Learn English via Conversation with Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Melinda Gates - English Subtitles
You started out as a community organizer and later rose to president. You understand the power of moving people, even people who aren't necessarily on your bus. When you get started, tell us a bit about how you think about movements around the world. and the power of those now and what leaders can
learn from them well i would make a couple of observations number one is most of the big change most of the human progress is driven by young people who don't know any better and they realize why they can't we do something different older people feel comfortable or moody or protective of their status or fixated on their ways, there's a reason why if you look at, for example, here in the United States, the civil rights movement, the leaders of those movements were in their 20s and 30s. .
King was 26 when he started, 39 when he was killed and if he toured the world often, that's the impetus for people asking in ways that I think are familiar to many, not why not but or not but why no, why do things? they have to be the way they are, so that's point number one, I think young people can make a big difference. Number two is that because most of us now live in democracies or in countries that pretend to be democracies because we have won the battle of ideas that governments are our common efforts have to be rooted in the legitimacy of the people. there is more power than ever in people coming together and collectively driving initiatives that are going to change their lives that is something that for most of human history was unimaginable, that is one of the amazing transitions that has taken place and you will notice that even in today's autocracies there is at least the pretense of democracy because people believe that governments that are rooted in the people are more legitimate and we that is a battle we won and now we have to make it happen where we can that is the point number two point number three is simple math in most places if you want to do something, be it climate change policy more smart or health care for the people or more funding for girls' education must have a majority of people supporting it must have votes must have resource allocation and that requires mobilization and a game of addition rather than subtraction, So, and the fourth point I would make would be that the Internet has now empowered the ability for us to develop movements in ways that we hadn't imagined before.
Now the last thing I'll say so as not to sound like me. I am in the still new US Senate and the filibustering is, I suppose, a minor but profound point that I have tried to reinforce with my staff at all levels of my public work and continue to do so to this day. The mobilization of initial movements begins with a story and you cannot create a story that moves a large number of people unless you are able to listen and hear the story of the person next to you the story of your neighbors the stories from your fellow workers the stories of your community the story of people who are not like you and so one of the things that I think is important is that we
learn to listen to each other and
learn how we came to be who we think about the The way we do because that understanding of other people's stories is how you end up forging bonds and creating the glue that creates mandi movements in India.
He began with his understanding of Indian history and his own history and seeing the Indians in South Africa discriminated and recognizing that there were traditions and myths and a power in those stories that ended up expelling the most powerful empire on earth or it was weapons and more and more that will be the case and certainly that will be the case if we are able if we want to move towards the sustainable development goals what we are talking about is that we have to be able to tell a story not only to the big donors or politicians but also to, for example, people here in the United States, who might feel like, look, I have my own problems, why should I care about someone on the other side of the world? progress we had, we had no idea and it's a bit surprising if you ask even very well educated people, you know what happened to the vaccines, what happened to HIV, they don't know the positive story and a bit the news is I will always focus on setbacks because that's what happened that day.
Gradual progress doesn't fit that paradigm and even the people who raise money for these causes. I have to say that sometimes even some of the material we create speaks to the piece still being one even though it has never improved, do you have any thoughts on how we get this more positive sense of progress and how we would get the word out? Well, look, you're talking to someone who's been trying to get the word out for seven years. and no one at least about 40% of the country didn't believe me until I left and then all of a sudden they believed it so with that caveat I would make a couple of observations one is right the
bill is the nature of the media and maybe just the human brain fixates on what's wrong not what's right and i'm not sure we can change that correct visual displays of a fire are much more interesting than just a building sitting there and so the fire is going to be news, the building sitting there just fine and people are walking their dogs in front of it and things that aren't going to be news, so I don't think we can necessarily count on mainstream media to spread the word.
However, this is where the power of the internet hasn't been harnessed in the way it should be, especially when we think about young people and young audiences. Malia and Sasha consume information differently than I do and I think those of us who have been involved in policy work still put out these reports with pie charts and this and that and that don't interest them but the stories and the visual representations of progress can go viral, they're hungry for it, it's just that we don't systematically think about it and so I think when the three of us' were talking a while ago, I mentioned that one of the areas that I'm deeply into interested is how do we build a service on a digital platform that people can go to find out what's going on that's driving progress on issues and then trigger them because I heard someone, I think maybe Trevor, making an important point one from I'm very interested in how online communities can move offline, how this amazing power to convene through hashtags and tw eets and this and then the other eventually leads to people getting together and talking to each other and I think we haven't fully tapped into that as a way of spreading the word about the progress that's been made.
I also think it's important for us to play some friendlies. pressure on leaders to tell good stories and to make sure that we're not so rigid in our partisanship or ideologies that we're unwilling to acknowledge and share when someone who might be of a different political persuasion has done something really good, even if it's going to against our short-term political interests. I mean, I always used to say, as big as the differences were between myself and my predecessor president, George W. Bush, that what his administration started with PEPFAR was a uniquely important achievement that we needed to stick with and build on and I didn't think that somehow Somehow I would have been drawn to say that someone from another political party did something really smart and really good and deserves credit and and I feel like these days within our political circles it's hard for people to bring themselves to do one of the things that
Bill and I had what a great privilege to do when you were at the White House late in your presidency you were spending a little casual time on a Saturday night and your daughters were coming in and out of your house Willie and Sasha and you were at our house earlier this summer and saw Rory and Phoebe, two of our three, going in and out of our house our daughter Jen is here in the front row tell me about Jen how thank you mom that's our job embarrass you that's what we do work done right there but you know Jen is your daughters age a little older but how have you and Michelle thought about talking to your kids about leading the world and take up this mantle of what is to be done in the world?
Well, what we've tried to communicate their whole lives is that each of us has responsibilities when they were little all responsibilities were small, I mean when you want to go to the bathroom and then as you get older your responsibilities grow and, but part of what I think we're trying to communicate is that being responsible is an enormous privilege, that's what marks you as a fully developed human is that you, that other people trust you, that you have influence, that you can make your mark, that if you do something right it will make other people's lives better, that the kind of values we've tried to instill in a lot of them their basic home values like kindness and thoughtfulness and empathy and hard work that are our tools through which you can shape the world around you in a way that feels good and what we've tried to encourage is that the sense that it's not someone else's work, it's your work and I think it's an epic that they have embraced now that they will choose to participate in different ways because they have different temperaments and different strengths in what I think One of the mistakes that we sometimes make is to think that there is only one way to make a difference or to be involved as you know if you're a brilliant engineer you don't have to give a speech you can create an app that enables an amplification or scaling of something that's really powerful if you're someone who likes to take care of people you don't have to go out there and lead the protest march you can mentor some kids or work at a local health clinic that's going to make a difference so there are a lot of different ways to make a contribution and we try to emphasize that for them as well and then the third thing that we try to encourage is what I mentioned in my previous comments. which is that you have to be persistent.
I always tell people that my early work as a community organizer in Chicago taught me an incredible amount, but I didn't set the world on fire. You know, I got some public parks for the communities that needed them. started an after-school programs that we helped set up a job training program for people who had been laid off from work, but those communities weren't suddenly transformed, still had big problems, but I took that experience and then I was able to build on it. and I think we often get impatient because change doesn't seem like sometimes it's not as discernible or mediate or impactful as we had imagined in our minds and we get disappointed and frustrated and by the way, that's advice to me. life and not only in social change.
I'm assuming there was occasionally a bug in the Melvyn software from time to time, you know, and how we got a patch again. This is annoying, but that was me. I'm not known for my patience
bill. Did you have one? Yeah, so this week part of the reason we're all in New York was the United Nations meeting and you know some of these global institutions were created right after World War II World Bank World Organization Health zation UNICEF have been key partners for many of these causes and yet there is definitely a cynicism about their bureaucracy, their efficiency and their ability to change, in fact very few exceptions like Global Fund and Gobby we have not had any new So over the next 10 or 20 years, do you think these global institutions in terms of reforming or creating new ones for pandemics and climate change can step up to play the role that we need them to play?
Well first let me say the bigger problems. we face no nation is going to be able to solve it on its own not even a nation as powerful as the united states of america there were times during my presidency where i was attacked for not saying we could go it alone as if that was an expression of weakness not me I believe that the United States is indeed an indispensable nation and that many of the initiatives and much of the progress that we have made could not have been made unless we funded those efforts and I am going to as an example of our handling of Ebola that in retrospect I think many historians would argue that it was one of, if not the most effective emergency public health interventions in history, we had to create the architecture and infrastructure and send our military out to create runways where the Chinese could land planes to deliver goods and we had to give guarantees to the Europeans that if they sent health workers they could feel certain I'm sure they could be evacuated if they got infected, so I'm pretty proud of what the United States can do, but if we're talking about climate change or global migration caused by drought or famine or ethnic conflict, we won't be able to solve those things by ourselves and as you directed. no, if we have oneAirborne pandemic, unlike a slow slow disease, is hard to transmit like Ebola if we haven't built some structures ahead of time to deal with these millions of people.
We could be negatively affected, so number one, you have to start with the premise and believe that multilateral institutions and efforts are important and you don't have to give up all your sovereignty or it doesn't make you any less patriotic to believe that you just have to have some common sense. and reading, so that's point number one, point number two is that there are, in fact, problems with existing multilateral institutions, not surprisingly, they were designed after World War II for the most part and couldn't have anticipated as much as what happened. There is bureaucracy, inertia and resistance to reform, so it is important that all countries and leaders are honest about the need for reform and not just think narrowly about well, I want to keep certain numbers of slots or votes or this or that at the same time. least on many of the issues where there should not be a great ideological controversy seeking to reform the Security Council that is something that goes to the central geopolitical interests and is an enormous, difficult and perhaps unattainable goal in the short term, on the other On the other hand, making sure that the WHL works well and that we have a sufficient safety trigger when a pandemic happens or something else that's achievable and shouldn't be controversial is just a matter of digging in and doing the work as far as educating girls there can be cultural resistance in some places not many people say explicitly sorry we don't want to educate our girls and women as one As a practical matter, you may see it in certain countries, but at the level of our multilateral institutions there needs to be a broad consensus and so what I hope is that we will come up with concrete plans in those areas, often with respect to the sustainable development goals. in our areas where there is a consensus on at least the goals, if not always the means, and thinking about how we can improve delivery systems, how we can improve your day-to-day operations, but ultimately the last point I would say is which requires leaders to feel that it matters and is important which in turn requires the public to think that it matters and is important because unfortunately what you find out is that most politicians and elected leaders are followers and not leaders they are called leaders. rs, but most of the time they follow, they see what matters to their constituents and they respond, and one of the biggest challenges we've had is, and I speak most intimately for the United States, the general public responds with enormous generosity when they see a specific story of a hungry child or someone who has been hit by a flood, but when it comes to general knowledge or interest in development finance, not only do they not know much, they often have a reaction negative because your point of view is that we have many needs here at home, why do we send money abroad? sadly it's one of the only areas where Democrats and Republicans agree that this in America is about foreign aid and has repeatedly seen public opinion polls in which people vastly overestimate what we spend on foreign aid.
They think 25 percent of the federal budget goes to foreign aid and helps non-people in their cities and communities. So is the need for public education in the ways that we talk about that encourage them to tell a good story that points out that this is really a negotiation that connects what we do with respect to development with security not in a perfect correlation but to say that look if you have failed states then usually some of that will spill over onto us if you have economies that are failing ironically if you are concerned about immigration and mass migration its really a good investment making countries work so people can eat because then It's not like they'd be dying to hop on a boat and float across an ocean if the place they were born in and love country was running, so think about the ways we describe this as both an economic and an environmental imperative. imperative a security imperative the more we can sway public opinion the more you'll see politicians respond that's not sure it means there isn't a huge role for NGO philanthropy to play, etc. orth but and I have said this to both
Melinda even with the incredible generosity and enormous skill with which they have deployed their resources over the years in the US the budgets are still so much bigger and you know what there's this notion that you can sometimes I hear from young people that you can work in government and politics because it's too messy or corrupt or you know I just don't like those Friends or whatever, sorry guys that's not it will work.
If they want to do what they're saying, they'll have to combine effective philanthropy and technical know-how, and know how to smart policy engineering with getting their hands on it. dirty trying to change public opinion and trying to ensure that the people who are in charge of the levers of power respond and that will take work and i guarantee you will be disappointed on some points but what a glorious thing it is to be responsible for saving the world that it is your responsibility that arm thank you