Ambassador King’s Remarks
Dedication of Rockefeller Reading Room
September 10, 2012
(as prepared for delivery)
I am delighted to be here today to introduce someone whose surname has been synonymous with philanthropy for most of the 20th century and continues to be in the 21st century. If Google were around in the early part of the last century I believe that when we queried the word “philanthropy” the word “Rockefeller” would have automatically shown up.
We are here today to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the gift from John D. Rockefeller Jr. that created the UN library, to appropriately rename the reading room in his honor, to reflect on the generosity of the Rockefeller family and to accept another generous Rockefeller donation of a portrait of John D. Rockefeller Jr. UN Geneva is but a small example of the historic and ongoing generosity of the Rockefellers to the United Nations. Indeed the headquarters building of the United Nations in New York was made possible by the generous donation by the Rockefellers of the land on which the secretariat building now sits. Those of you who know New York know that this is prime river front real estate, and as I told Michael last evening, those of us who call that neighborhood home are delighted when we look out from our glass towers, we see the iconic 20th century architecture of the UN rather than the bland or ostentatious architecture of apartment buildings.
There are of course now several large players in philanthropy in the United States and in other parts of the world, but the Rockefeller name will forever be associated with philanthropy because of the sheer size, scope, durability and impact of the family’s generosity.
Michael has clearly followed in the footsteps of his forbearers. While he pursued a degree and a career in business, he is very much involved in the non-profit sector, using his membership on non-profit boards to help students and schools to succeed in the Information Age. We are delighted that Michael and his generation of Rockefellers have so warmly embraced the family tradition of generosity. It is my pleasure to introduce Michael Rockefeller.