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Condoleezza Rice speaks at 'Spirit of Hope' Toronto benefit

TORONTO, Ont. – Former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice spoke to a sold-out crowd at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre Thursday night to raise money for North York’s Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies.

“The Spirit of Hope” gala was held at the convention centre Thursday evening and raised $2.3-million for the non-profit organization.

Rice told 680News her thoughts on the Wiesenthal Center and its role in demonstrating democracy.

“In democracy, it’s not just about individual rights, not even the institutions, but it is respect for one another. Respect as citizens. Not just tolerating others but accepting them.”

“And I think the Wiesenthal Center and what it has done is to remind that, that is really a foundation of democracy,” Rice said.

While Rice spent time in the White House during her former role as U.S. secretary of state, she doesn’t see herself as president.

“I cannot imagine running for office,” she said.

“I have seen up close and personal what that’s like. And I have enormous admiration for those who want to do it. Thank God that there are people who really do want to run for office. But I will find ways to do public service.”

Rice has visited Toronto many times in the past saying it was booming.

“But what I really love about this city, like many great cities in the United States, it’s truly a city where people come from all over the world to find freedom, to find opportunity.”

“The United States and Canada really share that. It doesn’t matter where you came from it matters where you’re going and Toronto has that energy that can only come from immigrants coming from all over the world just to be a part of this wonderful place.”

Rice has switched roles recently and is on the other side of the microphone by joining CBS News as a contributor where she hopes to look at what makes America what it is.

Past speakers at the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies include Elie Wiesel, Salman Rushdie, Bill Clinton, Alan Dershowitz, David Gergen, Bob Woodward, Robert Gibbs, Al Gore, Newt Gingrich and Glenn Beck to name a few.

Rice was the first female keynote speaker at the gala.