Yesterday my hero, Ambassador Andrew Young, and the school named after him, the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, hosted a conversation with World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz. When, towards the end of the program (which was a fantastic and thoughtful discussion about Africa, the reality there, and the future ahead of it), a couple individuals cited Mr. Wolfowitz’s past involvement in U.S. defense planning (Iraq), he did not duck the question; he gave a short and I believe reasonably compelling response.
In short he said, (1) "I am no longer an employee of the Administration, but I am no longer a private citizen either. I now work for the World Bank, and 150 nations that employ me want to insure that I am focused on their issues, which is principally addressing poverty in the world," and most importantly, today, (2) "I have met with 11 African Heads of State over the past year, while visiting Africa, and while there will be a time and a place to have a discussion around Iraq, these leaders made it clear that this was not their agenda or interest. Their primary interest was poverty, and what I and the World Bank were going to do about it."
Ambassador Young also had something to say, noting that "while they did not agree in the past on things such as the case and rational for war in Iraq, they are in agreement on what needs to be done in Africa, and what we can do now, about solving problems there; and that that should be the focus of this discussion – results in Africa, for Africa and for the world." I agree with him 100%. And this is why someone leaned over to me during the event and said of Young, "that is why Andrew Young is the Crown Prince of Atlanta.." Well said. Over mess, not in it.
Onward, with HOPE
John Hope Bryant