Community & Government

Managing Crises

Secretary Rice dives deep into the problem-solving behind tackling Africa’s HIV/AIDS pandemic. She also shares a personal story that exemplifies the importance of approaching crises with your instincts and personal belief system in mind.

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Topics include: Case Study: President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief * Following Your Instincts


[STRING MUSIC] - When you're thinking about a crisis, I think we often think about something that's very immediate. So a war breaks out in Lebanon. That's a crisis. The question is, how quickly can I get that war stopped on terms that are acceptable to my allies? We also sometimes think about a crisis, a refugee crisis. That's a little longer and unfolding. Maybe it's been unfolding for a while, but we've got to get it resolved because it is devastating to the borders of a Jordan, for instance, if it's a Syrian refugee crisis. But there are also crises that are of longer duration where you're reaching a point of no return, and that's how I would describe the pandemic around HIV/AIDS that was starting to ravage Africa. It had been going on for some time before we came into office in 2001, but millions of people were dying. And it was also-- one thing that's probably not understood. It was starting to spread as people would come back, for instance, from Africa or peacekeeping forces, and it was starting to spread, also, to other parts of the world. But the real concern was were about to lose an entire generation on the continent of Africa, and so that's a crisis that was slower in the making. But it was reaching a point where it looked like a point of no return, and I think that's when you recognize that even in a slow, unfolding crisis, you've got to do something. [PENSIVE MUSIC] The story of the president's emergency plan for AIDS relief, PEPFAR, is an interesting story of a president who, even before he was president, when he was governor of Texas, decided that something had to be done about the scourge of AIDS. Sometimes, people ask, where do presidents get these ideas? Is it a bunch of staff members kind of bringing up ideas and options to him? Very often, it is, but in this case, the president who was very close to faith-based communities in Texas and around, this had become a real issue for them, just the human toll of AIDS and the belief that something needed to be done. You had orphans which were, in many ways, the saddest of cases, little children just left behind by parents who had died of AIDS. When we first came in, the president wanted to do something about it, but there was no effective way to treat the disease, let alone cure it. Everyone knew there was no cure for it, and there was no vaccine for it. But there was also no way to treat it, so one of the problems was, if people got AIDS, it was a death sentence. And in 2001, the science didn't appear to have gone very far, but the president kept talking to Francis Collins at the NIH and Tony Fauci at NIH and saying, is there anything? Is there anything? And about 2002, beginning of 2003, there was this antiretroviral that was starting to emerge, which was a cocktail of different kinds of drugs that could be used to at least prolong life with AIDS. And the problem was that it was a regimen that was very demanding. You had to come to the clini...

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Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice stood toe to toe with dictators, counseled presidents, and managed to find common ground on issues that still polarize us today. Sit down with two legendary secretaries of state as they reveal how to build bridges, hold boundaries, and apply history’s lessons to everyday challenges. The class presents an intimate portrait of the late Dr. Albright’s legacy for the next generation.

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Madeleine Albright & Condoleezza Rice

Former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice teach you to settle differences in everyday life like a diplomat.

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