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The Schmooze

That Time Carly Fiorina Quoted Amos Oz

Image by Karen Leon

As Carly Fiorina checkmated Donald Trump’s “you have a pretty face” gaffe/apology and challenged the 11-strong GOP “boys’ club” presidential candidate lineup at the September 16 presidential Olympiad at the Ronald Reagan Memorial Library, I recalled Fiorina’s address at the October 1, 2002 Appeal of Conscience Foundation Awards Dinner at which she was an honoree.

Held at New York’s Marriot Marquis Hotel with the participation of the U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard and the West Point Military Academy Band and a dais full of dignitaries and religious leaders including [then] Federal Reserve System trustee Paul Volcker, Henry Kissinger, Viqar Hamdani, then representative of the World Muslim League of the U.N., Governor George Pataki and foundation founder Rabbi Arthur Schneier — also honored was Canada’s Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

Carly Fiorina, [then] Hewlett-Packard CEO, opened her acceptance address with a nod to Israel’s literary lion Amos Oz.

“When he received an honorary award from Tel Aviv University, Amos Oz once remarked that ‘there is no way I can speak for anyone — on a lucky night I sometimes manage to represent myself… I admire Mr. Oz’s restraint. Even so…I want to thank you for this wonderful award and for the honor of joining such an illustrious company of past recipients… A month ago I was just about to step on a plane to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa… For the first time in the history of these summits, corporate leaders were invited to have a seat at the table… For most of the week we heard — until we could hardly bear to hear again—the statistics that define the challenge of the developing world today…”

Using “a village” as a metaphor for the world, she spoke of the then disparity that, “As Dr. Kissinger and others have so eloquently written, it’s not hard to imagine how that kind of disparity would eventually lead to something like the events of September 11th… With global reach comes global responsibility… That’s what traditional philanthropy has been about… If we have learned anything [it is] that traditional philanthropy is no longer enough…”

During my chat with Fiorina, we were interrupted by Mr. Volcker who escorted her to join dignitaries for an ensemble photo op.

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