An inside view from Powell, complete with regrets

first_imgIn a visit to Harvard Law School, retired four-star general and former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell shared lessons from his service as a close adviser to three presidents, tips on negotiating with difficult foreign leaders, and his thoughts on strengthening support for families and children in the United States.Powell on Friday took part in the American Secretaries of State Program developed jointly by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School, and Harvard Business School. Law School Dean Martha Minow introduced the afternoon session, which was moderated by HLS Professor Robert H. Mnookin, HBS Professor James Sebenius, and HKS Professor Nicholas Burns.Powell served as national security adviser to Ronald Reagan from 1987 to 1989. From 1989 through 1993 he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, first for President George H.W. Bush, and then for President Bill Clinton. He was President George W. Bush’s secretary of state from 2001 to 2005.During the two-hour discussion Powell expanded on some of his 13 rules for great leadership, maxims such as “It can be done” and “It ain’t as bad as it looks, it will look better in the morning.” Sometimes, he confessed, it actually doesn’t look better in the morning. But the point is to stay positive. “You have to keep your team up.”Among the most personal of his rules: “Be kind, be calm.”“I have a horrible temper,” said Powell, who was born in Harlem to Jamaican immigrants, and grew up in the South Bronx.A cool head is crucial when negotiating, which Powell called an “intensely human experience.” Careful listening and respecting the views of others are equally important.“I found in negotiations, always get yourself partially on the side of the other person, understand what they need. Always show respect. … No country is unimportant, no person is unimportant, and I think that’s the way you go into a negotiation.”The moderators didn’t shy away from Powell’s most difficult chapter as secretary of state, pressing him about his role in making the case for the invasion of Iraq. On Feb. 5, 2003, Powell appeared before the United Nations Security Council with a clear message: Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and the potential to produce more. The United States had to act.Powell recalled that President Bush asked him on a Thursday to address the U.N. the following Tuesday. After reviewing an early draft of the intelligence-based presentation, he knew he needed more time.“It was awful,” Powell said. “It was badly done, and it was only years later that I discovered that it was not done by the National Security Council, it was done by the vice president’s office.”But the date was set, and Powell spent the next several days with his team and officials from the Central Intelligence Agency verifying the information. He told them: “Nothing goes in there that you can’t verify with multiple sources, nothing that’s wild that you can’t verify.”Not long after his U.N. appearance, the intelligence began to unravel.“By the summer, nothing was found, and evidence emerged that a lot of the information was incorrect.”Though Powell reminded listeners at HLS that 376 members of Congress had voted for the war months before his briefing — “based on that same intelligence estimate” — he admitted that his presentation was a mistake and said he wished he had trusted his instincts.“I regret it. I will always regret it. It was a terrible mistake on all our parts and on the intelligence community … I wish it had been different, I wish I had more time. Maybe if I had another week or two my instincts would have seen through this or been able to do double-checking, but I didn’t have more time. But I’m not looking for an excuse. I gave that presentation. I gave it believing that everything I had said had been double-sourced, triple-sourced, and was accurate, but it was not.”Powell touched on U.S.-China relations, describing his efforts to secure the release of 24 servicemen after their surveillance plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet in 2001 off the coast of China.After hammering out a deal, Powell received another missive from Chinese officials negating everything to which the United States had agreed. It was a pivotal moment, he said, and underscored an important negotiating rule: High-level talks often involve myriad stakeholders, and occasionally, you have to ignore some of them.Powell realized a branch of the Chinese government had sent the second letter out of “bureaucratic necessity. [They] had to be on record demanding something else, and we just simply pretended we never got it, and we accepted the deal we liked.”Those talks also led to phone calls at home. In an effort to foster better ties, Powell had offered up his home phone number and urged his Chinese counterparts to call any time. And they did.“They tested it every now and again,” sometimes with humorous results, Powell said, such as when the Chinese foreign minister rang him on a Saturday morning only to be interrupted by Powell’s two Yorkshire terriers barking at the FedEx deliveryman.In addressing tensions with Russia, Powell encouraged current U.S. negotiators to remember that the world’s largest nation has long been wary of foreign encroachment, and to consider a more diplomatic approach when dealing with President Vladimir Putin.“I’ve got no illusions about this guy, trust me; I know him, KGB through and through,” said Powell. “What he is doing now is terrible. But at the same time, I know you will never be able to deal with him effectively if you try to demonize him all the time.”Shifting from his experience as a military leader and statesman, Powell described his work with youth as “the passion of my life.” He founded America’s Promise, a foundation dedicated to providing young people with the resources they need to succeed, in 1997. The organization has built partnerships with more than 380 organizations, including businesses and nonprofits.“I want young people to have the same kind of structure in their lives that I had in mine,” said Powell who praised the public school system for his education, and credited his mother and father with giving him a supportive home and high expectations.“We didn’t come to this country on banana boats so you could stick something in your nose or drop out of something,” he was told by his parents, Powell recalled. “Don’t ever even think about it. Because if you ever come home and tell us you dropped out of high school, we are going to get rid of you and get some other kid.”last_img read more

Respecting the Boundaries of Earth Overshoot Day

first_imgSO WHAT CAN YOU DO? TAKE THESE STEPSIf you’re ready to do more at a personal level, the Global Footprint Network provides 11 steps you can take to move the date.At the organizational level, engage with your technology and sustainability teams to see how you can move the date and meet sustainability goals. Look at how you can transform your workplace to reduce commuting via long-term work-from-home policies and practices. See how you could use machine learning to create a digital twin instead of physical prototyping for your next big project.Thinking about your own place in global systems can be a little overwhelming. Yet, the equation is remarkably simple: investing in one’s own success is about supporting humanity’s prosperity in the long-term, just like choosing a healthy lifestyle optimizes one’s chances of leading a longer and happier life. There are a lot of things you can do as an individual or as a business to help move the date of Earth Overshoot Day. You can start by finding your own Overshoot Day and exploring some of the fantastic initiatives to move the date shared on the crowd-sourced map developed by Global Footprint Network. Then help raise awareness of Earth Overshoot Day and the concept of one-planet prosperity using social media via the #MoveTheDate hashtag, or in a classroom. Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 2:24Loaded: 0%Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVERemaining Time -2:24 Playback Rate1ChaptersChaptersdescriptions off, selectedDescriptionssubtitles off, selectedSubtitlescaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedCaptionsen (Main), selectedAudio TrackFullscreenThis is a modal window.Caption Settings DialogBeginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsDefaultsDoneClose Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. We have all learned a lot about boundaries during COVID-19. Boundaries like six-foot social distancing are meant to keep you safe. But what are the boundaries that keep humanity safe on our finite planet?This Saturday, August 22, marks Earth Overshoot Day – the day when the Ecological Footprint — humanity’s demands on natural resources and services — exceeds what the planet can regenerate in that year (“biocapacity”), according to calculations by Global Footprint Network. From now through December 31, we increase the ecological debt which humanity started accumulating in the early 1970s when the world fell in ecological overshoot. One way this debt manifests is through the accumulation of more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than natural ecosystems can absorb. This is where ecological boundaries come in.Overshoot leads to depleting the natural capital and threatening the planet’s ability to support our lifestyle. At the rate we are consuming, we demand as much from nature as if we lived on 1.6 Earths. The Footprint Calculator developed by Global Footprint Network determines the date of your personal Overshoot Day and will tell you how many planets humanity would need if everyone lived like you do. Mine was July 14. Not good.HOW IT WORKSWhen we deplete natural reserves, we eventually start pushing up against tipping points that threaten whole systems with collapse like a game of Jenga. And these systems are quite complex – so much so that small disruptions can have disproportionately large effects. You do not have to catch the very last big-eye tuna for their populations to collapse, just as you don’t have to catch every last fish to have the ocean system collapse. The tipping point is that boundary we want to avoid.Since the 1970s, we have operated in “overshoot mode,” with the annual date of Earth Overshoot Day usually coming earlier each year. Every year, we use up more of the reserves we have. And the more we deplete those reserves, the more we push up against tipping points.This year features an unexpected shift in the trend – which is important. Earth Overshoot Day 2020 is more than three weeks later than last year, a direct consequence of the coronavirus-induced lockdowns around the world which slowed down resource consumption. While moving the date back is a good thing, it is a product of the pandemic – a global crisis that was imposed upon us. Going forward, we can choose to move the date of Earth Overshoot Day through careful design, so that all people — and wildlife — thrive within the ecological budget of Earth.GREEN ITTechnology has an important role to play in moving the date. To begin with, efforts to create “greener IT” need to continue. This includes looking at both what we use to make our products and how hardware uses energy. Dell is working to accelerate the circular economy and we have an aggressive goal to take back one product for every product sold by 2030, along with shifting to at least 50% recycled- or renewable-content in our products and 100% in our packaging.Climate impacts are also a big part of the overshoot equation. By driving greater energy efficiency we also help our customers on their path to reducing emissions. To that end, we’ve reduced the energy intensity of our whole product portfolio since 2011 by 69.9%. Recognizing the multiple benefits that habitat restoration and protection of vulnerable forests provide, Dell also offers the Plant a Tree program. Customers can choose during their purchase to donate to plant trees and protect forests via The Conservation Fund. In addition to the climate benefits, these efforts restore habitats and improve the health of the ecosystem.IT FOR GREENMeanwhile, virtualization, AI/ML and other technologies help our customers better manage resources throughout operations, including reduced travel, optimizing building controls, managing the electricity grid better to bring more renewable energy sources online  and much more. Because they contribute to lowering the consumption of ecological resources while improving well-being, all of these initiatives are essential to our customers’ long-term success. For example, AeroFarms, a leader in vertical farming, is transforming agricultural production through IoT and data analytics. They are able to produce 390x more greens without the sun and without soil while using 95% less water and no pesticides in their operations than a conventional farm.Efforts like this can play an important role in driving one-planet prosperity and moving the date of Earth Overshoot Day back in the year Global Footprint Network and Schneider Electric even did a study that showed that retrofitting existing buildings worldwide with existing energy-efficiency technologies could shift the date back 21 days.last_img read more

Penn State : Normal Paternoville tailgate still goes on, but with somber tone after week’s events

first_imgUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. Though the landscape of tents remains the same, this was anything but an ordinary week in Paternoville.Dozens of tents were set up outside Gate A of Beaver Stadium in anticipation of Saturday’s game against Nebraska at noon. That part doesn’t change. The PSU loyalists who are equivalent to Otto’s Army at Syracuse never miss a week-long tailgate.But the horde of media lurking directly across the street and hovering 24 hours in a day was something new.‘Monday night you’re kind of sitting out here and you see a bunch of news crews and you’re kind of we’re all kind of stunned by it,’ Jeff Lowe, a junior broadcast journalism major said. ‘We get a lot of news out here, because people like covering us. But not to this level.’By Tuesday, the reason had become clear. A shocking, nauseating sex abuse scandal hit the Penn State football program, with one of legendary head coach Joe Paterno’s former assistants, Jerry Sandusky, allegedly committing numerous molestations of young boys over the years.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSo while Monday’s unusually large collection of television, print and radio reporters took the fans at Paternoville by surprise, the week had only just begun for the Nittany Lion community.‘We came into this week thinking it was going to be Joe Paterno’s last home game,’ freshman bio engineering major Paul Kucinski said. ‘And it’s turned into something much more than football.’The result has been a scaled-back version of the normally enthusiastic tailgate outside Beaver Stadium. For this week’s marquee matchup against No. 19 Nebraska, students still began camping out Monday night per the usual routine. But the events of Paternoville have changed and taken on a more significant meaning to the students, players and community as the week continues.On Thursday night, an impromptu vigil was held around Joe Paterno’s statue adjacent to the Paternoville camping area. Dozens of die-hard fans sat in silence to honor one of the greatest football coaches of all time as well as reflect on the week’s events in total.A few hours earlier, members of the Penn State football team had visited Paternoville to partake in a trash can football tournament. The game features four garbage cans two per team to be separated by roughly 30 yards. The object is for teams of two to throw a football into the opposing team’s trash cans.It’s a staple of the weekly tailgate, always drawing in some of the best Nittany Lion players. Matt McGloin, the starting quarterback for PSU, Nate Stupar, a linebacker, and Derek Moye, a wide receiver, turned out to play Wednesday night.‘They want to win it for Joe Paterno,’ Kucinski said. ‘I was talking to Derek Moye yesterday at Paternoville playing some trash can football, and he said he really wants to win the game for Coach.’And immediately after the players left Paternoville to head home, the news of Paterno’s firing broke around 9:45 p.m.The stunning turn of events since Paterno had announced he would retire at season’s end only a few hours earlier prompted the vigil and shook the campus again.‘You kind of wish everything was acted on quicker, because it let too much emotion build up of the past couple days,’ Lowe said. ‘And that’s why it exploded last night.’The residents of Paternoville are left waiting eagerly for the start of Saturday’s game. They share the belief that that once the team gets back on the field, where the community can focus on the players and not the coaches, the whole campus will be uplifted.But the reflection until Saturday’s kickoff remains most important. Though the players and coaches of the football team have certainly been affected by the week’s events, Lowe and the rest of the students at Paternoville want everyone especially the media to understand that the Penn State student body isn’t overlooking the victims. They remain a crucial part of the mourning and healing periods.‘It would mean a lot to the university to win the game,’ Lowe said. But again, the saddest thing is the victims, I just can’t stress that enough. But there is still an eerie, sad, depressing feelings.’Saturday’s game won’t be the majestic sending-off party for the legendary and iconic Paterno. But the bringing together of more than 100,000 strong in support of the same cause will be welcomed following a week where the Penn State community was torn in half.‘Penn State has always been about more than football,’ Kucinski said. ‘But if we can find a way to rally around something, pull the entire student population together everybody show the world that we’re still Penn State and we’re not going to let something that one man did affect everybody here.’[email protected] Comments Published on November 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @Michael_Cohen13center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Warity Speaks On Voice FM, Media Issues

first_imgA former President of the Press Union of Liberia and ex-minister of information, Lamini Waritay, is encouraging the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (with the assistance of the Ministry of Information) to reach an out-of-court settlement with Voice FM that will ensure the regularization of the frequency issue that some say has ostensibly kept the station off air. Professor Waritay, who himself was once a Minister of Information as well as Commissioner of the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA), said while the case involving the radio station is currently sub judice, there is nonetheless a need to have the matter amicably resolved given its implications for our burgeoning democracy and the legacy of the present political dispensation. Commenting on the matter to the Daily Observer, without going into the legalities, Waritay hoped that ultimately the issue will be resolved in a way that will allow staff of the closed radio station to continue to be a part of the liberal media landscape in the country.He pointed out that while freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and not a privilege any government or authority can extend to society or to any one, Prof. Waritay cited the level of freedom of expression under the existing political environment as “the one legacy over which few Liberians will (hand on heart) quibble.” He therefore posited that against this political backdrop, it would be most unfortunate if the present government, which has less than twenty months left in its lifespan, leaves the scene with a major radio station remaining off the air—having earned for itself (the current government) a generally positive record for political tolerance over the past ten-plus years of its existence.The media veteran, activist and erstwhile Acting Chair of the Mass Communication Department of the University of Liberia said he is aware that some Liberians may view as ‘distasteful’, ‘socially irresponsible’ and ‘incendiary’ the way and manner in which some sections of the media may be exercising their constitutionally-sanctioned freedom of expression. Notwithstanding, he argued, periodic professional and ethical infractions are part of the price society will have to pay in ensuring that no one’s voice is muffled.While noting with some satisfaction the due process approach that is being applied to the case with Voice FM, in contrast to the extra-judicial actions that characterized past regimes, the former PUL Prexy, however, points out that he is somewhat uncomfortable with the perception in certain circles that the LTA Frequency issue is only an excuse for stopping the radio’s operation, and that the radio station can only hope to get justice at the hands of an unfettered judicial system. He recalled that much of the struggle for press freedom he and many others waged (at considerable risks to their lives) during some of the most brutal and dictatorial regimes in the history of the country, was based on the principle that freedom of expression (no matter how it is being exercised) should never be enjoined by anyone or any institution other than an unencumbered judiciary.Prof. Waritay further pointed out that freedom of expression, as “an indispensable pillar of democracy, is conceptually so all-embracing that all must be allowed to freely express themselves no matter how disagreeable we may be with what they say or write, and that only the courts, consistent with the requirements of the Constitution, can circumscribe the misuse of freedom of expression.”He urged all persons always to have at the back of their minds in discussing the concept of freedom of expression, the famous maxim attributed to the French writer, Francois-Marie Arouet (carrying the pen name Voltaire): “I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.”Mr. Waritay added that given his national and international political and professional experience over the decades, it is always better to have individuals and groups to openly express themselves (particularly in regard to governments and their officials) and be limited only by the law, than to have them go underground. Ongoing technological innovations in the communications industry, he pointed out, have in fact made it virtually untenable to shield the public from any manner of expression of ideas. The former LTA Commissioner hopes that the commendable level of political tolerance established by the current dispensation will continue to be maintained and even improved upon so as to serve as a precedent for any subsequent leadership that may become crazy and dictatorial enough to attempt to turn back the hand of media freedom that the country has seen in recent times, and for which so many endured so much suffering in the past. Meanwhile, Prof. Waritay hopes the injunction placed on the use of the frequency does not deny access of the staff to their studios/property but only to the use of the now controversial frequency. He cites this because as a former Commissioner of LTA, he recalls that whenever the LTA had been compelled to withdraw the license of a telecom or related entity, it never denied staff access to the premises of the entity.Waritay says given the huge price that was paid by media personnel and advocates during some past anti-media regimes, he is usually very sensitive to any action that may give the appearance of a “chilling effect” on media activities.It is against this backdrop, he noted, that he entertains some misgivings about talk of establishing a media regulatory body—never mind that both the government and the Press Union are all rooting for it. Waritay pointed out that with the best of intentions, such a regulatory body may not necessarily be a bad idea, but, he noted, “best intentions do not necessarily translate into best practices or a desired end, and that in fact sometimes the road to hell may as well be laden with best intentions.” He explained that experience with “such media commissions or regulatory outfits in some neighboring countries shows that they can be used by an intolerant/frightened regime as a subterfuge or willing tool to clampdown on the media, in the same way a controlling or overbearing government can teleguide a timid judiciary.” He said the ideal regulatory mechanism is one that is “highly independent of government control and manipulation, and one whose membership composition reflects competent and fearless individuals drawn from across the political divide.”It’s a “similar case” with state-owned broadcasters, he opined; citing that government controlled radio stations can never ever behave like independent, non-partisan state-owned public broadcasters as long as they remain dependent on government largesse for their survival, and as long as virtually every appointment at such entities comes directly from the Presidency. Waritay recalls that it was in consideration of this state of affairs that in drafting the policy framework for converting the Liberia Broadcasting System into a public broadcaster some fifteen (15) years ago, he went to great lengths to spell out the details for the governance system of such public broadcasters (PBs). These included a Board of Directors drawn from diverse sections of society, who will in turn contract the services of successful professionals following a transparent competitive bidding to fill such key positions as Director General and Deputies. The draft policy framework also provided a detailed strategy by which such PBs can be largely independently financed. Prof. Waritay lamented that fifteen years after an erudite lawyer (in the person of Cllr. Oswald Tweh) had hammered out a very good legal instrument for legislative action out of the policy draft he (Waritay) had prepared at the behest of the Liberia Transition Initiative (LTI), and even after the election of an otherwise liberal leadership, and two successive sets of legislators, virtually nothing concrete thus far has come out of the internationally supported efforts to transform the state-owned, government controlled broadcaster into a truly independent public broadcaster. And with elections beckoning in less than 15 months, Waritay has little hope that any major stride will be made in this direction before that time.He regretted that “even opposition lawmakers in the legislature who should be putting more efforts in in this direction have not been able or willing to ignite the necessary fire in their bellies to champion the cause of the PB proposal, let alone shepherd it through the legislative process. And so fifteen years after the efforts began to have LBS converted into a Public Broadcaster, and three years since the only public hearing on the proposed amendment in the House of Representatives took place, the document continues to gather dust there.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more