tv [untitled] November 3, 2012 10:30pm-11:00pm PDT
good afternoon, steve mcdonald. chris and i have been friends since we pledged the fraternity at uc berkeley in 1978. i want to first thank chris's family for allowing me the honor of speaking today as we celebrate chris's amazing life. i look at this crowd. i try to figure out how much he achieved so much while making personal and professional connections and lifelong friends all over the world. this beautiful light-filled rotunda is the perfect seting to celebrate chris's life. he was a true renaissance man and offered a lesson in modern day enlightenment to all he met. some say don't sweat the
small stuff. chris was successful because he did pay attention to little details and common courtesis that showed the world that he cared. i think the roots of chris's enlightening character were evident when we were undergrads at cal. i would like to share examples. first of all we will start superficially on the topic of fashion. chris like many of our pledge class was from piedmont. i recall thinking what is up with piedmont. the khakis, penny loafers and button-down shirts? chris lived in the room across from mine. seemed he had adopted this as his uniform. but in hindsight i can see he was offering his own form of enlightenment. he was guiding us away from the dark time known as the disco era. [ laughter] who knew that chris would work his timeless style for the next 34 years.
look at the effect on me, who is wearing the button-down now that. was the first life lesson from chris. stick with the classics, they won't go out of style. that said, my wife has gently advised me the definition of a classic look does not extend to certain flannel shirts from 1982. our next topic on the less sons that we learned from chris back then involve culture. this is beyond the stereotypical fraternity life experience, because i was lucky enough to live with chris and another famous piedmonter austin tichner. talk about enlightening. he dubbed our large room the triple occupancy club. little did i know this came with the added bonus of an extracurricular education in the arts. chris arrived with his stack of lps, many courtesy of his step dad, bob.
the chronicle music critic at the time. austin contributed his eclectic theater and comedy recordings and, well, himself. those of you that know austin know that nothing more need be said. balancing that urbane cultural scene chris invited me to visit his grandfather, where we got to do gold panning from the virgin load of dirt. it was lesson in history from the stevens family. i will never forget what a great experience it was to live with those two guys. moving on to his study habits, everyone knew how brilliant he was, an enlightened manner. he was truly the smartest man in the room but never comported himself that way. he was confident and outgoing. never arrogant. always self-effacing, quick with a laugh or grin.
always looking for ways to learn something from everyone else around him. he was no surprise considering chris came from such good stock. chris studied western civilizations and immerses himselfs in cultures and languages and took multiple trips to study abroad in spain, italy, morocco. perhaps most importantly chris knew how to relax and enjoy the moment. when i would periodically freak out about my course work or some o ther problem i thought i had he would make me stop and take a break, play a game of back gammon on the balcony and enjoy the view. it was an early lesson in the zenlike mindfulness of chris. no wonder he exceled in such a challenging and stressful career. i don't want you to think chris was perfect. after extensive research we came up with at least one or two blemishes on his record, sort of. in the interest of time i'm
leaving out inappropriate limericks about philosophers. the only time i saw him lose his temper is when we were sharing a double room in the last year. some of the lessen lightened brethren decided to make a bunch of noise during finals week. when yelling at these guys didn't do the trick, chris burst out of bed, ran out onto the balcony, grabbed a water fire extinguisher and let them have it. he seemed much less angry when he came into the room and particularly pleased when the guys that he drenched came running up the stairs yelling my name. [ laughter] ambassador stevens did not correct the record. i feel this is a rare example of a failed diplomatic effort on his part. [ laughter] >> he did seem to sleep remarkably well after that,
however. another topic a propos with chris is his relationship with material things. he didn't care about things, accept to the extend they were a means to an end. providing access to people, places, culture and activities he wanted to participate in. i wanted to mention a couple of examples from the uc berkeley archives in that regard. his typewriter. chris arrived at cal with a beautiful, fancy electric typewriter, a covetted object in that prelaptop and prepc era. chris decided that beautiful machine was too bulky and didn't like being tethered to an electrical outlet. one day he traded it for a little olivetti manual. he was so proud. he loved the tactile sense of klaking away, which he did well. he created great works. the next topic are shoes. as enlightened members of
the ato fraternity, our class came up with an idea to have a great gatsby party every year. this was a major event where we had a band, pond and duck. chris wanted to dress the part and was delighted to find a snazzy pair of gaudy wing tips. he seemed undeterred by the fact these were golf spikes and that even after i mentioned to him that he would literally be cutting a rug if he wore those things, he bought them any way and unscrewed the spikes and danced up a storm. the floors needed refinishing any way. chris was one of the first people i knew in the prestarbucks era who bought coffee beans and ground them himself. he bought a coffeemaker and set it up. he insisted this was better
than the rot gut than in the kitchen. i had to admit, he was right. it was another example of chris showing me how to live in the moment. i laughed when i read senator mccain's recent remarks recalling when chris insisted on personally brewing the senator a proper cup of cappuccino during their meetings in libya. the next topic of material goods would be his donkey, or lack thereof. i love the picture. it reminded me of a priceless letter he sent to me in law school when he was over there in the peace corps. chris wrote wonderful notes and told me when he went running in the village where he was staying, only to have locals come up beside him and say where is it, where did it go. where is what? your donkey. i don't have a donkey. >> why are you running?
[ laughter] >> for exercise. >> exercise? are you nuts? if you want exercise, come work on my orchard, you crazy american. >> chris succeeded because he knew how to laugh at himself and relate to people around him. there are two more memories i want to share. one deals with government and jazz. chris always wanted to work for the state department. he always wanted to be involved in the foreign service. he took the foreign service exam when we were undergrads at cal. he came back the first time, pleased with results on the written but felt he didn't do so well on the orals. the question that seemed to trip him up and left him perplexed was the following. mr. stevens, please compare american government and jazz music. chris told us he didn't quite know how to handle that question. my suggestion involved
people blowing loudly on their horns or banging loud' on their drums was not terribly helpful. we decided to ask questions to trip up the applicant. we didn't have the internet to find a quick answer but figured it out. though chris may not have come up with the answer during that exam he certainly lived the message taught by this interesting comparison. both american democracy and jazz music involved ongoing experimentation. they involve unscripted action and improvisation as we figure out the best way to get along. both depend on a group allowing a soloist or representative to step forward and recite his piece while the rest of the group provides background harm any and rhythm. when both forms work, the world is treated to a remarkable result. where ad hoc and seemingly
dissonent voices become a part. we know the amazing things chris achieved when he led the way as america collaborated with the libyan people and our allies to move forward toward greater freedom and representative form of government. the middle east and especially libya was chris's bandstand. he knew the members gained through collaboration and personal approach. i want to share one last memory. our daughter maggie was born in 1994 with profound life threatening problems and required many surgeries and long hospitalizations during the first few years. "the chronicle" ran a story in 1996. chris's momma -- mom mary cut out that and sent it to cairo. chris took his time to write a thoughtful note expressing his concern and
wishing us well, commenting on how cute maggie was. he closed that note as follows. as they say in this part of the world, and you will forgive me for butchering the arabic. may allah make things easier for you. this is my wish for chris's family and friends today, as we mourn his loss. the world will never -- the world never saw a kinder, more resolute and enlightened soul. his integrity, character, empathy, his courage, his tolerance were ever present, unchanging, even with all his success and fame and in the face of every challenge. we feel so sad to have lost chris but so lucky to have known him. we will do everything we can to make sure his memory lives on and foster and support the people-first
coast to work for large law firms. over the years we stayed in close touch. when chris was back from over seas we were frequent tennis partners and would get together for dinners and other events in washington. over the years our families became friends as well. it's been such a pleasure to come to know them and chris's many friends in washington and to watch his career unfold. we met on the first day of school. i sat down in our civil procedure class next to a person who turned out to be named chris highland. shortly thereafter chris stevens sat down next to me. the three of us went to lunch afterwards and became friends from that day forward. chris never tried to be someone special but he was someone special. when we were at hastings his charm and wit were on display from the start. in class he was very articulate and seemed as
later in life always very poised and well spoken and at ease. i think our professors loved him. he liked being a student, even studying at the national war college a few years ago. he always seemed to genuinely enjoying studying and debating and was immersed in classes and activities of the school. particularly the hastings law journal, where he became managing editor. he very much liked the art of argument and trial law. he used to go to the courts nearby to watch very high profile trials and legendary judges and litigators. while he spent lots of times on the hastings campus, whether in library or out on what is called the beach in front of the school, he also liked to get off-campus and would often go for a run across golden gate bridge or play racquet ball or tennis on russian hill.
at hastings there were a number of things that made him stand out. it was clear he had a strong desire to work in the national arena and middle east. he often spoke about his time in morocco. he had already started the process of applying for foreign service and reading books about american diplomats. i still remember him reading memoirs of george cannon, one of our most famous diplomats and reading publications like foreign affairs magazines. as a summer associate in a washington office he was tasked to go to yale law school and talk about his experiences in the middle east. his mother received post card from chris saying, hi, everybody. i'm here at yale law school giving a lecture on morocco
carpet law. he lived his family. his grandmother, an artist, had a number of paintings at the old mint in san francisco. they reflected scenes from that part of california. he took us down there and proudly showed us her work. although he traveled the world his family was always in his thoughts. california was always his home. what i will most remember about chris is how thoughtful he was and how people were drawn to him. chancellor wu wrote when chris was appointed ambassador, friends, professional acquaintances contacted me to encourage me to reach out to him. he was so well thought of. i sent a hand-written card and to my surprise he
returned the correspondence with his own handwritten note. that would be very much like chris. he appreciated and enjoyed interactions with people. in fact, our friend chris highland put it very eloquently when he said, chris was the finest among us. more than his obviously charms, he was a man of substance and humility. at parties, dinners and gatherings he spent little times talking about himself and his accomplishments. only when he was forced to. instead he asked people about their lives, their views, their accomplishments. he always focused on ther people rather than himself. this is true and never changed. i believe it was central to his success in washington and around the world. for all of us who came to know him it was such pleasure and a privilege. [applause]
>> i am the lead ambassador before and after the revolution. on behalf of the libyan government and libyan people, i want to say to chris' family, parents, brother, sisters and to the american people, we are very sorry. you sent us one of your best diplomats. unfortunate will not able to protect him. i knew chris when i came to this country 2004. i think i met him for the first time before he went to libya, when he was serving at the relations committee in the senate.
met him few times in libya when i used to go from time to time. he is the man that there is no limit. he witnessed the suffering under regime of gadhafi and saw brutality of gadhafi killing his own people using all type weapons. he was the first american representative to go to benghazi, my hometown. every member of the delegation came to this country. when i speak about steven they say yes, chris, we know him. he talked to the people. he meet with the people. he knows their suffering. the main thing, that he trusts them and when they rised against gadhafi, he supported them. chris, it is a great loss
for libya. we lost him as a friend and man that understands the history of the people of libya before and after. chris, he built the bridge between libya and the united states. a bridge of love, of hope. we never believed one day we would be able to raise against this dictatorship. i knew chris after he came back. i knew chris more. he would come to the house and we play tennis. after the tennis we come back home and have libyan breakfast. he is a man of principles and he is serious. i agree he never speaks about himself, what achievement he made.
he is a guy when you look for him again. this is kind of different element but one time he told me story when he was serving in tripoli and then in benghazi. he walked on the street of benghazi and looked over his back and saw two people following. whereever he goes they follow him. hen he stop and he went up to them and he said hello, how are you. yeah, they speak with him. they invite for coffee. these people of course are service. maybe not to protect him in first days but see what he is doing, his contact. this is the type of government we need in this world. he didn't go to them to protest why you are following me. no, he became friends. they became friends. this is chris stevens.
i really cry for my family and -- with my family for chris when they hear this news. we lost a friend. we lost a supporter and lost a hero. chris stevens is a hero and part of the libyan history. part of the libyan revolution. his name will never forget. we will never forget him. i'm sure that his name and his achievement will be part of the history. we again are sorry we cannot protect this professional diplomat who came to help us in a very critical time when we looking for friends and for support and for help. now it is time of peace. we need support of friend who support us during the war. libya is still facing a
very critical challenge. the same day chris stevens is the day the parliament first time in 42 years that they elect their first prime minister. thank you united states for your support. again, we are sorry on behalf of libyan people for the loss of this great friend. thank you very much. [applause] good afternoon, barbara lee. i represent the 9th district, including piedmont and berkeley, where ambassador stevens spent many of his formative years to. the family and friends of our beloved ambassador stevens, to mayor lee, senator feinstein, representative miller and spear, to the
attorney general, ambassadors past and present, my friends. let me first express my sincereest condolences to ambassador stevens' family, friends and colleagues in the face of your tremendous loss. ambassador stevens and the others who lost their lives in libya worked each and every day to advance the highest ideals of this great nation. they will never be forgotten. ambassador stevens, in spite of the many challenges of seeking global peace and security, he truly believed peace is possible. representatives george miller and jackie spear both are