A TIME 100 Symposium

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Tim Sloan / AFP / Getty

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

JOHNSON: Good afternoon, everyone, I'm Jim Johnson, the Chairman of the Kennedy Center. I just wanted to extend a warm welcome to everyone this afternoon. Congratulations to the people participating in this TIME Symposium. TIME, CBS and PBS are all important Kennedy Center partners. To the distinguished panelists who you're going to see in just a moment; Charlie ROSE:, the Moderator; Walter ISAACSON:, Dan RATHER:, Condoleezza Rice, Doris KEARNS-GOODWIN: , Mario Cuomo, Irving Kristol; it's hard to imagine a better group who could be here.

In looking at some of the things that President Kennedy said about the 20th Century I was struck by a speech that he made about 35 years ago. The late President then marveled at how much had already been achieved in the 20th Century. He said that no one could fully grasp just how far and how fast we had come in this country. But he tried to illustrate it in a very interesting way. President Kennedy suggested that in our minds we try to condense the last 50,000 years of humankind's recorded history into just 50 years. Stated in those terms, we know almost nothing about the first 40 years except that at the end of them the most advanced man had learned to use animal skins to cover himself up and keep warm. Then about 10 years ago under this standard, man emerged from caves to construct other kinds of shelter. Only five years ago man learned to write and use a cart with wheels. The printing press by this standard came last year. Two months ago, electric lights, telephones, automobiles and airplanes became available, last month we developed penicillin, television and nuclear power. At that point, that was as far as the President could take it. That way, using the same standard, that two and a half weeks ago, we had landed a man on the moon just as President Kennedy said we would. We are delighted that you have chosen the Kennedy Center for this venue this afternoon.

On one brief programming note, we have something here at the Kennedy Center known as the Millennium Stage. At 6 o'clock this afternoon and every other afternoon of the year we have a free performance. So, when you finish your reception following the symposium we invite you to join us. This afternoon will be the Dick Morgan Jazz Quartet.

Thank you, everyone, for being here, and thank you to all the participants in the show. Thanks.


ROSE: Thank you very much for coming. This is going to be a wonderful, interesting afternoon for all of us who are participating in this: for the students who are behind me and for you. TIME Magazine, as Jim said, is choosing the most important and influential person of the 20th Century. They, in combination with CBS News are conducting a series of symposiums. Just think in your own mind what wonderful conversations you can have about people who have had an impact on our time and how do you measure that kind of impact. We have assembled here two hosts and other people to join us in the conversation this afternoon. This program will be appearing as part of my regular series on PBS sometime in April and we'll have an opportunity to engage this issue. Later, you're see subjects of builders and titans and artists and entertainers and scientists and thinkers but today our subject: Leaders and Revolutionaries: Who Has Been the Most Important Person in the 20th Century? Let me introduce to you the people who will be joining me on the panel. First, my friend, Dan RATHER:, from CBS News, the anchor and managing editor.


RATHER: Thank you, thank you very much.

ROSE: Co-host for this from TIME Magazine, Former Rhodes Scholar and Managing Editor, Walter ISAACSON:.


ROSE: A person who combines political experience working at the National Security Council for President Reagan, with academic experience and expertise in national security matters, the Provost of Stanford University Condoleezza Rice.

RICE: Thank you.

ROSE: A Pulitzer Prize winner, someone who has known Presidents and written about them, Doris Kearns Goodwin .


ROSE: When she doesn't write about Presidents, she writes about baseball players and baseball teams. Also here, one of the founders of the Neo-Conservative Movement, someone who has been involved in the conversation about America and its political future, he is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Mr. Irving Kristol.

KRISTOL: Thank you [unintelligible].

ROSE: Finally, finally from New York, a man you may know something about and he is a governor, he is an essayist, he is an orator and he comes to us as a Presidential scholar of sorts, himself, Mario Cuomo from New York.


CUOMO: [unintelligible].

ROSE: That's our panel. We will engage them on these subjects and after taking a little 10-second break we'll start the television program as it will appear on PBS and I will open it from this place. Let resonate what you hear these people saying. We'll have some breaks here. We'll first talk about American political figures. We will talk about, in the second segment about people from overseas, whether it's Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Joseph Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, and then later we'll talk with the students and give them an opportunity to ask some questions that are here behind me and to my side. And finally we'll talk in the last segment, we'll talk about some of these other areas, scientists and thinkers. Who is to say that the most important person is not as significant as some of the more important events of our time, whether it's development of the computer, the development of the airplane, those kinds of things. So, that's some of what we'll talk about this afternoon and I look forward to this evening as I know all the panelists do. So, when they give me the signal from somewhere, the great voice in the sky, we'll start this program. But let resonate what we say here in terms of the students, questions you would like to ask. I can't hear you in my ear so you may have to turn the volume up. Okay. Okay. We thank you for coming on such a beautiful day, too. And also those of you who are basketball fans coming when the Knicks are playing the Miami Heat in New York and the Bulls are in Los Angeles playing the Lakers. So — plus, in Pebble Beach they're playing the AT & T tournament with Tom Watson doing well.

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