Purchased a FORA.tv video on another website? Login here with the temporary account credentials included in your receipt.
Sign up today to receive our weekly newsletter and special announcements.
HOST: I am delighted to welcome everyone to the Open Society Foundation, and particularly to have George Soros, Aryeh Neier and Gara LaMarche. George and Aryeh need no introduction, and neither does Gara really. He's the perfect moderator for today, as he spent long years here as head of U.S. Programs and is now head of the Atlantic Philanthropies. I'd just like to ask you when we have a question time, please say your name, speak into the microphone, and obviously you're being filmed so you're giving consent. Thanks so much. Looking forward to this evening. MR. LaMARCHE: Thank you. All right, I'll turn this up. I'm technologically challenged here. Red is on. I just came from doing a panel where green was on, so a little counterintuitive. That was with Jeff Raikes, who's the CEO of the Gates Foundation an hour ago, a different kind of conversation. Usually when you're asked to do a panel, they like to prepare you a lot. The people involved would you like to know every question you're going to ask, so they can be fully prepared for it. I, however, having worked with Aryeh Neier for 30-some years on and off, and with George Soros for 15 years, know that the two of them, and adding me into the mix, are the least-prepared people in the world, or like to be prepared people. When I was running the U.S. Programs, George would make a habit of not, either not reading the Board book or not, or withholding his views of what was in the Board book, until just at the very time of the meeting. It made it a bit of a high wire act, but it was very good training for this very unprepared conversation among family really, for the most part, as I look out in the room. It's very nice to be back at the Open Society Institute. We are organizing this discussion around the book that's out there on the table. I have happened to have read it in the last couple of days, so I could do my homework. I've also, by the way, read Masquerade, and also retaken another look at Taking Liberties, all published -- no, no. Two of them published by Public Affairs. This will be the jumping off point for the conversation. Having some familiarity with a lot of the work, having worked here for 11 years, I think it's a terrific job of really conveying to people some of the essence of what the Open Society philanthropy has been about. Chuck Sudetic, who wrote the book, is back there. You might want to give a wave. Stand up, stand up. (Applause.) MR. LaMARCHE: And Ari Korpivaara and Laura Silber, I'm told, were also very instrumental in the effort and they're both here with us tonight, as you know. So thanks to everybody involved. There's really nothing like this book around about philanthropy that I'm aware of. It has an enormous kind of candor to it, particularly with George's introductory remarks to it, and also throughout the book, as you'll see when you read it, his comments are threaded through Chuck's writing. At the end, Aryeh has an afterword, which is also typically interesting and provocative. So I don't want to rehearse what's in the book. It covers a lot of the great work at the Foundation in closed societies, for instance, like Burma and places like Haiti. It covers the economic development work. It covers the U.S. work in Baltimore and in New Orleans. It covers TB, the efforts to deal with TB, the efforts to deal with Roma, kind of a greatest hits, in a way of, the Open Society Foundations. So what I wanted to start off with is the only kind of personal question that I will ask, because I know both of these people well enough to know that they're not enormously fond of talking about themselves or psychologizing. But you can't help but be struck when you look at this, and you read George's kind of semi-autobiographical introduction, and you go back and look at Aryeh's book. Both these men were born between 1930 and 1937 in Europe, where their lives were really shaped in a lot of ways. George tells, has told on many occasions at the beginning of this book that his formative experiences with the year of the German occupation, that actually, I think I have you right on this, it was the happiest year of your life, you know, the risk -- MR. SOROS: The most interesting. MR. LaMARCHE: Most interesting, okay. Perhaps I misquoted. It was the most interesting, and it had a lot to do with the formation of his attitudes, Aryeh born in Berlin in 1937, you know, and forced to be apart from his family for a while in the kindergarten. Lived in a hostel in England, where it is said he didn't talk for a year, as a way of kind of controlling his environment. People who know him would find that probably a little hard to cotton to, but it was true. So what I wanted to start out by saying is talking about because this is really about a partnership, in many ways, of two individuals who have come together over the last almost 20 years to build this incredible network, I want to talk a little bit about the personal roots to start. So George, can you elaborate on that? If it wasn't the happiest time of your life, it was the most stimulating, in a lot of ways, and how did that find its way into your approach to your philanthropy? MR. SOROS: You mean the `44? MR. LaMARCHE: `44, yes. MR. SOROS: Well, you know, in retrospect, it really formed my character. I had a very close relationship with my father, and I absorbed all his experiences during that time, and it was a very, very tough period. And yet we came out, I would say, not just surviving, but in a way we were victorious, because we actually managed to have a lot of other people as well. So facing harsh reality, recognizing it, but not thinking there's a challenge but as an opportunity, I think that's really what I learned most of all. There's also risk-taking, because not to take risks would have been much more dangerous than to take risks, and at the same time, to take, if you take too much risk and you get caught, that can also be fatal. So how basically to push to the limit of the possible, but not to go over the limit. I think that is something else that came in very useful in my other career, namely the money-making side. MR. LaMARCHE: With the money, right. MR. SOROS: So -- MR. LaMARCHE: It reminds, Aryeh, of that line you're always quoting from the Chinese publication, about going up to the limit but not knowing where it is, but not exceeding it. And for you, I mean you know, it's been clear to me for a while, ever since I kind of learned from your biography, that your passion, if you want to put it that way, about confinement and incarceration, seem to have some origins in the early -- MR. NEIER: It did. In general, I have no recollection of my time in Germany. I was an infant in Germany and my first recollection is when I got to England, and in general in England, I had a rather pleasant childhood. The British, I think, were never better than during the war years. They were extremely generous. We moved in as a family, first into the home of a bicycle repairman, and then into the home of an insurance agent, and the idea that people would open their homes to refugees was very widely accepted in an English Midlands town. But the one sort of unhappy part of that period was the year that I spent in a hostel for refugee children, and I attribute my hatred of confinement to that year. Wherever it has been possible, I have tried to focus work on incarceration. I established a prison project at the ACLU. I established a prison project at Human Rights Watch. When we launched the U.S. Programs, I think I told you that the issue that I particularly wanted to focus on was the high level of incarceration in the United States, and launching a program on prisons may even have preceded your arrival. MR. LaMARCHE: Yes, I did. I can claim that part. MR. NEIER: At the U.S. Programs. So it did leave that imprint on me, and every other form of incarceration. Incarceration in, you know, mental hospitals and institutions for the developmentally disabled and juvenile institutions, and even, you know, nursing homes for the elderly. I have always been concerned with that, with confinement as an issue. MR. LaMARCHE: George, you know, I always used to tell the story, when we started the Emma Lazarus Fund, which was a fund we set up in 1996, when Clinton signed the welfare bill and cut off benefits for illegal immigrants. George was outraged about it, and/or very bothered by it, and said to Aryeh and me one day after another meeting, I'd like to spend $50 million to deal with this issue. I just was freshly-minted in the U.S. Programs, and that seemed like a lot of money to me at the time, and it was a lot of money within 30 days, and it's still a lot of money, yes. (Laughter.) MR. LaMARCHE: It's like a billion here, a billion there, and sort of begins to -- you begin to get the real money. So I, you know, what I thought of that is I really learned what OSI was about, when it was then called OSI. I can't get in the habit of the OSF yet, you know, in that period, because George had an idea, you know, and wanted to move on it. Said to me start this thing. We hired a staff and set it up within a month of the idea, and we were getting money out. We got $50 million out. But I always said that the roots of that were you had experiences as a young man. It's written about a little bit in the book, in England. You were working as a railroad porter, right. The story, it's not in the book, and I wonder now if I've been telling the wrong story all these years. Didn't you, you broke your leg or you broke your leg, and didn't the National Health Service assist you? MR. SOROS: Yes, yes, assisted me very well. It was the heyday of the National Health Service, and I got excellent care. Altogether, my time in England was a difficult time, and the English were much less open. MR. NEIER: Now the war years brought out the best. MR. SOROS: Yes. MR. NEIER: I think it subsided after -- (Simultaneous speaking; laughter.) MR. LaMARCHE: You were there in the 1950's, is it? MR. SOROS: No, in the late 40's. MR. LaMARCHE: In the late 40's. MR. SOROS: Not when -- MR. NEIER: Which is when I left. (Laughter.) MR. SOROS: It was 1947, and I was there until 1956. MR. LaMARCHE: Right, right, right. But you also had some experiences that were mixed, if I recall, with the Jewish Board of Philanthropy or whatever it was, trying to get money out of these agencies. MR. SOROS: Yes, yes. MR. LaMARCHE: Yes. MR. SOROS: That was one of my first experiences with philanthropy. So I learned something from it. MR. LaMARCHE: What did you learn? MR. SOROS: Well, I mean that basically, you know, you want money out -- the applicants want money out of the foundations, and the foundations want to hear what they want to hear. The applicants tell the foundations what the foundation wants to hear, and then they do what they want to do. MR. LaMARCHE: True enough. So how in your -- (Laughter.) MR. LaMARCHE: So how in your philanthropy over the years have you dealt with that or tried to counter that, you know, because there's always been a bit of a strain of skepticism, in my view, having worked here, you know, about that dynamic, and about staff, you know, having their own agenda and so on. So what are some of the mechanisms or approaches you've taken to try to get around that, if you have? MR. SOROS: Well, one is in the selection of the people or the projects, that instead of fitting people into a slot that you design for them, find people who are entrepreneurial, who are driven, who want to accomplish something. If you agree with their aims, let them do it, meet some conditions. But basically, empower people, rather than to put them into boxes. MR. LaMARCHE: Right. Aryeh, when you first came here, I remember talking to you, because we had worked together at Human Rights Watch, and you said that about every day, maybe it was every week -- MR. NEIER: Every day. MR. LaMARCHE: Every day, you discovered for maybe about a year a different thing that the foundation was doing that you didn't know about. MR. NEIER: Yes. MR. LaMARCHE: And George has famously said, over the years, that a lot of the foundation work he wasn't familiar with, but he's maybe not always but almost always pleased to find out when he actually learns about it. There were things that were being done in his name. He's happy, actually, to find out that there were things that other people take the initiative on. So this book is the first relatively comprehensive account of the philanthropy, written with stories actually about the work. The heroes in the book, by and large, are not staff people. They're really the people on the ground in the countries in which the foundation is engaged, as indeed it should be. Did you -- I'll ask you both the same question. Did you learn anything from the book? Did it help you? Did it cause you to think at all differently about or see the foundation from a bit of distance and think of it differently? MR. NEIER: I think most of the time, I see the various activities that we engage in, in terms of the larger policy goals that we're trying to promote, and the book deals with those, but it tries to deal with them by indicating the impact on particular individuals. Most of the time, I'm not in contact with the people whose lives are actually affected by the programs that we conduct. It's always when I do have a chance to get some contact with the people who are the beneficiaries or intended beneficiaries of the programs, I always learn something in the process. The same is true with respect to the book. MR. LaMARCHE: Do you get much of that any more George? Do you enjoy it and do you get much opportunity to get out and meet the people who were being helped by the foundation? MR. SOROS: Yes. I must say that, especially in the earlier days when I actually did a lot more traveling and visiting of foundations, and visiting and finding out what they were doing, was a very positive reinforcement, because I basically saw the problems. When things came to me, they required some decision, something was not going right. To actually see what the various foundations were doing was, I would say, the main reward for, psychic reward for the effort. In most cases, I was rather impressed, because a lot of things were happening that I didn't know about, and they were very worthwhile. MR. LaMARCHE: One of the things that struck me in here was, that I hadn't thought about in a while, was that you don't, you traditionally have really not been that comfortable being thanked, you know, as the benefactor and so on. But you've kind of learned to accept being thanked more. Why? It's important to the thanker. MR. SOROS: Yes, and I still don't feel terribly comfortable with it. But I accept it. So, and it is meant to be done, to be thanked. So it isn't really somehow necessary to be thanked. MR. LaMARCHE: Right, but there's a value for the thanker maybe, you know, that -- the person who's doing the thanking. There's a value for them. MR. SOROS: Yes. That's why I accept it, right. MR. LaMARCHE: Right. So I want to talk a little bit about where ideas in the foundation network come from, because one of the interesting threads that runs through this is where, how does it start? You know, what is, how do you get involved in Burma? How do you get involved with the resource curse issues, which is another great chapter in the book. And you, I think George at some point, make the statement or the argument that increasingly, and more and more, you believe the best ideas and initiatives are coming not from the two of you, or even from the staff generally, but from whatever, the Network of Networks, as you want to call it. Has that been kind of an evolution over the years, would you say, or was it always that way? MR. SOROS: Well, it definitely is an evolution, because we didn't have a Network of Networks. MR. LaMARCHE: True enough, yes. MR. SOROS: So it has to be. MR. NEIER: But the resource curse illustrates that, because you know, I encountered a small British organization called Global Witness -- MR. LaMARCHE: Global Witness. MR. NEIER: And they were the sort of pioneers in that, and I was very impressed with them, and George was going to be in London, and I suggested that he should meet them when he was in London. He was comparably impressed with the organization, and provided them with a great deal more funding than they had had previously. Then the entire effort to deal with the resource curse, in a way, grew out of that organization. We said to that organization that one of the regions where we are active as a foundation is in the Caspian countries, which have resources, and they said to us Look, we've got our hands full dealing with the African countries we're working on and Cambodia. We can't take on any more. So we created our own project, a Caspian Revenue Watch, and that evolved into an independent organization, the Revenue Watch Institute, which we incubated and then have launched on its own, and today there is an entire movement globally, to try to deal with the corruption that is associated with the extraction of natural resources, the fact that countries which have huge natural resources, have impoverished populations. The money doesn't go to benefit them. So starting with a little organization in London, we were able to build upon that, and create a significant movement. The initial idea came from outside the foundation. MR. NEIER: Right. MR. LaMARCHE: And as I've said, the Emma Lazarus Fund seemed to me, maybe there was more to it that I didn't know at the time, to spring from your reading the newspaper and becoming outraged. You know, the Roma work, as I understand it, started with the Hungary Foundation in 1984 or so, and that kind of led the way. MR. SOROS: Yes. It was definitely the Hungarian Foundation that made it one of their main objectives, to deal with this, ethnic exclusion and discrimination. But I then absorbed it very much in let's say the decade of Roma inclusion, was my idea. Altogether, the format of supporting organizations which either we created or are already in existence, and giving them additional support that will empower them and enable them to take a major step forward. Yet they have their own organization, their own life, their own energy so you don't have to infuse them with energy from the foundation, is my favorite approach. It works with various degrees of success. Some efforts keep on needing a lot of support, and eventually sometimes we have to abandon them, because they just don't have the ability to generate their own momentum. Others, they take off, and let's say the Institute for New Economic Thinking. It just sort of ran away, whereas the European Council on Foreign Relations requires a lot of additional support. MR. LaMARCHE: Uh-huh, and some things, I mean it's not just failure or the failure to get traction that would cause you to move out of something, for instance, the Project on Death in America, which was one of the first things you established in the United States. We ran, Kathy will remember, nine years or so, and then we ended support for it, having -- not because we hadn't succeeded, but you felt we had enough impact at least there, and then you moved it global. MR. SOROS: But if you take that project, which was a very good one, I mean I had a vague idea of, that this is an issue that deserves to be tackled. But how to tackle it was entirely the work of the Board that Kathy was the leading force. But the Board was a board of experts who basically designed the strategy. And in the national foundations also, it was the national foundations boards that had their own agenda. It was, I think, a very fruitful interaction, because we didn't take it purely, you know, and just sign the check. There was an interaction, a critical, sort of critical thinking. But the energy was the people involved. MR. LaMARCHE: Right, yes. I mean it strikes me that the foundation network, and maybe this has changed in the four or so years I've been away, but I don't think very much, is probably the -- uses fewer consultants and strategic planners than any global institution of its size. Maybe none, I don't know. MR. NEIER: I have a phobia about some of this. MR. LaMARCHE: I know you do. You're not so wild about it. You're not so wild about either, George. So it occurs to me that the way in which, it's an interesting modus operandi, and I was part of it when I was here, is to identify an issue without necessarily knowing what the approach would be, to bring together people. We did it, I think that's how PDIA started. I think it was how the U.S. Program started, right, with the philosopher's, so-called philosopher's meeting. You like that way of operating, right? You get a bunch of people in a room, they help, and, they will then guide the work. That's been a big light motif, it seems to me. MR. SOROS: Yes. I mean I think that identifying the opportunities is something that came from us, and in a way, that was the case with Human Rights Watch, where I had my apprenticeship, when Aryeh was running it. There was also, Bob Bernstein had some really interesting ideas and Aryeh knew the field and he saw when it is possible to move in. I've noticed other people, I mean for instance, I greatly admire Kofi Annan, and who now intervenes in some conflicts. But when to intervene and when, actually when not to intervene, is a matter of judgment that he exercises. I admire his capacity to judge when he can do it, and when he can do what. MR. LaMARCHE: Which is also an important set of skills for somebody in philanthropy, right, when you can make an impact, when it's right to intervene. MR. SOROS: Right. MR. LaMARCHE: I want to -- I mean I was going to talk about this before, but I'm going to come back to it since you've mentioned it. So you met, I think, through someone's suggestion to you that you go to the Wednesday morning meetings. MR. NEIER: No, it wasn't quite that. MR. LaMARCHE: All right, okay. Like a couple, you know, the different creation story. MR. NEIER: After I had left the ACLU, I was briefly at NYU and directed a Humanity Center there, and organized conversations with writers about writing in politics, with Joseph Brodsky, with Cheslov Milos, and an associate of George's attended some of those conversations, and suggested that I should meet George. The next thing I knew, I was invited to dinner at George's apartment on Central Park West. At a certain point, he indicated the willingness to support some of the things that I wanted to do. I had met a woman who now works for the foundation, has worked for the foundation a long time. MR. LaMARCHE: Annette. MR. NEIER: Annette Laborey. Annette had a program in which she brought independent thinkers from Eastern Europe to Western European universities. I think between 1974 and 1989, she brought 3,000 people to western universities in that way. She had approached me about doing something of the same sort in the United States. So I wanted to do that, and George made a grant to NYU initially, to support bringing some people to the U.S. You know, some of the same people continued to be associated with the foundation. So that Jnos Kis is a political scientist at the Central European University, and we brought him to New York University at that time. MR. SOROS: You were head of, already, running Human Rights. MR. NEIER: Well, I had founded Human Rights Watch with Bob Bernstein, but I was still at NYU and didn't actually move over full-time running that -- MR. SOROS: So the Wednesday morning meetings started afterwards. MR. NEIER: No. The Wednesday morning meetings started at the very beginning in `78. I think you first took part in `79. But I was still at NYU, and then actually moved over to direct Human Rights Watch a little later. MR. SOROS: I think that the East European dissidents at NYU came in the early 80's, `80 or `81. MR. NEIER: It was 1980, starting in the 1980. MR. LaMARCHE: Check this out for the paperback edition of the book, okay. They'll settle that. MR. NEIER: Starting in 1980. MR. LaMARCHE: Right. So George, I grew, cut my own teeth on the Wednesday morning meetings, you know, when I worked for Human Rights Watch for six years where, as I recall, there was not even breakfast served, as I remember. MR. NEIER: Coffee. MR. LaMARCHE: Coffee, right, and there would be a couple of instances of the work. Somebody was just back from a mission some place, some interesting visitor would come. Maybe some policy discussions, because in those days, the governance wasn't really that well developed, I don't think, I mean, as it became. MR. NEIER: George took part a little earlier than that, when there was just a handful of us sitting around the table, sort of trying to figure out what do you do about this, what is going on in the Soviet Union. MR. LaMARCHE: Right. MR. NEIER: You know, the issue is how does a handful of people sitting around the table actually have an impact on what the Soviet Union does, and it's not an easy thing to answer. MR. LaMARCHE: It isn't, but actually it's found its way into a lot of the kind of culture of the Open Society Foundations. I wanted to ask you, George, about, to open up a discussion about failure. You know, it's commonplace to say that, you know, if you're not taking -- if you don't fail, you're not taking enough risk. I was reminded in reading the book that a couple of your early philanthropic ventures, before the real establishment, were not that successful, in your view, right? South Africa, China, and why did you stay at it? MR. SOROS: Well actually, the real failure in South Africa was to stop it, I think, in retrospect. But I came to -- I was using the state facilities to try to change the state, by giving scholarships to black African students, to go to Capetown University in particular. I thought, you know, this is a very good way to do it. But then I came to feel that instead of me using them, that somehow the system was so well-established and these were really almost like decorative elements to cover up the really nasty stuff that was going on, that I was being used as a cover-up in a way, for what was -- for the apartheid system. So I didn't, I felt that I was not making any impact on the system. That was a bad judgment, because actually the system collapsed afterwards. It would have been very good to have not just one cohort of 80 students, but a larger number. MR. LaMARCHE: Right. I mean there isn't much in the book, in my reading of it, that touches on failure. I mean one of the closest that you come to it, apart from the early experiences, is your skepticism over the years about being able to effect things in Burma, which seems to be, in your view, very painful. MR. SOROS: That is, of course, very -- it remains very frustrating. MR. LaMARCHE: Right. MR. SOROS: There seems to be a certain tipping point, beyond which the countries, when they move beyond it, there is very little you can do from the outside, because they no longer are tied into the international community. So that's one of the big problems also with imposing sanctions. So you push them into isolation, and they just get worse and worse, and you have no positive effect. MR. LaMARCHE: The funny thing, it seems to me, though, one of the -- in a perverse kind of way, the happiest I recall you being when I was running the U.S. programs is when we failed at gun control. Mike Massing is sitting there, you know. We had a five-year collaborative, you know, for gun violence with Irene Diamond. It's the mothers, you know. It seemed promising at one point and winds change. MR. SOROS: I'm glad you reminded me, because people do ask me, you know, what are your failures, and gun control was a failure. MR. LaMARCHE: Well yes. We had Mike. We said to you no strings attached, right. Just go off and look at it, if it makes us look bad, whatever. He came up with a great report, and you were very pleased, in a way, to get it. Most people would be afraid to show their boss something like that. So why, tell me what you learned from the failure, or why you thought it did fail? MR. SOROS: Well actually, I've forgotten. I have a great capacity to forget failure; otherwise, I wouldn't have survived in this. (Laughter.) MR. LaMARCHE: Do you have any failures to just share here, Aryeh, or is it -- MR. NEIER: Look, one is always failing, because one engages in programs to try to remedy deep-seated problems, and you always fall short of what you want to achieve. So let's take the Roma programs, as an example. On the one hand, they are an enormous success. They're an enormous success because we have, I think, helped to create an educated stratum of Roma, who will, in the future, provide leadership for the Roma community and their capacity to get beyond the terrible situation that prevails at present is going to depend upon leadership from within the Roma community itself. On the other hand, have we mitigated the level of discrimination against Roma? Not at all, and if you see what happened relatively recently in France and in Italy, you see that it's not only a problem of the former Communist countries, but the western countries very readily replicate the discrimination that exists in the East European countries. So it's a success and a failure. MR. SOROS: No, Roma is very interesting, because the problem is growing faster than our efforts to deal with it. So actually, our efforts I consider basically very successful, because I think we also hit on the eventual solution, by educating a Roma elite that continued to be Roma. Because what happens is that you have the stereotype, and then a lot of Roma make their way in the world, and they escape the negative stereotype by ceasing to be Roma. It's relatively easy, because once you don't fit the stereotype, you're not looked -- There may be some suspicion that oh, this guy may be a Roma. But on the whole, you are accepted. You can pass. There's a big difference with the black issue here, and when you have a group of educated Roma who can argue their own case, that breaks the stereotype. Now you have a few dozen, really, maybe some hundred or more. But it's a tiny, tiny minority. MR. NEIER: But more on the way. MR. SOROS: Huh? MR. NEIER: But more on the way. MR. SOROS: More on the way. But if you had a few thousand, the situation would already be different. So you can see that that really works, and when you meet with them, it works both ways, because these young Roma who have a positive experience, have a tremendous reinforcement for their engagement, because it makes them feel awfully good to have overcome and to actually succeed. So it really works, and it works on a tiny, tiny scale. It needs to be on a much larger scale. It will take 20 years. But you can see that it will eventually break the stereotype, and at the same time, the Roma actually growing much more rapidly, you know, demographically than the rest of the population. So the size of the problem and also the public attitude is actually getting worse. You go to a country like Hungary, you actually have some positive examples that you can rely on. But in Slovakia, there aren't any. MR. LaMARCHE: Well, yes. There's a lot of commonality in the way you both have approached it and talked about it. But something you said made me want to go on to another theme that I wanted to ask about, which is perseverance, you know, and stick-to-itiveness, whatever you want to call it. The chapter on Baltimore is interesting, because I was in at the creation of that, and Diana Morris was here, some place in the back of the room, who has been the leader of the Baltimore effort on a staff basis since 1997 and 1998. You say in the book that you were, in the early years, a little -- you went into Baltimore because you wanted to make an impact in an American city, by addressing, at the same time, a variety of urban problems, you know. The drug issue, criminal justice, schools, and do it in a kind of an interdependent way, drawing on not only the fact that Baltimore had a lot of problems, but also tremendous civil society assets, some political leadership, some non-profit, university, philanthropic. You said that in the early years, you were a little concerned about how that was going. But now, as time has gone by, you're more pleased with it, probably because you have other donors involved, and you see it as a lesson of the value of perseverance. MR. SOROS: Yes, absolutely. It is an interesting parallel, now that you bring it up, between South Africa and Baltimore. Because in South Africa, I was discouraged and stopped it. In the Baltimore, I had exactly the same feeling as I had in South Africa, that the foundation was part of the landscape, that here is Baltimore sinking, and it's not sinking as fast as it would if you didn't have the foundation and the other foundations trying to stop it from sinking. But it's still sinking. So you are not really changing direction. You're not having an impact. That's the way I felt about it for, I would say, probably the first eight to ten years. Then it eventually built up, and I think one could see the change. You could say that the efforts, particularly on the drug issue, stopped Baltimore from really going into a tailspin. But you can now really see some positive results, and getting the core funding, based on the results, has raised the impact of the Baltimore effort even further. So we now want to make that as a core element, and have a city-based strategy going forward. That's the result of 20 years. MR. LaMARCHE: Fourteen, fifteen years. Well, it's a good example of how something takes time. But the other thing that it illustrates to me is something that I've always felt was quite distinctive about the foundation, compared to any other global foundation, and that is its devolutionary character, you know, that it is -- you always thought Baltimore could not be having the success it has, both politically and also in fund-raising, if it wasn't seen, to some great extent, as an indigenous institution, right. It's not a George Soros thing that was plopped on, and maybe that's the way people might have thought about it at the beginning. But we always had a local board, we always had local staff, and that's been an earmark of almost all your philanthropy. MR. SOROS: Yes, yes. MR. LaMARCHE: Something you feel strongly about? MR. SOROS: Yes, and that is in a way true of the Network of Networks, because they have their own energy and their own sense of mission, and therefore I find that a much more rewarding approach. MR. LaMARCHE: Yes, and in looking at the stories in the book and looking at the way the foundations evolved over the years, it struck me that in most area, you have actually had staying power. I always thought of you as somebody who was the man of the revolutionary moment, you know, that you come in, you see an opportunity, you know. You want to move and then you kind of pull out, a little bit akin to your investment life. MR. SOROS: Right. MR. LaMARCHE: But actually in the evidence, at least tell me if you think I'm right. In the evidence of the foundation, that's not the way the foundation has generally operated. MR. NEIER: I think the key to it is when there is a feeling, by George in particular, that there are people in the program or people in the national foundation, who deserve to be backed. I mean one of the most difficult and hopeless places has been Haiti, and yet I think we always felt that we had leadership of the foundation in Haiti, that was outstanding, that we not only couldn't abandon them, but we needed to continue to support them. Because if anything could happen, it was because of the personal qualities and the commitments of those people. Where one does not have the feeling that there are people of that sort, who are devoting themselves to the foundation in a particular place, it is -- we're more inclined to pull away from the place. MR. SOROS: Sure, and also it's Eastern Europe, countries that are now members of the European Union. What role the foundations have to play there is a big question mark. The Balkans, also where we've been engaged for 20 years. There, of course, we know that there's still a serious problem. So we are maintaining our presence. But it's where the, the known term -- in the case of Haiti, the problem is getting, still getting bigger. So it's clear that as long as you've got people worth supporting, you've got to keep on supporting them. It's when things work out, that's when the question is whether you let go, or if you don't let go, how do you change your approach, to move with the times. You take, for instance, Hungary, where we started. The heroic period of the foundation was during the Communist times, and it was so heroic that afterwards, the foundation never found its footing in the new era. It just couldn't move with it, and of course we're also stuck with the leadership, and that also made it difficult to renew yourself. I would say it's more difficult to renew yourself in an improving situation. MR. NEIER: It's that some of the best foundations have been in the most hopeless places. MR. SOROS: Right. MR. LaMARCHE: Right. I see a theme emerging here, which is probably not a tag line for the annual report. OSF, you know, slowing the rate of decline in Open Societies all over the world. (Laughter.) MR. LaMARCHE: How do you know -- here's a question that's a very philanthropoid kind of question. I just came from interviewing Jeff Raikes at Gates. We talked about this. He had rattled off all kinds of ways. They assess the metrics and evaluation and benchmarks, all that kind of stuff. This is not a foundation that has been typically associated with that. So maybe it's changed. But if it hasn't, how do you -- MR. NEIER: No, it hasn't changed. (Laughter.) MR. LaMARCHE: Okay. So how do you determine yourselves, you know, how you're doing? I mean you've talked about investment in leadership, which is an interesting theme, you know. You pick people you have confidence in, you ride out the bad times. But how do you go about it? How do you know whetherto make a judgment about to double-down or to pull back? MR. NEIER: Well, look. You make a certain number of judgments yourself. One does do evaluations, but at least my bias in evaluations is you find one smart person, who knows a particular field or a particular place very well, and you ask that person to do an evaluation. The metrics, I think, are usually irrelevant. It's usually a matter of, you know, repeating what you're being told by the people you're evaluating, and I don't think that's of any value. But having some critical judgment is always important. I do think that we have different ways of exercising criminal judgment. You know, we have people who are responsible for what happens in particular territories, and then we have people who are responsible for what happens in particular thematic areas. The people who work on issues thematically or programmatically, tell you about what's going on their territory, and the people who work in the territory tell you about the program, or tell you about the thematic work. MR. LaMARCHE: But taken together, that gives you a full picture. MR. NEIER: They're constantly sort of cross-evaluating each other. MR. LaMARCHE: Really? So you're suggesting that's a way of kind of -- MR. NEIER: So that tends to produce a sort of constant flow of independent information about what is taking place -- MR. SOROS: But I think this is where, this is where the Network of Networks approach is superior, because there, you're not depending only on self-evaluation, because that institution, be it the Human Rights Watch or Global Witness, it has to get support from other sources. So you can see it, whether it gathers support, or loses support. If it loses support, that's a very or that's -- it can't get support elsewhere. MR. LaMARCHE: You think that market works perfect? MR. SOROS: Huh? MR. LaMARCHE: You think that market works perfectly, the funding portion -- MR. SOROS: No, no, no. But at least it's a market, whereas when you are entirely dependent on your own, you know, things that Aryeh mentioned, information from the network, etcetera, it's much more iffy. You have a somewhat independent, not independent, but -- and not objectives, but still, an external evaluation. MR. LaMARCHE: So we -- in a minute, I'm going to go out into the room and get questions from all of you, which I'll -- and I had a couple more questions, one of which I may come back to at the end, if it doesn't emerge from the audience, which it may very well. But the one question I wanted to ask before going out had to do with advocacy, the balance, if you will, between funding program services, and funding advocacy to change policy. It seems to me, George, that over the years, your thinking about that evolved. But still you have, I don't want to put words in your mouth, but a kind of a sense that advocacy's important, but it ought to be in some proportion to the rest of the stuff you do. Can you talk about how the evolution of your thinking about advocacy and where it is now? MR. SOROS: I don't think that my opinion changed all that much actually. I mean in fact it's a very, very old joke that I use, you know, the Soviet goose liver pate. So that comes from 20 years ago. So it hasn't really changed. I think that if you help people, then spending a large amount of people is justified, because basically the money, let's say it's scholarships. The more scholarships you give, the more you benefit, the larger number of people you benefit. If you want to change the educational system, it can either work or not work. So it's a hit or miss thing, and it isn't really that dependent on the amount of money you spend, but on the ideas that you bring to it. So for those two reasons, I like to keep the amount of monies that you actually spend on systemic change. Yet I think that the goal of the foundation is actually social change, not just helping individual people. So our objective as a foundation is change. MR. LaMARCHE: Do you have -- MR. NEIER: No, look. I think it depends on the issue that you're dealing with. Scholarships are a good example, because you are building individual capacity when you provide scholarships. There are certain circumstances where there really isn't much else you can do to bring about change. If you deal with a, let's say a country like Turkmenistan, there's nothing we can do in terms of advocacy, that is going to have a significant impact on a closed society of that sort. But if we can provide a certain number of scholarships for students from Turkmenistan, then over a period of time, there is a possibility that those people will bring about a change in that kind of a closed society, and will open it. With respect to Burma, it's immensely important to provide scholarships, because if there is ever any change, you need educated people who are going to be able to make a freer Burma something of a success. Then there are other issues that you can't deal with on that basis, that you can only deal with through advocacy. So on some areas, I think the focus has to be on advocacy, and in some other areas, it has to be on capacity-building. It really is a matter of look at each issue individually, and deciding what is the way to bring about the change that you want. MR. SOROS: You know, when it comes to systemic change, we are basically, since we are always moving into areas where there's problem areas, we are always amateurs when we approach it. But actually as we get deeper and deeper into it, I think I feel more the need for better theoretical understanding. That is the origin of this School of Public Policy, which is a big thing. But I think we should not go there. MR. LaMARCHE: Yes, I know. But it's clear in your support for INED and the Public Policy school, and other things of that nature, that the thinking part of it and the policy development part of it is increasingly quite important. Okay, so Joseph, here's a mic. Is there anybody else on the other side of the room, are you the only one? Okay. So raise your hands. Joseph will bring you the mic. Speak into the mic so I can be recorded. I know many of you but not all of you, so why don't you just say who you are when you speak. Try to keep it short, and then we'll -- Rob, is he the one? Oh. Oh, Michael. MR. MASSING: Hi, Michael Massing. So I wanted to pick up on what you were just talking about. I was up at the Columbia Business School today. I happened to be using the cafeteria there, and they have a board that says all the partners of the business school. I was amazed to see that with Citigroup and Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, there was the Open Society Institute having given 50,000 or more dollars to the Columbia Business School. Based on what you said, I don't expect either of you to know what that money is actually for. MR. NEIER: No, I think I do. (Laughter.) MR. NEIER: I think I do. There was a project that one faculty member at the Columbia Business School, Eli Noam, had and it was a media-connected project, and our media program supported his research project. MR. LaMARCHE: Okay. That's pretty good. You can play Stump Aryeh and George. Anybody else? MR. MASSING: I did not plant that question. MR. LaMARCHE: There was more to that question, I suppose, right. MR. MASSING: So it just struck me, though, that you know, the grant from OSI was dwarfed by all these banks and corporations that are giving money to a place like the Columbia Business School. You know, there's a big debate going on at Columbia now, because Inside Job, that documentary by Charles Ferguson, which talked about money going to professors and the conflicts of interest that this caused and the buying of influence. So it just seems to me that it's not the money, as you say George, but it seems to me that the war of ideas has to some degree, like liberal left, progressive, whatever, has lost a lot, has fallen behind and only belatedly sort of catching up with this idea that, you know, it's the funding. If you want to create systemic change, my question basically is has the liberal left philanthropic side somehow been late to coming to a realization about the importance of fighting the war of ideas, and finding ways. If not, it can't match the money of Goldman Sachs et al., but finding ways to leverage programs, like I guess the Institute for New Economic Thinking, or do we need more of that type of thing? MR. SOROS: No. I think that is certainly one of the directions in which we want to move, where we have basically pretty rigorously stayed away from fostering academic research and most other foundations spend a fair amount of money on that. We have really made a point of not, and I think that's a point that we are just about to change, because there is, when I look at America, I see basically corporate capture, not only of the regulators, not only of the state, but very much of academia as well. I think to bring about change, we've probably got to go back to academia and start there, and particularly I'm very disturbed about the quality of political discourse. You know, there is a general decline, I think, in critical thinking, particularly in the field of politics. To change it, I think one probably has to start actually at the more elite level than just trying to set up a Fox News of the left. MR. LaMARCHE: Who to hear first? Okay, so Rob, I guess is next, yes. ROB: Thanks, Gara. A lot of the countries where the foundations are operating are operating in somewhat of a philanthropic desert. There just aren't a lot of institutions that are supporting the kind of work that you support. I'm wondering whether you consider part of your mission as a sort of philanthropic role model, and do you feel that you've had any success in that regard, either in influencing individuals or influencing institutions, to either take on some of the same substantive work, to take on the risk-taking approach or other features which would distinguish your philanthropy. MR. SOROS: Well, insofar as we have had some success, it has been by not trying. I think it's the right way to go about it. So I didn't even, let's say, join this Gates-Buffet effort to get people to commit to philanthropy, because I think it's not the amount of money that you give, but how you -- what you give it to that matters. I think that has to be an individual decision. So I've really made no effort to persuade others. I'm doing that now, more on particular objectives which we support. In other words, supporting the Network of Networks in their fund-raising efforts, or having a challenge grant to Human Rights Watch. So we are doing it on a case-by-case basis. But sort of promoting philanthropy as a pursuit, since given my jaundiced view of philanthropy, that would be in a way contradictory. MR. NEIER: Yes, I've done a little more than that, but not with a great deal of success. ROB: Yes. Well Aryeh, I mean I was hesitant to give you a platform for your jaundiced view of philanthropy. MR. NEIER: But Gara knows that I'm a bad citizen of the foundation world. I've never attended a meeting of the Council on Foundations, as an example. MR. LaMARCHE: But the role model. I mean I think George is absolutely right. The best way to be a role model is not to try to be a role model. But if I look at, for instance, the criminal justice issues of the United States, where OSI was there kind of early and consistently, I see a widening circle of people doing that. There's a way in which the foundation makes some issues safer for us. MR. NEIER: And there we've tried to enlist other donors, and but I think with a lot less success than I would like. MR. LaMARCHE: Uh-huh, but some. Okay, more questions. Hands. It's the most attentive audience I've ever been part of. You sir, and then Martha, did you have your hand up? AUDIENCE: Hello. I wanted to follow up on what you were speaking about, about the kind of leadership that emerges from the networks, Network of Networks, and how you select leaders, people on the ground who provide a kind of leadership. Because I was thinking also, both of you are also playing a leadership role as well. So there's this balance between leadership coming from bottom up versus top down, and I was wondering what you feel the role is of a leader in your position, you know, at that level, because I know that you're taking risks. You're also expressing vision, which is part of leadership. I'm just interested in the interplay between leadership at your level and also the leadership that is coming from people on the ground and from the Network of Networks. I forgot to say, my name is Gerard Sanahee (ph). MR. LaMARCHE: Hi. MR. SOROS: Well, I think where we see what you call leadership, in other words, people with a vision, with an agenda and an ability to deliver on that agenda, we like to empower them. That has been, I would say, the most rewarding, fruitful way to get our, to advance our -- MR. NEIER: I would something in terms of George's role on that. There was a period in which he traveled constantly to the National Foundations, and a big part of his effort there, and I'm going to use his word, was to bond with the members of the board of the foundation. He wanted to get to know the individual members of the board, and feel that he had direct relationship to them, and that they had that kind of relationship to him. It was quite surprising to me, when I first came to the foundations, that if somebody turned up in New York and that person said he was a board member of the Latvia Foundation, George would always be ready to see that person. He might not be available to see people with, you know, quite significant titles and what-not. But if somebody was a board member of a foundation, that always took priority over everything else on his agenda. MR. SOROS: Yes, that's true, but as we grew bigger, this kind of -- MR. NEIER: Well, but that was an important part of the early development of the foundations network. MR. SOROS: No, but we have got Annette traveling around and doing that. MR. NEIER: Well, in effect, you've delegated your role to her, as the person who does that with the foundations today. MR. SOROS: Yes. Good point. MR. LaMARCHE: Martha. MARTHA: Hi. I have a question. Not to be a downer, but we are facing the issues of various transitions here, and to get back to the point of the value of failure, how do you, both of you, foresee conveying your sensitivity to the value of failure, to the next people who are going to be making decisions at the level that you've had, and the sensitivities that you've had to it. It's a very difficult thing. I know you want to empower the global board. You want to empower various other parts, obviously, of the network. That's -- a lot of our -- as staff, a lot of our appreciation of your forgiveness and your flexibility on failure, comes from a very direct understanding of the two of you. So I wonder how that will continue later. MR. SOROS: I wish I knew. (Laughter.) MR. SOROS: But actually, this is what we are really working on, because we had a very productive, I would say -- I wouldn't say adversarial, but divergent points of view, and we exploited the divergencies. In other words, we didn't, we never covered them over, to my knowledge. MR. LaMARCHE: Between you and Aryeh? MR. SOROS: Yes. I'm talking about our sort of duo, and that's had a certain example for the foundations generally. So when they saw us engaging in substantive discussion, and it was not hierarchical, because I would say that Aryeh, since he was more engaged and know in more about the foundation, generally when he took a position, he actually carried that position, I would say, on balance. I don't know. Well, he had to put up with a lot of initiatives that were thrown at him, that where he could have done without. That we know. But then how to deal with it. So what to deal with, I would say that I had the upper hand, and how to deal with it, Aryeh had the upper hand. MR. LaMARCHE: That's a very elegant way of putting it. You know, when I was here, I was keenly aware of the dynamic that George was just talking about, which is that, you know, George is, if you know him, you know, you could disagree with him, you could argue with him and so on. But many people, for many people that's a little counterintuitive, you know, going to see George, you know. I've accompanied many powerful people who think he's like Dorothy and Cowardly Lion going to see the Wizard of Oz. They kind of lose their voice, you know. So Aryeh, in the foundation network, has modeled, you know, a challenge really. I don't know if you were consciously doing that or it's just your nature. But I think it had a great value for the rest of the foundation. MR. NEIER: Probably my nature. MR. SOROS: So anyway, to try to answer the question -- MR. LaMARCHE: His nature. Nature or nurture, nature. MR. NEIER: Yes. MR. LaMARCHE: Yes. MR. SOROS: So to answer your question, certainly my major concern is how to try to perpetuate that culture in the foundation. We are in the process of transition. So in the U.S. foundation, I have now empowered the board. Before they were an advisory board advising me, and I was making the decisions. Now they make the decisions and I am the advisor. I hope that by putting them in my position, we will develop a similar kind of culture, and we just embarked on this, and the initial move is very, very promising. So it's a new life in the U.S. foundation. We are in the process of doing the same in the international foundation. But there, it's -- it hasn't quite advanced to the same point. But we are in the process of doing that, and I see basically two issues. How to make the most of my remaining years, and then how to prepare the foundation for my departure. So Aryeh will be the first one to go, but -- MR. LaMARCHE: He's on an announced schedule. He's got an announced schedule. Yours, a little less. MR. SOROS: Right. MR. NEIER: I mean retiring. So yes, not retirement. MR. LaMARCHE: I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Stepping down from your post as the president of the Open Society Foundations, of course. The foundation is the biggest funder of aging in the world. We don't believe in retirement. MR. SOROS: I would go one step further, because in selecting a successor to Aryeh, I personally am looking for someone who not take Aryeh's place, but would take partly my place and partly Aryeh's place, because I also have to prepare for my departure, and therefore I don't think that to look for a continuation of this duo is the right way to go. MR. LaMARCHE: Yes. It's probably not possible, but it's quite a further out moment in time. Yes. MS. WARDEN: Hi. Menke Warden from Human Rights Watch. A lot of the countries and regions and that you've worked on over the decades have gone through cyclical changes, repression and then gradual reform. But of all of the countries, China, perhaps, presents one of the greatest challenges today. A question both for you and for Aryeh, who has done so much to try to engage the people of China, as opposed to the government of China. What do you see, you know, we're in probably the worst cycle of repression since 1989. How do you propose that the human rights community and the Open Society community cope with the challenges on the horizon? MR. SOROS: Well, you are right in saying that this is probably the most important issue for the future of mankind actually, because China is the rising power, and how it rises and what kind of power it's going to be will have a determining influence on history. So what one can do about it and what we can do about it, we have somewhat different views between Aryeh and me. This is one of the dynamic duo subjects that are ongoing, because I have a very peculiar position in China, and it's a really strange one, because the security organs are extremely suspicious and hostile. At the same time, there's a great deal of popular interest and support, and it has to do more, I would say, with my money-making career than with my philanthropic career. But it's something to work on, and I am eager to get the ideas of Open Society more generally recognized and discussed in China, and actually I'm very reluctant now, actually, to go to China personally. I'm also very worried about the foundation's activities, because I consider ourselves a Typhoid Mary, that anything we touch is infected, because the security organizations are extremely suspicious and if our name comes in, it's earmarked. MS. WARDEN: Maybe a Chinese translation of your book? MR. SOROS: That I'm very keen on, and -- MR. LaMARCHE: Good idea. MR. SOROS: And I consider that very important. MR. LaMARCHE: So Aryeh, you have one minute for rebuttal. (Laughter.) MR. NEIER: Obviously, we have to work with great care in China, because it's immensely important that we not harm the people whose work we support. But I think we are able to do so. I think we've sort of figured that out, and there are particular segments, I think, of the population in China, where we can play an especially important role. I would put first on that list Chinese journalists. I think there is no professional group in China that works harder, to try to expand the kinds of issues that can be discussed and the ways in which issues can be discussed. Most journalists avoid going head on against the state apparatus, the Propaganda Ministry. But they try to find ways to nevertheless, to act as real professionals. I think that's also true of a significant number of lawyers in China, and therefore helping those journalists and helping those lawyers in various ways, seems to me immensely important. The area in which the development of civil society has been greatest in China, and has had a certain level of legitimacy is the development of an environmental movement. Although we are not generally supporters of the environmental movement, we do find ways to be supportive in China. There is a freedom of information regulation in China, which is very extensively used by environmentalists, to get local hearings on industrial projects and urban expansion projects and so forth, which have an impact on the environment. And assisting in that process, seems to me, immensely important. It's very difficult, and we have to essentially stay away from direct support for political dissent in China. If you look at our funding, none of it is in that area. We would only do harm to political dissenters if we tried to be their supporters. But we still can find significant ways to expand access to information, to expand debate, to develop a culture of rights. There is enormous interest in those things in China. So I think that there is an immense amount for us to do. We can't do more. I don't think we can do significantly more than we now do, because if we did too much, the government would be increasingly suspicious of us, increasingly hostile to us. So it has, we have to maintain a low profile in China, but nevertheless, I think there is a great deal that we can accomplish. MR. SOROS: Now at the same time, I think that Human Rights Watch is doing some very valuable and very important work. But we basically want to be only friends, only constructive, and for instance, I think that the legal empowerment of the poor, which is something that we are trying to develop into a movement, could make headway in China. MR. NEIER: No, and we do -- we are involved in projects that support the training of legal aid lawyers and backup centers for legal aid lawyers and things of that sort. MR. SOROS: Well, I think that legal empowerment of the poor could only make headway if you don't support it, if somebody else supports it. MR. NEIER: No, we're the main supporters, in fact. MR. LaMARCHE: Okay. This is a little bit of dj vu for me. We have time for a couple more questions, and maybe a couple more answers. MR. HUBBLE: Thank you. I'm Steve Hubble. One of the resonant images from your preface comes from Hungary in 1984, where you made the decision to fund certain kinds of groups, farmers, cooperatives and zither clubs you mentioned specifically. What attracted you to that opportunity was the chance to use the resources of the state against the state, and you mentioned it in the same context vis--vis South Africa. You recognized also that there might be dissidents within the Culture Ministry who would act as barriers of the Open Society message. So there's almost a martial arts quality to this, of using the resources of the enemy against the enemy. In addition to that, you noticed that there was a force multiplier of sorts in the differential exchange rates. You were able to get more bang for the buck, because money could be apportioned at a higher than the official exchange rate. So my question is to what extent are these ideas as martial arts quality and leverage, also this force multiplier concept, to what extent do they still animate your philanthropy, and if they do, can you point to specific instances? I suppose in response to Michael Massing's question, is there a way to use the immense resources of the corporate world, to try to break its stranglehold over the political discourse in this country? MR. SOROS: To the extent that it exists, it would play a role. It doesn't, those opportunities currently are few and far between. But what do you mean by this corporate? That I don't get, the last piece. MR. HUBBLE: That was mainly an afterthought. I just wondered if there, if you saw opportunities there. I certainly don't see them, but you're the visionary, so I thought you might actually have some ideas along those lines. The point you make about the perfect storm that was present in Hungary in 1984, and maybe in South Africa in the years that followed, maybe those ingredients just aren't present in the countries where we work. But I wondered if you thought, in all the episodes that Chuck recounts in the book, if there are other instances where those -- where that property of using resources against the opponent, and finding opportunities to multiple those resources, really stood out for you? MR. SOROS: No. I think the only, as I say, the opportunities that existed then were unique to that period. What we do have now, actually, is more convening power. So we can do more in the way of challenge grants, where we put up -- and that's really thanks to the Network of Networks, where we put up one-third of the money, as long as there's the two-thirds. So that's a way of leverage. MR. LaMARCHE: Let's see. One more question maybe. Okay. Here's the mic. MR. SILVERADO: (name) Silverado. What effect have foundation work or philanthropy had in the recent changes we see in the Middle East, for instance, and if it has had any, which I'm sure it has, are you content with the effect it has had? MR. SOROS: What, what? MR. LaMARCHE: What effect has foundation work had on the recent changes in the Middle East? Or another way of adding to that would be what is the opportunities posed, you know, by the -- MR. NEIER: I would say that a crucial component of the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, has been their indigenous character. That is, it is immensely important, in those countries, that these were not inspired by foreign funding or foreign institutions. To the degree that they had been inspired in that way, they would have been discrediting with respect to those revolutions. On the other hand, once those revolutions have taken place, I think there is immense interest in benefiting from experience elsewhere. So that in Tunisia and Egypt, there is great interest in experience elsewhere in transitional justice, in developing or writing new press laws or communications laws, in drafting new constitutions, in drafting new criminal statutes and becoming a party to international treaties. So there is great interest in transitions that took place in Latin America, in Eastern Europe and in South Africa. Those are the places to which they're really looking, and the role of foundations, and the role we're trying to play, is bringing that experience to Egypt, to Tunisia, because there is immense value in benefiting from that experience. MR. LaMARCHE: George, do you want to say anything about this subject before we close? MR. SOROS: No. I think this is fine. MR. LaMARCHE: Deferential conclusion. So we're just about at the time we were going to end, and you've been an enormously attentive audience. There's some wine and cheese and the usual things, so that people can continue the conversation afterwards. I wanted to say, I was thinking about, you know, how a lot of theme here, you know, has been about this extraordinary partnership and this dynamic duo, as George would put it, which is not coming to an end yet, but will come to an end at some point framing, you know, something like, you know, 19 years, I think, almost 20 years at the foundation. I was trying to think of, you know, metaphors or parallels, Nixon and Kissinger, you know, Pope Julius II and Michelangelo. I wasn't going to say who is who. I mean I think that's not a territory in which I would care to stray. But you know, having worked here for quite a long time, I think that what makes this place distinctive and both of these men in their ways have contributed greatly to it and set the tone, is that there is at the core of this foundation, almost uniquely among foundations, a robust, intellectual life, and an attitude toward critical thinking and true striving toward what one can never achieve, which is Open Society. That is what, I think, there's a palpable anxiety about the future here, about how that can be continued in the absence of this partnership. We will hope, of course, that it will continue. But I wanted to close just with a couple of lines, actually what I think are the very last words in the book, from Aryeh's after word, where he says George Soros worries, of course, that the spirit of innovation, which he has brought to his Open Society Foundation and everything else he has done, will decline as inevitable transitions of leadership take place. He's concerned that the Open Society Foundations will become like other philanthropic institutions, which sometimes seem preoccupied with self-perpetuation and less inclined to take risks. I am less worried about this than George Soros, another point of fertile disagreement, because I think that his influence on the thinking and behavior of many young people in the key positions in the Open Society Foundations, is more profound than he realizes. I expect them to ensure that the institution will retain the distinctive characteristics with which he has endowed it for a long time to come. Thank you, George. Thank you, Aryeh. Thank everybody. (Applause.) (Whereupon, the panel discussion was adjourned.)