensure that we follow the rule of law that they have an opportunity. that is what our law says. that is a law that we are fire -- following.
>> i think we had time for one more question. and how appropriate david smith of the guardian. >> a couple of questions back to u.s. politics. they are trying to become the first female president and you have any advice for hillary clinton to become the first female president in the u.s.? >> i don't think anyone aspiring to be president of the united states needs any particular advice. i think they live in a free environment. they have to respond to their different constituents. the commonalities in the
objectives of leadership particularly as we live in the global village these days. any of them inspiring will need to know that the have is not an island over itself. they have to be able to be a part of this chosen global world that is very elusive. i will not begin to give advice. >> i haven't asked that question before by someone else and maybe this is the last question i just want to return to back it was the advice that you gave to me which is follow your heart and do not fear being misunderstood. that was the way i answer that question.
i think we are done. [applause] >> here is a look at some books that are being published this week. another clinton presidency will change the country for the worse. in hillary's america. in have in the cloud he considers how the ease of finding information on the internet affects how people think. freda tells her personal story of being been captured and enslaved by isis in 2014 and her escape. is the girl who escaped isis. and for the love of money he describes his time working at a hedge fund and what caused him to decide to leave. the problem with socialism is the economic professor against
socialist ideologies that he sees in america today. the middle east correspondent examines the origins of model -- modern-day israel and its role in politics. look for these titles and watch for many of the authors in the near future on book tv. >> they ask members of congress but there reading this summer. >> i just started this morning a phenomenal book called the age of discovery. it talks about the renaissance, da vinci, columbus 500 years ago and all the events in the world that led to major opportunity and relate that to what is happening now. there is so much going on in the roles -- world. and things can happen. we can screw screwed up or we can use these events to create
hundreds of years of prosperity. there's about 350 pages i can probably do that in a couple weeks. i am also a writer. when i'm not reading i'm writing i'm hoping that it will be read. and you have and a book tv has covered talking about your books. isn't there a congressional book club that you are involved with? >> it's about 25 or 30 members of congress from both sides of the aisle just in joint writing. and it is a wonderfully refreshing group of members. >> book tv wants to know what you are reading this summer. you can also post it on her facebook page. >> here is a look at some of the oaks that have been written about presidential
candidates donald trump and hillary clinton. donald trump has had many written about him. some of the more recent include never enough. it was published in 2015 in which the old surprise when he author profiles his business career and his aspirations. cnn political commentator jeffrey lord it makes the case for a trumpet presidency and what america needs published earlier this year. twice updated and originally published in 2001, gwenda blair looks at the relationship of trump in his trump in his family and reports on his candidacy for president. throughout hillary clinton's political life over 150 books have been written about her or feature her as a key player. these include several released last year. bloomberg news jonathan allen and the hills book hrc chronicles her loss to barack
obama into return to political promise. love her, love her not edited by joann bamberger is a collection of essays by women that looks at how she is lauded and disliked. edward klein former editor of the new york times magazine argues against the clinton presidency and unlikable. media matters founders david brock who also runs a super pack supporting her presidential campaign says that there is a right wing plot to derail hillary clinton in his book killing the messenger. and coming out in july it asserts that another clinton presidency well fundamentally change the country for the worst in hillary's america. several of these books have been discussed on book tv and you can find them on our website.