By Alec Matuszak
Arts & Entertainment Editor
General Colin Powell, a retired four-star general, former national security advisor to the former president George W. Bush and a New York Native, spoke to a crowded audience at the Tilles Center Thursday evening, March 2. Powell started by expressing how lucky he was to be in his position of speaking to today’s youth, and that things can change very quickly. “Just imagine that you are the number one diplomat in the world the Secretary of State of the United States of America; and the next day, you ain’t,” Powell said.
Powell admitted that once he was no longer Secretary of State, he was a bit depressed and needed to fill a void in his life. His advice for older men and women who are going through a depressive period in life? “Buy a corvette,” he joked. Even though Powell is no longer Secretary of State, or National Security Advisor to the president, he still maintains his interest in world politics. Most of all, he focuses on his passion for inspiring and teaching younger people. The Harlem native spoke about his difficulties in getting into a military school because of the color of his skin. He told the crowd of a few hundred people about how important immigrants are to the success of America. Powell had two immigrant parents who were poor but despite their economic troubles, made the best of their life here in America.
Powell understood the concerns of today’s teenagers, worried about the economic and political climate that they live in. Powell’s response to these concerns brought the crowd to cheers and applause: “Don’t ever under estimate America. We have resiliency in our DNA,” he said. Powell did not hold any punches when it came to criticizing the current members of Congress. “Congress can’t do what the founding fathers did in less than three months,” Powell said.
Senior psychology major Abi Sawyer was impressed by the former General. “I was honestly unsure of what to expect,” she said. “He is a very relatable and knowledgeable man, managing to recount his successes and failures in a humble and humorous fashion,” Sawyer said. Sawyer is an international student from England, and has “similar views as Powell”. “He shows passion and optimism for the future, which is encouraging for people,” Sawyer said.
In addition to his career in politics, the retired general enjoys his free time at home with his wife, and is interested in businesses located in Silicon Valley.
This lecture was the introduction of Congressman Steve Israel’s Global LIU Initiative at LIU Post.