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CONNECT THE WORLD

Barack Obama Urges All Governments To Condemn Violence; Replacement Refs Botch End Of Seattle-Green Bay Game

Aired September 25, 2012 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Tonight, on Connect the World, a challenge in no uncertain terms...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do believe that it is the obligation of all leaders in all countries to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: Two weeks to the day since the U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed in a violent attack. Barack Obama insists intolerance has no place on the global stage.

Also this hour, clashes erupt between police and protesters on the streets of Madrid.

And...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Touchdown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seahawks win in the most bizarre finish you'll ever see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: A refereeing decision many simply cannot understand. Why a controversial call is threatening the reputation of an entire sport.

Very warm welcome from London. I'm Becky Anderson. It is exactly two weeks after an American ambassador was killed in Libya. The U.S. president's to the United Nations General Assembly earlier today was clear: there are no words that excuse the killing of innocents.

With a speech heavily focused on the protests sparked by a film mocking Islam, Barack Obama said it was time for the UN to take a stand against extremism and those who use hatred as a principle of politics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America, they are also on an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded: the notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully, that diplomacy can take the place of war, that in an interdependent world all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens.

I do believe that it is the obligation of all leaders in all countries to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, Isha is outside the UN for us this evening. And Isha the president touching on Syria and Iran as expected, but this speech finishing as it began with the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens two weeks ago.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, no doubt about that, Becky. And it's important to note, and we've been saying it all day, because the U.S. election that will take place in November of course is of concern to the U.S. electorate and the president was speaking to an international crowd in the General Assembly, but that election filtered into these remarks. And I think the comments he made about Chris Stevens and the violence we saw play out in Libya and other parts of the Muslim world weren't just directed at those leaders in the hall, those international leaders and those diplomats, it was also about the U.S. electorate hearing him say quite clearly that he condemns the violence that has played out in recent weeks and saying that while he feels that the film was crude and it was disgusting, the anti-Islam film, nothing can justify the violence that has taken place and brought such unrest in the Muslim world.

Let's just listen a little bit more to what he had to say, Becky.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: On this we must agree, there is no speech that justifies mindless violence. There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. There is no video that justifies an attack on an embassy. There is no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: You heard him say there is no excuse for the kinds of violence that have played out. Also saying, Becky, in that speech that the United States will go after those took the lives of Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Libya and they will bring them to justice.

Again, the president having to walk a very fine line between addressing global concerns such as Iran and such as Syria and this violence that has played out in the Muslim world and of course also touching those issues that will also speak to a U.S. electorate, Becky.

ANDERSON: That's right. Obama certainly taking a stand on Iran, remarks that have significance internationally and of course for this domestic audience as well. What did he say?

SESAY: Interesting remarks from the president because we have seen this back and forth between the White House and Israeli officials in recent weeks growing unease in Israeli circles, Israeli government circles about Iran's nuclear program with talk ramping up about a possible preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Israel had said, Becky, that they wanted the U.S. to declare a red line, a line - draw a line in the sand beyond which if Iran passed, they would face severe consequences. Bear in mind diplomatic efforts in the Security Council had failed to curb their nuclear program, which Iran says is for peaceful purposes.

But the president making very clear that time is running out in pursuit of a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program. Take a listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Make no mistake, a nuclear armed Iran is not a challenge that can be detained. It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations and the stability of the global economy. It risks triggering a nuclear arms race in the region and the unraveling of the non- proliferation treaty. That's why a coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable. And that's why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: We shall see, Becky, whether those comments will be enough to satisfy Israeli government officials who were here. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister addressed the General Assembly on Thursday. But the president certainly, you know, keeping up the pressure on Iran and that, you know, again a rebuke, if you will, or a counter punch to the Romney campaign, the president's challenger, who has maintained that the president has been too soft on Iran and has not dealt firmly enough with this issue, Becky.

ANDERSON: Isha Sesay reporting for you from the United Nations tonight. Isha, thank you.

This was the president's last international address before the November election. It would be naive to think that he wouldn't take the opportunity to face down criticism from his opponent that his foreign policy is, quote - or certainly, quote, projects weakness.

Earlier I spoke to respected global thinker and a host of CNN's GPS show Fareed Zakaria. I asked him what he made of the speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAREED ZAKARIA, GPS: I thought it was very good. I thought it was Obama in some ways at his best. When he's explaining, putting larger events in perspective, and acting in some ways as a bridge between America and the world. I think he does that well. He does it eloquently. And I also think the most important thing is he looks presidential. He is president. He's speaking at the United Nations.

Mitt Romney at this point looks like a candidate. He's looking around for forums. He's speaking, you know, at bus stops and cafes. I don't mean to demean it, it's just the reality is international crises generally allow the president to be presidential.

ANDERSON: With the election just 41 days, or about six weeks away, he certainly didn't miss the opportunity to speak to the domestic U.S. audience. Have a listen to what he said with reference to the - let's call it, anti-Islam video.

OBAMA: I know there are some who ask why don't we just ban such a video? And the answer is enshrined in our laws. Our constitution protects the right to practice free speech. Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: "Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs." You're thoughts.

ZAKARIA: Well, I think he was, as you say, nodding to a domestic audience in two senses. One affirming that he is a Christian, it's something that I still think about 25 percent of Republicans do not believe. But perhaps also he was doing something that many Republican or conservative commentators have been asking either him or Romney to do, which is to provide a robust defense of freedom of speech and not simply say we are appalled by this video. And I think that has been a fair point, which is it's all very well to say we're appalled by this appalling video, but it's also important to point out that we don't ban appalling fans in the western world and that we believe very strongly that one should not ban things that we think are appalling. And in that sense he was stealing some of the fire that was being directed at him from the right.

ANDERSON: And in an effort to project strength in foreign policy, I wonder whether you'd agree there was a slightly veiled threat to his international audience. In speaking to them today he said this. Have a listen.

OBAMA: Understand, America will never retreat from the world. We will bring justice to those who harm our citizens and our friends. And we will stand with our allies. We are willing to partner with countries around the world to deepen ties of investment and investment and science and technology, energy and development, all efforts that can spark economic growth for all our people and stabilize democratic change.

But such efforts depend on a spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect. No government or company, no school or NGO will be confident working in a country where its people are in danger. For partnerships to be effective, our citizens must be secure and our efforts must be welcomed.

ANDERSON: There was nothing wishy washy liberal about that was there?

ZAKARIA: No. And I think it was very well said, because people forget the United States provides enormous amounts of aid, enormous amounts of technical know-how, enormous amounts of assistance I mean all over the world where you know universities, the USAID, the foreign aid, the NGOs that do all kinds of great work around the world. And I think what Obama was saying is, look, if you make it impossible for them to operate, they'll pull out, we will pull out. And if you make their lives insecure we will pull out.

Now there will be some regimes which want that, frankly, that is exactly what Vladimir Putin's Russia has just done. It has said to American NGOs operating we don't want you here. On balance they decided they would rather not have these pesky American and western NGOs operating, but there are lots of countries which want the benefits of partnering the world's best higher education institutions, getting know-how from foundations like the Gates Foundation, getting USAID to help them on agricultural productivity. But if you want that, you have to make these people feel welcome and not feel as though their offices are going to be burned down at the slightest provocation.

And I think Obama was reflecting a certain American impatience with the way in which these efforts that Americans make are treated. Remember, he began the speech by talking about Chris Stevens the Ambassador and the degree to which Chris Stevens embodied that kind of American idealism that, you know, that led so many people like him to learn Arabic, immerse themselves in the culture and try to help people around the world lift themselves up.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Fareed Zakaria speaking to me earlier. We're watching Connect the World live from London. Our top story tonight, Barack Obama tells leaders across the Middle East to get their houses in order and challenged the forces of violence and extremism, an American president in no mood to mince his words with a U.S. election just weeks from now.

Still to come tonight, the lost generation of Syria's conflict. We hear harrowing testimony of children caught in the cross-fire. That's up next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Back with Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson.

Now an international charity is urging the United Nations to do more to protect the youngest victims of Syria's civil war. Save the Children says it's collected shocking testimony and brutal attacks against kids. It says those who aren't physically hurt still often have to live with the trauma.

Nick Paton-Walsh with the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON-WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Save the Children's report released today at the start of the UN General Assembly is designed to draw attention again to the plight of the youngest victims in this conflict, those caught in the middle, the weakest children. They also say they are themselves running out of supplies and need urgent help for this growing humanitarian crisis. Their report really consisting of a number of harrowing personal accounts.

There's Khalid (ph), aged 15, who recounts how he went back to his school to discover it had been turned into a torture center. "There," he says, "they hung me up from the ceiling by my wrists with my feet off the ground, then I was beaten."

There Imali (ph), aged 13, who describes after fleeing some of the fighting she sat down and had a fit. "I was so scared I had a fit. My sister told me it was a nervous breakdown."

Another story we hear is of Aili (ph) who fled to a camp in Jordan. This is what he said it was like to hear the shelling.

BOY: Our family left Syria, because of he constant bombardments. You cannot believe how many shells we were subjected to. We could barely sleep. That's why we ran away.

PATON-WALSH: And then there's Hasan (ph), aged 14, who witnessed the aftermath of an attack on a funeral.

BOY: My brother and my two cousins and I went to bring the bodies of my uncle and cousin. When we reached there, we saw bodies on the ground. Nobody was there to help. We saw scattered flesh. I was devastated. I hated my life. I hated myself.

PATON-WALSH: And finally a mother Razan (ph) who said how she saw two soldiers place a bet as to whether one of them could shoot an eight year old boy. That, they did, and then they watched him slowly die of his injuries.

These accounts so harrowing, really, afflicting the most weak of all people caught inside this conflict on a day when the United Nations sits to see what it can actually do to try and rejuice the human suffering in this. The Qatari prime minister's proposal to Christiane Amanpour of some sort of plan B resting really on a no-fly zone, that's something that could help rejuice the toll upon civilians, remove the Syrian's regime to use jets and gunships on residential and perhaps lessening the ability to use artillery and mortars.

But until there is a massive change on the ground, the children will of course continue to suffer, so many of them among the death tolls of 100 to 200 that we hear every day.

Nick Paton-Walsh, CNN, Beirut.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: A look at some of the other stories that are connecting our world tonight. And tensions running high in Spain ahead of another round of austerity cuts. Thousands of protesters showing their dismay in the Madrid today. The Spanish capital put police officers on the streets as activists claim the economic crisis is, and I quote, kidnapped the country's democracy. Well, a tough new budget is due out on Thursday. We're going to take you live to the heart of those demonstrations shortly.

China has unveiled its first aircraft carrier. The 300 meter ship dates back to the Soviet Union. It was bought from Ukraine and has been refurbished. Now China doesn't yet have operational aircraft for the carrier, but says it will increase its military's capacity to defend state interests.

Well, the carrier's launch comes as tensions in the region are increasing over a disputed group of islands. The islands are claimed by China and Japan, but on Tuesday dozens of fishing boats and coastguard vessels headed towards the islands from Taiwan, which also claims ownership.

Now the Japanese coast guard issued a warning and fired a water cannon at those ships. They then fired water cannons back before leaving the area.

Family and friends of missing a British teenager are pleading for her safe return home. Authorities believe 15 year old Megan Stammers may have run away on Thursday with her math teacher to France. A friend told police that she received a text message from Megan on Friday saying she's safe and well. Megan's school says it's investigating how an affair between the teacher and the girl could have gone undetected for some eight months.

There's your headlines tonight. I'm going to take a very short break. When we come back, though, we continue with America's favorite sport facing a crisis as replacement referees make a major blunder at the end of what was a high profiled game.

That, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Now a controversial call in an American football game has many fans and officials fuming on TV, online, and let me tell you on the streets. Don Riddell joining me from CNN Center.

Don, we are talking wasn't it - it was a Hail Mary call on a desperate last second pass into the end zone could even force an end to a labor dispute. Please sort this out for us.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it might end this labor dispute. Certainly the fans and the players are desperately hoping so. Just a quick back story for you, Becky, replacement referees and officials are running the NFL at the moment, because the league is still in a bitter dispute with the real referees and they're locked out. And so basically you had amateurs deciding this. Let's show you the video from last night. This was, as you say, the last second between Seattle and Green Bay. That Hail Mary pass goes up. Watch the buy in blue on the left. He is called Tate. He pushes a player out of the way, that is known as offensive pass interference. That alone meant the touchdown never have stood. But then on another angle you'll see that he doesn't even have control of the ball. So for two reasons there shouldn't have been a touchdown.

But the touchdown was awarded by these replacement refs. It meant that Seattle won. Green Bay were incensed. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE MCCARTHY, PACKERS COACH: Don't me a question about the officials, all right. So we'll just cut to the chase right there. I've never seen anything like that in all my years in football.

AARON RODGERS, PACKERS QUARTERBACK: Just look at the replay. And then the fact that it was reviewed was awful, that's all I'm going to say about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIDDELL: As you can see, Becky, tight-lipped from two of the Packers key staff members there. But one of their guards wasn't quite so reserved. Have a look at these tweets from TJ Lang, "go F'ed by the refs. Embarrassing. Thanks NFL." And when some people pointed out that he might be fined for a tweet like that, he added this. He basically said, "F it NFL, fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs."

Those two tweets, by the way, were retweeted 145,000 times. This has become a massive social media story.

ANDERSON: I believe the NFL is holding firm on the refs decision. What does this mean for a sport that is so loved by so many millions?

RIDDELL: Well, I mean, it's just embarrassing isn't it? I mean, it's really, really embarrassing for a sport that is arguably the biggest sports brand in the world. The NFL have come out today and basically said the result stands. They're not going to change it. You know, that could be hugely damaging for the Packers come the end of the season. They might end up missing out on the playoffs. Some $250 million to $300 million were bet on this game last night. And arguably the wrong team won. So it's really, really embarrassing.

But the NFL doesn't seem to be that concerned. Perhaps this will force a, you know, an agreement between them and the regular referees, but the fact is they know that people are still going to watch this game on television. They know that people are still going to go to the games. They've still go their sponsorship contracts. So from their point of view nothing really changes.

ANDERSON: And any school boy or girl will tell you that you play to the refs whistle. And I guess that is what they did, even if the refs whistle was wrongly blown or not blown as the case may be. Don, thank you for that. We're going to have much more on this story. It really has caused a stir. And a live report from the site of the Ryder Cup ahead of - that's at the end of this week, of course, that is on world sport in about an hour's time from now with Don.

This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson.

Coming up next your world news headlines. Plus no jobs, no money, and no end in sight: frustration on the streets of Spain. The human face of what is this EuroZone crisis.

And why a leading architect in Beijing believes a building can be as moving as a great novel or work of art. That all coming up after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Wherever you are watching around the world, a very warm welcome to CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Becky Anderson in London. These are the latest world news headlines for you.

US president Barack Obama was one of the first speakers at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. He touched on the conflict in Syria, the controversy over Iran's nuclear program, and the death of US ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya. Mr. Obama said, quote, "Violence and intolerance have no place among our United Nations."

French president Francois Hollande called for the UN protection of the areas of Syria that are under opposition control. Mr. Hollande says the Syrian leadership has no future and France will recognize an opposition government once it is formed.

Anger on the streets of Madrid tonight as Spain prepares to go public with another round of austerity cuts. Protesters have taken to the streets, claiming that Spain is on sale.

And the BBC has apologized to Queen Elizabeth for disclosing a private conversation that she had with a reporter a few years ago. The journalist says the monarch was, and I quote, "pretty upset" that a terrorism suspect was not under arrest at the time. Now, the queen was referring to Muslim cleric Abu Hamza, who has now been ordered extradited to the US on terrorism charges.

I want to get you to Spain, now, and to the capital there. These are live pictures coming to us from Madrid. Much calmer than it was earlier on today, let me tell you, when protesters and police clashed. These demonstrations coming just two days before Spain is expected to reveal its 2013 budget, and with it, harsh new austerity measures.

Journalist Javier Ruiz joins us now on the line from Madrid with the very latest. And certainly pretty violent scenes on the streets of the capital earlier on today. The message from protesters, it seems, is very clear that the ruling popular party has misled them in getting elected. Any chance that they'll actually get anything done with these protests?

JAVIER RUIZ, JOURNALIST: Well, this is more of a symbol than any other thing, but it's a symbol that is becoming a threat to the government, because so far, 6,000 people are still on the streets.

And I don't know if you can see, but they are not going back home, even though this has been an illegal demonstration for an hour. The government only allowed the demonstration to go until 9:30. It's 10:30 PM in Spain now, and demonstrators are not going home. They are saying the government has kidnapped democracy, and they want to take it back.

ANDERSON: Javier, thank you for that, on the streets of Madrid with the story from there for you tonight. I want to take you from Spain to the United Nations, where South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, is addressing the General Assembly. Let's just have a listen to what Zuma has to say.

JACOB ZUMA, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA: -- of the president of the 66th session, Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser. Mr. President, South Africa fundamentally believes in the principle and purpose contained in the charter of the United Nations, and correctly so, given our nation's history.

This year, we are proudly celebrating 100 years of our people's selfless struggle for freedom, led by the African National Congress movement. We recall with great appreciation the immense contribution of the UN to the creation of a free and democratic South Africa.

In 1966, the General Assembly labeled apartheid as a crime against humanity in resolution 2202, which ultimately led to the international convention on the suppression and punishment of the crime of apartheid, later known as the Apartheid Convention.

The UN defines the crime of apartheid as, and I quote, "inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and dominating and maintaining and dominating by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them," unquote.

The Apartheid Convention was adopted by the General Assembly on the 30th November, 1973, and set the tone for vociferous action against apartheid around the world.

Let me repeat the words of our leader and international icon, President Nelson Mandela, in his very first address to the UN General Assembly in 1994, the first by a democratically-elected head leader and head of state of our country.

He said, and I quote, "The millions of our people say thank you and thank you again that the respect for your own dignity as human beings inspired you to act to ensure the restoration of our dignity as well," unquote.

Mr. President, the theme of this session is most appropriate as it takes us back to the basics, to the founding principles of the United Nations. The founders intended the UN to be the foremost multilateral forum entrusted with bringing about hope, peace, and order to the world. Indeed, the UN enjoys universal membership and is at the center of global governance and multilateralism.

The theme reminds us that peace is a choice. We can either choose peace as member states, or choose the path of conflict. The founders of the UN made this choice 67 years ago. They decided that the United Nations must lead the world to peace.

It is important for the UN and its organs, especially the United Nations Security Council, to execute the organization's mandate of working for peace without fear of favor. We must not steer away from the founding objectives of this organization.

The UN faces immense pressure when the world sees the unprecedented loss of lives as it is happening in Africa and the Middle East.

It is of concern when it appears as if the United Nations is unable to act and assist, and when it comes across as paralyzed in certain instances due to the actions of some member states. We've seen a divided Security Council, unable to muster the collective courage to say no more to warring parties in the interest of peace.

This brings to the fore the need to continue and deepen the reform of the United Nations and its organs, to make it agile and nimble and addressing the contemporary challenges facing humanity. The debate on the reform of the United Nations and its organs, in particular, the Security Council --

ANDERSON: Veiled criticism, there, of Russia and China in the efforts by the Security Council to get something down over Syria.

You're listening to Jacob Zuma addressing the UN General Assembly in New York, reminding us of the words of the first president of South Africa -- democratically-elected president of South Africa back in 1994, President Nelson Mandela, of course, a little earlier.

Coming up after the break, it's the last in this month's series of Leading Women, the Pfizer executive and the Cirque du Soleil director tell us the life lessons they live by. That's coming up after this. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: This is CONNECT THE WORLD out of London, I'm Becky Anderson at just before quarter to 10:00. Tonight, we've got the last of this month's Leading Women series on Pfizer executive Freda Lewis-Hall and the Cirque du Soleil director Krista Monson. Have a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDA LEWIS-HALL, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, PFIZER: As a chief medical officer, I am a member of our Executive Leadership team. I am the physician that is most senior and responsible for the health outcomes of patients.

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): During a lunch session at Pfizer headquarters in New York, Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall addresses a group of visiting graduate students.

LEWIS-HALL: We have everything from medicines in the marketplace, like Dilantin, that have been actively used since the 1930s, to our most novel, precision medicine recently developed and deployed into the marketplace.

TAYLOR: Articulating her company's vision and what she views as the challenges ahead.

LEWIS-HALL: The global health challenges will bring us collectively to our knees unless we can find better intervention, better medicines, better vaccines, and better ways to engage people in their health care.

TAYLOR: She also shares her life lesson.

LEWIS-HALL: My father told me when I was a teenager to relax and to simply remember that I would ultimate be judged on three things. The first is what I've left behind. The second is who I bring behind. And the third is what I've learned along the way.

TAYLOR (on camera): At this point in your career, what's next? Where do you want to go?

LEWIS-HALL: Ooh. It's interesting that you would ask that. I often talk about reaching a pinnacle row, which is the point where you have the broadest potential impact and the deepest possible satisfaction, and I really feel inspired every day by the impact that I can have, and I am so satisfied with what I'm able to achieve here at Pfizer in the role as chief medical officer.

These were the things that made me want to be a doctor.

TAYLOR (voice-over): A journey that began with a fascination in science, but led to a career in medicine. And now, to her position as one of the highest-ranking executives in the pharmaceutical industry.

LEWIS-HALL: I've been asked before, "Do you have it all?" I don't know, but I can't imagine what's missing. I have an amazing family, a wonderful job, an opportunity to help people. I just don't know how it gets better.

KRISTA MONSON, CASTING DIRECTOR, CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: Clowning, never forget.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I'm Kristie Lu Stout. It's easy to see Krista Monson fully enjoys her role as director of casting for Cirque du Soleil's resident shows. She had a long career as a dancer and choreographer before she got to Cirque.

MONSON: How's everything going?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very well, thank you.

MONSON: Yes?

STOUT: The theater is in her blood.

MONSON: It's a really sacred moment for me to be in an empty theater. There's no audience and the lights -- the house lights are off, and there's some conversations happening here and there, but it's -- it's just a really sacred yet really raw moment.

(LAUGHTER)

STOUT: At the office, she keeps things light. Here, she has a bubble-gum-blowing contest at the end of a meeting with her talent scouts.

MONSON: At Cirque du Soleil, we're not juggling in the hallways. We're working hard. I fell it's important to remind ourselves to have fun and to laugh a lot, and when people feel safe and they're having fun, that's when they'll take risk.

This is what someone -- one of the musicians at one of the shows gave me. So, for me, it -- it's really, really, really important to love what you do, and that's when you give others around you the most respect.

STOUT: For Monson, her leadership advice comes from something she learned as artistic director for Cirque du Soleil's show, "O," in Las Vegas.

MONSON: When I came to "O" as the artistic director, it had already been running for six year. And it was like a fast-moving train, going very, very fast, and I had to literally jump on this train and learn about six years of history and vision and nuances. So learn all of that while at the same time leading a huge group of people.

You really have to believe in your position and -- not just your position on -- your title, but your place in that moment. It's OK to have an opinion, and it's OK to disagree. I've really learned that at Cirque, that some of the most successful meetings or decisions are as a result of a bit of friction. Some of the best jewels in the world take the most friction to polish.

STOUT: And Monson's last bit of advice? Take risks, as she did when she left behind her world of choreographing to take the casting director position.

MONSON: That's why for me, I never dreamt of casting per se, but let yourself go there. So, let yourself go. And it doesn't mean you're failing or this or that. It just means, hopefully, you're going to realize your creative potential in a setting that's best for you.

Great job to Janna.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.

(APPLAUSE)

MONSON: Great work.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: And next month, we're going to introduce you to two new leading women and travel the world from Asia to Hollywood. If you can't wait for that, you can find it all at cnn.com/leadingwomen.

You're with CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Becky Anderson. When we come back, the 2006 winner of the Architecture League's Young Architect Award will tell us about his favorite structure and how he thinks building design should make you and me feel. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: All this week, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the UNESCO World Heritage Program by looking at some of the world's most interesting architecture. Tonight, Nick Glass, my colleague, talks to a young designer about his favorite building, the Salk Institute in California.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MA YANSONG, ARCHITECT: My favorite building is Louis Kahn's building, the Salk Institute. I was moved in that building. I'm inspired by that building.

When you're in the Salk Institute, you can have a dialogue with nature, with the environment. In that atmosphere, you will rethink about your life. It's like when you read a nice book. After you read it, you rethink about yourself and you will be inspired. I think that's the beauty of architecture.

NICK GLASS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you remember when you first went there?

MA: The first time I went there, I had to jump into the building.

GLASS: What do you mean? You climbed in? You came in --

MA: I climbed into the courtyard, because it's all in midnight, and I sit down, I look at the dark ocean and the sky. I feel so moving, because I feel I was talking to a black hole. Black hole can be infinite, can be your future, your past. So, I was thinking about many things in that space.

GLASS: Is that important in your own architecture, that connection with nature?

MA: I know it's difficult to make that happen in the modern highrise buildings or modern cities. That's why I love the people, they hate modern cities, but they have to live there because of opportunities. But I think in the future, there should be a way to make a modern city with a human touch.

GLASS: Which structure do you actually most admire?

MA: I think Absolute Tower building is important to me. That was my first big building.

GLASS: How old were you when you got that commission?

MA: Thirty.

GLASS: Very young.

MA: Very young.

(LAUGHTER)

GLASS: Do you remember the moment when you got the word?

MA: I was scared. I didn't know how to build a building, because I had never built a building before. And that was a huge building. They called the building Marilyn Monroe Building because people think that the curvature looks like a human body.

People ask me, "Why do you design a building in such a way? That building looks so sexy." I said, "No, I didn't try to make it sexy." But I want the building to be more -- irregular. Just not a box.

With architects, they express their philosophies through a building. And when people visit the building, the building has a special way, which is space, light, to touch the visitors. So, the visitor can receive the message from the original designer, maybe hundred or two hundred years later, they can still get the message.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: And our series on iconic buildings continues all this week. For more online, cnn.com/specials/greatbuildings.

I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD for you, thank you for watching. World news headlines up after this. Don't go away.

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