6:09 People are still coming in here at the JFK Forum at the Kennedy School of Government. We are all eagerly awaiting President Drew Faust’s address. We are getting started.
6:11 Professor Herman Leonard is introducing himself, he will be moderating tonight’s event. He is a professor of crisis management. He states that the crisis Laurence Golborne dealt with a “complex crisis. There are so many negative examples of crisis, especially in mining.” It is good to finally have a “positive one.”
6:13 Professor Leonard is discussing President Faust’s commitment to international awareness and how she spend time in South America during Spring Break last year, including Chile.
6:14 President Faust is discussing how two former countryman of Minister Golborne have spoken at the Kennedy School, a former and current President. She is speaking of her time in Latin America and what she learned from the mining crisis in Chile. “Our distinguished guest here has a lot to share about the power of hope and teamwork.” The ten week ordeal “lead to approval ratings that no politicians has ever dreamed of having.” ”I had the great privilege of spending time with him in Chile, including the dramatic moment when the capsule came up not empty, but with a note inside. I knew from that moment that he must come to Harvard to share his story and his decisions during that time.” He has a “desire to understand the people he serves… to put himself in their capsule…It is that quality that has made him such a beloved public servant.”
6:18 Minister Golborne finally stands up on the podium to speak. He begins by saying “I will talk about public policy, leadership, and public crisis.” He has a slide show accompanying his discussion on what a crisis is “when rules fail.”
6:22 “Crisis and government are a potential mismatch.” “This is when leadership plays a complementary role. They have to take responsibility, choose actions, and try to end the crisis.” He is giving the example of the US financial crisis to illustrate what he means when he is discussing a crisis and how to respond. The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster is proves that it is difficult to assemble a team to deal with such a crisis.
6:25 “Then you have to implement the solutions, this is when leadership plays a role. How can make society part of the solution.” As Minister, we have to deal with political factors in terms of taxing mining companies.”
6:27 “After the earthquake in 2010, we now have 100% connectivity.” “I had to deal with the natural gas crisis when we had to raise the tax. Things get tough.” He shows a slide of a public official being mobbed. Someone, he states, who got a bottle to the neck after the photo was taken.
6:28 A clip is being shown with headlines and pictures of Chile during the crisis. The somber music reflects the look of horror on the faces of the people.
6:30 August 5,2010 was when the event took place, “the key decision was by President Pinera [to get] the whole government involved voluntarily. In this case, President Piner names Minister of Mines in charge of coordinating the rescue efforts.” ” The people (members of the miners who went to the site) have no basic place to sleep or even sanitary conditions. We needed security and public order as well as management of the media. There were a lot of rumors, no one knew anything.”
6:35 Minister Golborne is going through each team that was involved in the crisis and what their tasks were, from medical to technical to helping the families that were at the site to dealing with the media.
6:37 “We called every embassy looking for solutions.” “You cannot weight the profitability of this enterprise. You cannot.” “These teams are the real makers of this miracle.”
6:38 “We worked on rescue alternative for two weeks.” “The Ventilating shaft alternative was unsuccessful. The shaft collapsed. It was a source of frustration.” “Boreholes were the only alternative left.” “After 17 days, we had no success.”
6:42 “Every day I had to deal with people saying that we were doing the wrong thing.” He is telling a stories of some of things people were telling him to do.
6:43 “Now its a little funny, but a mentalist was telling us about a guy with broken legs at the entrance of the mine asking to be rescued.” “Those kind of things happened during those 17 days. 17 days of only frustration.” “You have to manage all kinds of pressure, this is key to any task.”
6:45 Showing emotional clip of when the first note came up stating that they were alive and that there were 33 miners.
6:46 August 22, 2010 “That frustration was finally over, thinking that these people were alive. I was prepared for everything. We had protocol for different things. We never thought that we would find them so well. We were prepared for the worst.”
6:47 “After that we saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Time was of the essence.” “We designed different ways to deal the rescue if we found them.”
6:48 There were three simultaneous drilling plans. Boreholes used as guides to amplify diameters to introduce a capsule.
6:50 “Different holes in the capsule would provide the miners with different elements.”
6:52 Clip of the first capsule going done and the first miner coming up is shown. The ordeal lasted around 69 days.
6:54 “The second happiest day of my life. After 48 hours with no sleep, we could say that we finished this job. I slept for 15 hours after.”
6:54 “Why was this mission successful?” “Team building, hard work, and motivation.” “Failure must be overcome in order to succeed this will not work out the first or the second. Constancy and optimism will always be part of a success story.” ” Complex problems have no simple formula solution. Improvis[ation] is key.”
6:56 Q & A is now starting
6:57 Question from the Kennedy School Student: As a former CEO and now a public servant, with the government considering a rise in the corporate tax, how do you balance and manage those perspectives.” ‘
6:59 “You need growth and you need money for finance. It is going to have an effect but the point is that whether or not this negative impact will be encompassed with positive issues. The proposed will have a balance between the negative and positive. It will not effect foreign investment. There is a credit for the final tax that they pay.” “It is something that can be managed, especially at the current economic moment. What is going to be key is small business. We do have to make these changes. The key question will be how we are going to spend this money properly. If that money is not spend well, all the effort you are making is not worth it.”
7:02 Student at the Kennedy school: [After] these last two years, what makes you stay in the public sector?
7:02 I’ve been asking myself that for the last two years. When President Pinera called me to be a part of his government I asked “why me?” Working in the public sector it is not something that crossed my mind. My wife was my guardian angel she said “you are always saying that someone needs to do something. Why don’t you do it? We have everything we need.” I said, ” my family has everything that they need. After those arguments, I had nothing else to say buy yes. So, I entered into the public service with that motivation. Every day I felt that I made the best decision of my life. I am overpaid for all my life for being a public servant.” “Going to more daily activities when they get a drink of water at their homes or to see a farmer telling me, “Minister, this road will allow my raspberry will come to the town not smashed or pulp[ed]. I can sell them as fruit. I can have a better life for me and my family.” “I live to be with people you are not building roads and bridges, but opportunities for people. Sometimes it is hard. You are right, sometimes it is complicated. I was in Congress last week, and you get mad” sometimes and you disappoint yourself from time to time.
7:08 Professor from Madrid is asking a question. How would you keep the morale high and how did you carry out this hard mission?
7:09 “Every day I was concerned about the morale of the people, everyone wants to cooperate. At the beginning everyone wanted to go and then go back. That is human nature. I am a positive person. Every day I thanked them, I told them it was the most important job they were doing in their lives, not digging a hole but looking for a human life.” “I had doubt in my mind. I talked to the President about it because at some point he might have had to make that decision. Fortunately, we never had to get to that moment. After two weeks, some people were disappointed. That situation became critical after thirty days. The key is realism but with a large doze of optimism.”
7:12 JFK Forum Committee question “Did you find yourself having to detach yourself from the emotions in order to deal with the task at hand, or did you let those emotions in?”
7:13 ” I am who I am. I am an emotional person. I can’t be anyone else. Every time I had important news, I told the families that I would tell them first and then the media. Many people were crying and yelling, but a group of daughters were just crying. I couldn’t continue speaking. That is going to happen. That is me. When people say that in politics you have to have hard skin, then I don’t want to be a politician.”
7:16 Did you at any point think that people in the media or the internet world were helping [you] at a distance?”
7:18 “We tried to use all our resources for people to get informed. Everywhere we went, people were trying to help. Some people had crazy ideas, others that could be adapted or used. Technicians that were not consulted directly. We established a group to analyze every idea we received. The most important effect was that everyone knew it around the world.”
7:20 You are an example of meritocracy. How do you see class systems playing a role in meritocracy in our country?
7:20 “Our country is a complex one and it is something that exists and happens all over Latin America. I studied in public school, I went to university with a credit that the state gave me, one I payed back. My family now has better opportunities then what I had. Schooling in Chile is free except for university. One-fifth of out budget is put towards education. The only way to break this is to put the money into basic education. When a small child cannot read or cannot understand what she reads, who cares about free university education. That is the problem, in my humble opinion.
7:24 Final remarks. The audience thanks Minister Golborne for this great conversation at the JFK Jr. Forum, here at the Institute of Politics.
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