Remarks at the 2008 Glamour Women of the Year AwardSecretary Condoleezza Rice
New York City
November 10, 2008
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Thank you very much. Well, what a night. I first want to thank Barbara Walters. She is an inspiration to us all. I’ve watched her bring very, very strong people to tears in her interviews, and that’s something that I much admire. (Laughter.)
I want to thank Glamour Magazine. I’ve read Glamour Magazine since I was 12, and I continue to do so. It’s a great way for young women to come to terms with who they are and to look to a vision of who they might be, and so it’s a great magazine and it’s only gotten better over the years. It’s 70 years old; I’m sure it’s going to have another 70 great years. So thank you, Glamour.
I also want to say how honored I am to be in the company of the women with whom I’m receiving this award today. I know some of them, and many of them I’m looking forward to meeting. Tyra Banks, are you out there? Boy, am I looking forward to meeting you. (Laughter.)
I want to say, too, to the young women in the balcony that there is something that unites the women that are being honored tonight. Yes, some of it is courage. Yes, some of it is the willingness to do things that no one expected. Yes, it’s hard work and perseverance. But it’s also that every one of us has found a passion, and the most important thing that you can do in life is to find a passion.
Now, as Barbara noted, my passion was supposed to be concert piano. I could read music before I could read. My grandmother was a piano teacher, and at age three she taught me to read music. And frankly, I thought that when I was standing here at Carnegie Hall, it would be to play the piano. (Laughter.)
But that clearly wasn’t going to work out, and one day I walked into a classroom in international politics, having decided that a music major was not for me. And it was taught by a Soviet specialist, a man named Josef Korbel, who, ironically, was Madeleine Albright’s father. And Dr. Korbel opened a world to me about the Soviet Union and Russia, and thank goodness my parents never asked why a nice little girl from Birmingham, Alabama might want to know anything about the Soviet Union.
And so I would say to the young women in the balcony and to all of you, when you find your passion, you’ll realize that you didn’t find it; it found you. You’ll realize that it might have been something that nobody planned for you, that didn’t even seem particularly right for you, but it’s what you loved. And then you can go on to try to make a difference in the world on the basis of that passion.
And I’ve been so lucky. I’ve had the chance to represent this great country around the world, and I love this country. I love it because of its sense of possibility. I love it because nothing is ever impossible. I love it because we overcome old wounds, as we did on Tuesday, to elect the first African American president of the United States. And for a little girl from Birmingham, that’s a special thing.
And I love this country, too, because it tries to give back. And you’ll find that when you’re out there and you think you’re inspiring people, that really they’re inspiring you. And so whatever I might have been able to do for the women in that camp in Darfur, they did much, much more for me, because for the rest of my life, I will know what true courage is.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
Released on November 12, 2008