The American Dream under President Trump

Open to the Public
Nador u. 15
Auditorium A
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - 5:30pm
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Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm

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The School of Public Policy, Department of International Relations, and Department of Political Science at CEU jointly invite you to the Ambassadors‘ Lectures series “Dreams in Politics“

H.E. David B. Cornstein
Ambassador of the United States of America

Welcome Remarks by CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff

Chair: Prof. Dr. Reinhard Bettzuege German Ambassador ret.

Donald Trump took office as the 45. President of the United States of America on the 20 January 2017. Here are some quotes from his inaugural address:

“We are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people“ “Washington flourished, but the people did not share its wealth“
“We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world“
“From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first – America first“

The statement “America first“ redefined the American dream. This slogan was first popularised in another presidential campaign: Woodrow Wilson used it in 1916 as a promise to keep the US out of war. Sarah Churchwell in her new book “Behold, America: A History of America First and the American Dream“ recalls that Wilson always insisted on the internationalist element of that phrase, standing for the principle that “America must lead the world“. Is America leading the world under President Trump? "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is the most well-known description of the American Dream in the Declaration of Independence.

President Roosevelt argued that his “four essential freedoms“ stood for “a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation“ and they were quickly adopted as an articulation of the American dream. Madeleine Albright is worried declairing: “We may be encouraged that most people in most countries still want to live freely and in peace, but there is no ignoring the storm clouds that have gathered…if freedom is to prevail around the world American leadership is urgently required… Meanwhile, the possibility that fascism will be accorded a fresh chance to strut around the world stage is enhanced by the volatile presidency of Donald Trump“. She closes her article in the NYT (7/8 April 2018) with these words: “America at its best is a place where people from a multiude of backgrounds work together to safeguard the rights and enrich the lives of all. That’s the example we have always aspired to set and the model people around the world hunger to see. And no politician, not even in the Oval Office, should be allowed to tarnish that dream“.

We are lucky to have with us a personal friend of President Trump, the new US Ambassador to Hungary, David B. Cornstein, to explain to us the American dream under President Trump.

David B. Cornstein was appointed by President Donald Trump to serve as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Hungary.  He was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 24, 2018 and presented his credentials to the President of the Republic of Hungary on June 25, 2018.

A lifelong New Yorker, David Cornstein has built a record of achievement as a businessman and leader.  As Chairman and CEO, he helped build over a billion-dollar NASDAQ Stock Exchange Company and, in addition, at Off Track Betting - NYC, he turned around a failing government entity where he was Chairman for 16 years to make it effective, efficient, and very profitable.

David Cornstein was named the Chairman of the New York State Olympic Games Commission to bring the 2012 Summer Olympic Games to New York City.  He has served as a Board Member of Jacob Javits Development Corporation, a member on the New York State Council on State Productivity, Board Member of Battery Park, and with Richard Parsons as Vice Chairman of the Economic Development Corporation of New York City.

For his lifelong achievements in business and public service, he has been honored as “Man of the Year” by the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Chemotherapy Foundation, Friars Club Foundation, and the Park East Day School, and has helped raise millions of dollars for these organizations.  He was the commencement speaker at the Stern School of Business of New York University.  He served on the Board of Directors of New York Law School, Jewish Community Relations Council, Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, and Park East Synagogue.  In the past, he served as Chairman of the World Presidents’ Organization and is currently a member of the Chief Executives’ Organization.  He is an active philanthropist through the David and Sheila Cornstein Foundation.

Ambassador Cornstein earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lafayette University and a Masters of Business Administration from New York University.  He and his wife, Sheila, have two children and one grandson.

About the series: More and more national identities and ambitions are discussed on a global scale and thus political dreams are formulated by governments, political parties, and parliamentarians. To mention only a few we hear about the Chinese Dream, read about the Canadian Dream, follow the Catalonian Dream of independence, know about the Palestinian Dream, the Czech Dream, the Slovak Dream, the Brexit Dream, the Trump Dream of America First, Macron’s Dream of a new France, the Indian Dream after 70 years of independence, last but not least the European Dream. There is also a Hungarian Dream. We would like to examine these political projections closer, look at the history, the origin of these conceptions and the way they are brought forward. First-hand introduction into and elaboration on these dreams of nations are provided by the accredited Ambassadors of their countries. What political and policy agenda their countries have to make these dreams come true?