Last Updated Dec 5, 2018 7:54 PM EST

Christine Lagarde, the first female managing director of the IMF, became the first woman to deliver the biennial Kissinger Lecture this week. She spoke with “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan, following her remarks. 

Brennan spoke with Lagarde in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress before an audience of lawmakers and other Washington policymakers.

Managed by the Kluge Center, the Kissinger Lecture aims to foster non-partisan discussion on foreign relations. The lecturer is selected by the Librarian of Congress based on their achievements in the field of foreign relations.

Lagarde called for a new age of ingenuity, with fighting corruption as the foundation of progress.

“When people start believing the economy no longer works for them, they start disconnecting from society. Corruption saps economic vitality and siphons off desperately needed resources,” she said. “Corruption is a root cause of many of the economic injustices young men and women feel every day.” 

The theme of the finance chief’s speech was prosperity in the history of international economic cooperation, including ensuring women’s economic inclusion. Of the 189 participating countries in the IMF, the organization says almost 90 percent have at least one economic barrier to women in their constitution or legal system. 

“We have observed in many countries when those changes happen, it actually has consequences on the economy, and it pushes growth, and it enables women to become better integrated into the economy,” Lagarde said. 

On Brexit, Lagarde sounded hopeful that the departure could still be stopped. 

“I think there is regret in many, many European corners,” Lagarde said. “I think there is more regret in the U.K. than there was only six months ago. And I think there is now the realization that there will be more loss as a result of Brexit than was ever mentioned, described, accounted for by those who campaigned for Brexit.”   

The European Court of Justice is considering a bid by anti-Brexit campaigners to allow the British Parliament to halt the departure, despite the British Government’s insistence that it has no intention of reversing the process.   

And on Saturday’s meeting between President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit, Lagarde saw hope for cooling the trade uncertainty that has shaken global markets. Even without a trade agreement in hand, Lagarde praised the two leaders’ work to come to an understanding on both sides. 

“The willingness of these two presidents to move forward and to agree to discuss those issues is progress.”


Margaret Brennan will talk again with Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, for an interview to air Sunday on “Face the Nation.”

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