Friday, October 19, 2007
Good Afternoon, Mr President
One of the things I love about this project is how much of a effect synchronicity and going with the flow has. One recent example of this is my friend Ken and I were chatting about someone he had been trying to contact at the Hoover Institute about his project. "Rumsfeld?" I joked, but it turned out to be Larry Diamond. Ten minutes later, I saw a poster advertising an event.
Twenty minutes later, we were listening to the former President of Peru (Not Fujimori, Alejandro Toledo) in conversation with Larry Diamond from the Hoover Institute, who's written quite a few books about democracy. President Toledo was a great speaker, and it turned out, had several degrees from Stanford. He spoke about helping the poor during his term, and the importance of grassroots, on-the-ground projects. In particular, he highlighted a program that he was particularly proud to improve the lives of the poorest of the poor, and talked about how to balance the short term and long term societal improvements.
It was difficult to get much of the details in only a few minutes of Q&A, but the principle was the key take-away for me. That to improve a society, you must improve education, healthcare, and basic living conditions for everyone, starting from the bottom up.