Hillary delivered her Luskin Lecture at UCLA this afternoon and was awarded the UCLA Medal, their highest honor. The front of the medal has the UCLA seal with a banner of the school's motto: "Let there be light." The back has a picture of Royce Hall, the venue where this event took place, as presenter, university Chancellor and CEO Gene Block explained.
began her address with an anecdote telling the audience that when she
and Bill Clinton were younger they were in LA and visited Campbell's
bookstore where they purchased a few botanical prints which have made
the rounds with them and now are in their Chappaqua home. She said
every time she looks at them she thinks of UCLA.
Moving on, and
before getting to the main messages of her lecture, she took a few
moments to speak about the situation in Ukraine and clarify previous
remarks and actions. Voicing support for President Obama's position,
she stated unequivocally that Putin has violated international law.
She called on all parties to work toward reconciliation and support for
all Ukrainian citizens.
Calling Putin a "tough guy with thin skin"
whose vision of a greater Russia is a re-Sovietized Russia, she said he
is squandering Russia's potential. She encouraged her fellow Americans
to recognize the complexity of the situation and support diplomacy as
we all seek a path toward deescalation.
Then she launched into her
lecture proper which concerned the dilemma of ensuring college
graduates find jobs after graduation. Saying that one-third in the 16-24
age group is out of both work and school she told the audience that a
generation is being deprived of rights and opportunities that earlier
generations took for granted.
Recounting her personal experiences
with her first job at 13 which, she said, gave her a sense of
responsibility and moving on to her law school job with the Children's
Defense Fund, she stressed the personal skills that develop from a
first paid job. While internships can be valuable, she stated that
unpaid internships need to give way to on-the-job training and that
industries need to move interns into positions of paid employment.
some of her experiences as secretary of state, she told her audience
that in countries where young people cannot find employment the
economies also suffer, but she also stressed that government alone
cannot solve this problem and explained how the Clinton Foundation is
working on programs that bring young people into the work force. She
also pointed out the importance of training people for the jobs that are
actually there and cited a Clinton Global Initiative effort that aims
to draw talent into the burgeoning healthcare industry.
for workforce training and cooperation, she reiterated her support for
compromise and an end to policy-making in evidence-free zones. She closed
her prepared remarks with a call for her audience to bring the light
from UCLA with them when they graduate.
The Q&A session began
with more questions about the Ukraine situation. Specifically the
question was whether leaders who do not stand up to Putin will face the
same kind of disapproval as those who did not stand up to Hitler.
Hillary said there is not one right way to respond. Clarifying her
remarks from yesterday regarding Germany's 1938 claims of protecting
German minorities outside its borders, she stated that she was not
making a comparison between Hitler and Putin but rather adding
She went to to specify that when the USSR dissolved
there was a commitment to leave European borders alone, and that while
there was an agreement to maintain the Black Sea Fleet in place, it was
clear that the location was within Ukrainian borders. The commitment,
she went on, was violated with Russia's 2008 invasion of Georgia where
Russian-seized territories have not been relinquished. She called
Germany key in resolving the crisis due to its fuel dependence on Russia
and the path delicate.
Asked about the effectiveness of her 2009
"reset" with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, she specifed that
there were clear objectives, accomplishing the New START Treaty and
achieving rights of transit that were indeed met by that reset and that
progress made with Medvedev was primarily with regard to those goals.
then turned to elections - presidential elections particularly - and
the likelihood of a woman president. Hillary pointed out that many
countries have preceded the U.S. down this path but also pointed out
that the hardest, highest glass ceiling is somewhat easier to crack in
parliamentary democracies where the head of state is not the head of
government and allowed that the diminishing of resistance to the idea of
a woman president is a sign of progress.
A follow-up question
addressed the nomination process. Hillary said the hybrid process works
differently for different people and did not predict any changes there.
the issue of the Affordable Care Act, she took a two-pronged approach
saying people need to appreciate what has been accomplished and that
perhaps things need to be better explained citing parents' ability to
keep adult children on their plans to age 26, emphasis on preventive
care, ending preexisting condition discrimination, a new transparency on
disparities in cost for services and medications, and the inclusiveness
of Medicaid expansion where it has been implemented. Challenges to
ACA, she said were ideological, political, and commercial.
response to a question about her evolution on marriage equality she gave
credit to Chelsea saying her activism was greatly responsible for
enlightening her view but did remind her audience that very early in her
tenure as secretary of state she extended spousal benefits to partners
of Foreign Service officers (we should not forget that, either). She
told the audience that much of the world is far behind the U.S and
Europe on this issue. Many world leaders deny that there are any LGBT
people in their countries and gay people are persecuted in many nations.
final question was what can liberal arts graduates do to change the
world. Hillary encourage them to pursue exposure to all that is
available to them, believe that they can effect change, and, as her hero
Eleanor Roosevelt said, "grow skin like a rhinoceros."
advised them to take criticism seriously but not personally and to
attend to the source. She told the women that there is still a double
standard that will manifest itself in comments about appearance. She
advised them to learn how they want to present themselves and to be
Closing with advice from her own mom (one of my
favorite people), she quoted Dorothy Howell Rodham telling her that you
can be a bit walk-on in someone else's play or you can be a star in your
own. Great advice for young people!