Remarks at Reception for the Opening of the USA Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ben Franklin Room
April 30, 2010
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very much, Minister Xie. I think that you are well-named for all of the thanks that you provided us. But of course, we owe you and your Chinese colleagues, both here in Washington and in Beijing and Shanghai a great thanks as well.
This is an extraordinary day to celebrate the opening of the Shanghai Expo and to share it with so many who it is literally true to say without whom this would not have been possible. I echo Ambassador Bagley’s thanks of an incredible effort to pull this together, to get the word out, to enlist the support, to raise the money, and to actually build the Pavilion.
I well remember visiting the site of the Pavilion last November in a very heavy rainstorm. It was still under construction. But I was told that rain meant good fortune, and good fortune clearly smiled on us that day and will not only today, but through the rest of the time that the Pavilion is open at the Expo. (Applause.)
We expect that this will be the largest event, some say, in human history. It will certainly be very, very big. And it will be a great attraction, not only for tens of millions of people from within China itself, but from around the world.
I vowed last year that I would personally build the Pavilion if I had to so we could be part of that Expo. Thankfully I did not, because all of you worked together to make this a great success. And I would like to thank every single person here at the State Department who was involved in this monumental effort.
Certainly, Ambassador Bagley, her excellent deputy, Kris Balderston, the entire team who understand the power of partnerships and this was a multi-layered partnership. It was a partnership between China and the United States; between the United States Government and many of our great companies and corporations. It was certainly a partnership with our Embassy and our Consulate. So this was a multi-leveled partnership and it was a partnership that would not have been successful without some key players.
I want to thank Under Secretary Pat Kennedy, who has been a champion of this project from day one and whose responsibilities include running all of our worldwide facilities.
I want to thank Kurt Campbell and everyone at EAP who has worked day by day to strengthen and expand our relationship with China to make it that positive, cooperative, comprehensive relationship that President Obama and I are committed to. I want to thank our ECA colleagues, who provided critical assistance at every stage. I want to thank Ambassador Huntsman in Beijing and Consul General BeaCamp in Shanghai and I particularly want to thank Commissioner José Villarreal and the entire USA Expo team, some of whom you can see on the screen.
But I owe our greatest thanks to our sponsors. With the financial and-in kind contributions that you have come forward with, we have more than 50 cosponsors who have donated resources, expertise for the last year to get us ready to open this pavilion. And I think that we’re going to showcase a lot of what is best about America and particularly our young people who are serving as student ambassadors to help engage the millions of visitors expected to come to our pavilion during the next six months. Some of our Student Ambassadors are there with Commissioner Villarreal to celebrate today, and they’re doing a great job already.
I was speaking to State Counselor Dai Bingguo yesterday morning about many matters, but the first thing he had to tell me was that he had accompanied President Hu Jintao to our pavilion and had met some of the young people who are representing us there. The USA Pavilion is a unique opportunity to engage visitors. World fairs and expos have always been a place where the future is previewed. And that is indeed what is happening at this Shanghai Expo. So again, many, many thanks to all of you.
And now, let me ask our Commissioner General to the 2010 World Expo you see there on the screen who has done such a wonderful job making sure that the Pavilion got built, got staffed, got into shape to be able to open. And I knew that when I asked José to do this, I had someone who would be tireless in his efforts. And thank you so much, José and we’re going to ask you to give us a report from our pavilion.
COMMISSIONER VILLARREAL: Thank you, Madam Secretary. Ni hao.
PARTICIPANTS: Ni hao.
COMMISSIONER VILLARREAL: We are thrilled to be joining you from Shanghai. I don’t have to tell you how important this day is for China and the Chinese people as they celebrate the opening of World Expo. As you know, yesterday, we were privileged to receive President Hu Jintao at our pavilion. When I mentioned to President Hu and to Vice Premier Wang Qishan that you were hosting an event in Washington, D.C., contemporaneously with the Expo opening ceremonies, they expressed great appreciation. And in fact, while they were in our first area of – the welcoming area where we have this large sponsor wall with the names of all of the corporate sponsors, Vice Premier Wang Qishan motioned to the president to look at the wall. And the president made a point of mentioning how important all of these corporations are to China and so those of you who are sponsors should be very proud of that.
Madam Secretary, I’m joined here by U.S. Consulate and Pavilion staff and some of our student ambassadors. The student ambassadors performed their first official ambassadorial duties yesterday by helping me welcome President Hu, and I must say they performed marvelously. Today, we received the president of Armenia and a delegation from Hunan. Tomorrow, it is the vice president of Columbia and the secretary of tourism of Mexico. We will also receive tomorrow a delegation of U.S. mayors from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Madam Secretary, your team here in Shanghai, including all of the student ambassadors, are committed to using all of our creativity and energy to fully leverage this very unique public diplomacy opportunity. My deputy commissioner general, Tom Cooney, who is the chief public affairs officer at the consulate, in describing this opportunity has said that there will be more Chinese visiting our pavilion in just six months than the entire China mission will see in more than 20 years.
Madam Secretary, you will be pleased to know that my Chinese is now perfect. (Laughter.) Unfortunately, it is limited to about 10 words. My favorite phrase, however, is (in Chinese), meaning “Welcome, and enjoy this show.” I look forward to saying that to you when you visit in a few weeks and to all of you who will be coming to Shanghai for World Expo. On behalf of all of us here in Shanghai, thank you for including us in this celebration.
We now have a special guest joining us live from the Expo opening ceremonies. I think we have Ambassador Jon Huntsman.
AMBASSADOR HUNTSMAN: Jose, I am here. And all I can say is that your Chinese seems to be getting better with each passing week, my friend. Thank you for your excellent work. We appreciate it so very much.
To Secretary Clinton and all of our friends there, I’m coming to you live from the banks of the Huangpu River in Shanghai. We’ve just had one of the most extraordinary fireworks displays and opening ceremonies I think you could ever imagine, and all you have to do is think back to the opening of the Beijing Olympics, and it was about on that same scale.
Let me just say all of the thanks have been made, appropriately so. And all I want to do is to say that eight months ago when I started this most remarkable job, there wasn’t a strong sense that we would get to the finish line. And there was one person who really did push things along in a way that brought all of the pieces together, generated the enthusiasm, got (inaudible) raised and ultimately brought us to where we are today, and that is you, Secretary Clinton. And I just want to thank you because this is such a huge boost for the bilateral relationship.
We’re moving in a very helpful direction. It was so nice to hear from DCM (inaudible), and I want to thank him and all of his colleagues as well. We’re working through a lot of very important bilateral issues, and the fact that we can all take a moment and gather here under the banner of the Expo is just a remarkable thing.
Tomorrow morning, we will have the great opportunity, along with Jose and Consul General Bea Camp, of opening our doors to the people of China. And what is unique about this is we will be building, I think, a very lasting and durable bridge across the Pacific. We’ll have millions of young people who will be streaming through our pavilion, and many of them for the first time exposed to who we are in the United States. They will be able to better understand and better appreciate some of our finest traditions, and we’re looking forward to greeting them and to playing host to them over the next six months. And I can tell you, when all is said and done, when all 70 million or so people have been through the Expo and a good number of them exposed to the U.S. Pavilion, I think our bilateral relationship will be reaching a high point for the year. And it makes me, as the United States representative here, extremely proud.
So thank you, Secretary Clinton. Thank you, Jose. Thanks to one and all: our sponsors, our volunteers, people who have worked so tirelessly the last many, many months. It’s a thrill to be here in China right now and to see this relationship come to life in large part because of your work. Thank you all so very much. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you so much, Ambassador. And thank you for the extraordinary job you’re doing representing the United States in China.
Well, we heard from the Ambassador. We heard from the Commissioner. And then starting tomorrow, we’re going to hear from the millions of visitors who come to the Pavilion. And I hope that many of you in this room get a chance to visit in the next six months. I will be going to the Pavilion when I go to China for the second of our strategic and economic dialogues, and I just really believe that the people-to-people connections that we are trying to promote are the base of a long-lasting relationship.
So thanks to everyone who has been part of what is an extraordinary effort. And I hope that you know how grateful we are here at the State Department that you played a role in enabling this remarkable effort to reach fruition. This is an exciting time and I hope all of you in Shanghai will enjoy every minute of it. I guess it’s about 10:30 at night there, and I thank you for being part of our ceremony here today. And I’m looking forward to seeing all of you when I get to Shanghai. Thank you very, very much. (Applause.)
Friday, April 30, 2010
Video & Text: Secretary Clinton's Remarks at Reception for the Opening of the USA Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo
Daily Appointments Schedule for April 30, 2010
April 30, 2010
SECRETARY OF STATE CLINTON
10:00 a.m. Secretary Clinton celebrates the Opening of the USA Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo at a Reception Hosted by the Office for Global Partnership Initiatives, at the Department of State.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)
10:30 a.m. Secretary Clinton holds a Bilateral Meeting with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al Sabah, at the Department of State.
(JOINT PRESS AVAILABILITY FOLLOWING BILATERAL MEETING AT APPROXIMATELY 11:05 A.M.)
1:15 p.m. Secretary Clinton holds a Bilateral Meeting with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, at the Department of State.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING BILATERAL MEETING)
2:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with Afghan Presidential Advisor Ashraf Ghani, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)
3:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton officiates at the 152nd Foreign Service Officer Orientation Class Swearing-In Ceremony, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Remarks At the American Jewish Committee Annual Gala DinnerHillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateGrand Hyatt HotelWashington, DCApril 29, 2010
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all. Well, it is wonderful to be back here at the American Jewish Committee and I thank David for that introduction. What he was really trying to say was that it was very dull in Chappaqua before we came to town. (Laughter.) David is an extraordinary leader. He inspires your confidence and your trust and your affection, and I thank him for his decades of service to this important work.
I also want to thank Richard Sideman, Bob Elman, all the leaders and staff and members who make the American Jewish Committee a force for peace and progress here at home and around the world. And I am delighted – (applause) – yes, give yourselves a round of applause. (Applause.)
I am delighted to be here with three of my colleagues and three of my friends. Many of you know one or more of them, but it is a pleasure to be appearing before you with Minister Verhagen from the Netherlands, someone whom I have worked closely with over the last 15 months; Miguel Angel Moratinos, the very experienced foreign minister of Spain and someone who is just absolutely tireless in his efforts on behalf of his country and now as the holder of the presidency of the European Union as well; and my longtime friend Ehud Barak, who has had nearly as many incarnations in public service as I have. (Laughter and applause.) Ehud and I had a wonderful meeting the other day here in Washington and covered a lot of ground. And as friends do, much was said and much didn’t need to be said. So I’m delighted that he is here with us as well.
This organization for more than a century has been a voice for the aspirations of the Jewish people for a secure and democratic homeland. We saw the pictures flashing before us on the screen – the faces of those who have made Israel their home and those who have made America our home. You have fought for the core values that make this country great –equality and religious freedom, civil rights and women’s rights, a freer, fairer nation in which every child has the opportunity to live up to his or her God-given potential.
So let me first thank you, thank all of you, for everything you do on behalf of the United States of America and our ideals and values. Because at the core, our relationship with Israel is premised on those values. (Applause.)
There are so many ways that the American Jewish Committee has advanced and spoken to the enduring bond between the United States and Israel. AJC recognizes that we are two nations woven together with our stories, our stories of struggle and triumph, of hope and disappointment. We are beacons for pilgrims and people yearning to be free. We are lands built by immigrants and exiles, given life by democratic principles, and sustained by the service and sacrifice of generations of patriots. We have seen our cities and our citizens targeted by terrorists. And Americans and Israelis alike have met these threats with unyielding resolve.
For all of our similarities, though, we know that Israel faces unique challenges. A nation forced to defend itself at every turn, living under existential threat for decades. We Americans may never fully understand the implications of this history on the daily lives of Israelis – the worry that a mother feels watching a child board a school bus or a child watching a parent go off to work. But we know deep in our souls that we have an unshakable bond and we will always stand not just with the Government of Israel but with the people of Israel. (Applause.)
Since our first day in office, the Obama Administration has made the pursuit of peace and secure and recognized borders for Israel a priority because that is, we believe, the best way to safeguard Israel’s long-term future as a democratic Jewish state. (Applause.) As President Obama has said, a strong and secure Israel – and an Israel at peace with its neighbors – is critical not only to the interests of Israelis and Palestinians, but vital to our own strategic interests.
That is why the United States is fighting against anti-Semitism in international institutions – our special envoy for anti-Semitism is traveling the world as we speak, raising the issue at the highest levels of countries from one end of the world to the next. It is why we led the boycott of the Durban Conference. (Applause.) It is why we repeatedly and vigorously voted against and spoke out against the Goldstone Report. (Applause.) And it is why we have worked to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge, providing nearly $3 billion in annual military assistance. When I became Secretary of State, I asked my longtime defense and foreign policy advisor from my years in the Senate, Andrew Shapiro, to personally manage our defense consultations with Israel. And today, I am proud to say our partnership is broader, deeper, and more intense than ever before. (Applause.)
So our commitment to, and our belief in and our interest in, a strong and secure Israel is also why the President and I asked Senator George Mitchell to serve as our Special Envoy for Middle East Peace. He is working toward the goal of restarting good-faith negotiations between the parties and moving toward an outcome of two states, living side by side in peace and security, with a comprehensive regional peace that brings an end to the conflict between Israel and Syria, and Israel and Lebanon, and normal relations between Israel and all the Arab states. (Applause.)
President Obama noted recently that there has been some of what he called “noise and distortion” about this Administration’s approach in the Middle East. Over the past month, we have attempted to remove any ambiguity. The President and this Administration have repeatedly reaffirmed our commitment to Israel’s security in word and in deed.
And last month at AIPAC’s national conference, I spoke about the challenge that continuing conflict poses to Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state. How dynamics of ideology, technology, and demography make the status quo unsustainable for the long term and make the pursuit of peace a necessity. And two weeks ago at the Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, I highlighted the urgency of the struggle between those in the region, especially in the Palestinian territories, who seek peace and progress and those who seek to perpetuate conflict.
Well, tonight I want to focus on the regional threats to Israel’s security and the imperative of reaching a comprehensive regional peace that will help defuse those threats. Because without a comprehensive regional peace, the Middle East will never unlock its full potential, and Israel will never be truly secure. Pursuing peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and Israel and its neighbors can be a mutually reinforcing process, and today it is more essential than ever to make progress on all tracks.
Israel is confronting some of the toughest challenges in her history, in a region where too many still reject Israel’s right to exist.
Israelis have always guarded their borders vigilantly. But because of the ever-evolving technology of war, Israeli families now face dangers from far beyond their borders. Hamas and Hezbollah continue to trumpet the false and intolerable claim that a Palestinian state can somehow be achieved someday through violence. They have stockpiled tens of thousands of increasingly sophisticated rockets in Gaza and southern Lebanon – rockets they aim at Israeli homes and civilians. Now Hamas has circulated a hateful video mocking the family of Gilad Shalit. It is cruel and it is an outrage. And in the face of this inhumanity, we say again, as we have many times before: Gilad Shalit must be released immediately and returned to his family. (Applause.)
We have spoken out forcefully about the grave dangers of Syria's transfer of weapons to Hezbollah. We condemn this in the strongest possible terms and have expressed our concerns directly to the Syrian Government. Transferring weapons to these terrorists – especially longer-range missiles – would pose a serious threat to the security of Israel. It would have a profoundly destabilizing effect on the region. And it would absolutely violate UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which bans the unauthorized importation of any weapons into Lebanon.
We do not accept such provocative and destabilizing behavior – nor should the international community. President Assad is making decisions that could mean war or peace for the region. We know he's hearing from Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas. It is crucial that he also hear directly from us, so that the potential consequences of his actions are clear. That’s why we are sending an ambassador back to Syria. There should be no mistake, either in Damascus or anywhere else: The United States is not reengaging with Syria as a reward or a concession. Engagement is a tool that can give us added leverage and insight, and a greater ability to convey strong and unmistakably clear messages aimed at Syria’s leadership. (Applause.)
Iran, with its anti-Semitic president and hostile nuclear ambitions, also continues to threaten Israel, but it also threatens the region and it sponsors terrorism against many. The United States has worked with the international community to present the leaders in Tehran with a clear choice: Uphold your international obligations and reap the benefits of normal relations, or face increased isolation and painful consequences. At every turn, Iran has met our outstretched hand with a clenched fist. But our engagement has helped build a growing global consensus on the need to pressure Iran’s leaders to change course. We are now working with our partners at the United Nations to craft tough new sanctions. The United States is committed to pursuing this diplomatic path. But we will not compromise our commitment to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. (Applause.)
So these threats to Israel’s security are real, they are growing, and they must be addressed. And we are working closely with our Israeli partners to do so.
The United States continues to support the development of Israeli air and missile defense systems, including the Arrow Weapon System for long-range ballistic missile threats and David’s Sling for short-range ballistic missiles. We first deployed Patriots to Israel during the Gulf War. And today we are working with Israel to upgrade its Patriots. We have also deployed an advanced radar system to provide early warning of incoming missiles. The Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that Israel has all of the tools it needs to protect and defend itself.
I have spoken with families whose homes are threatened by rockets. People who live according to the wail of bomb alerts and sirens. I have met with the victims of terrorism. In their hospital rooms I’ve held their hands, I’ve listened to the doctors describe the shrapnel lodged in a leg, an arm, or a head. Guaranteeing Israel’s security is more than a policy position for me; it is a personal commitment. (Applause.)
I know you share this commitment. You feel it at your core. And all of us who are dedicated to Israel’s future must recognize that a comprehensive regional peace that isolates the terrorists, ends the conflicts with Israel’s neighbors, brings normal relations with all the Arab states is far better than any missile shield or defensive battery.
Regional peace must begin with the recognition by every party that the United States will always stand behind Israel’s security and, as President Obama put it recently, “no wedge will be driven between us. Now, we will have our differences, but when we do, we will work to resolve them as close allies.” (Applause.) Israel’s right to exist, and to defend itself, is not negotiable. (Applause.) And no lasting peace will be possible unless that fact is accepted.
But similarly, Palestinians must have a state of their own. They must be able to travel, conduct business, govern themselves, and enjoy the dignity of a sovereign people. (Applause.) There can be no equivocating on this either.
And the only way to achieve a two-state solution is through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. So we will do everything we can to support such negotiations. We are literally working around the clock to move forward with proximity talks, which we hope then will set the stage for a resumption of direct negotiations on all permanent status issues as soon as possible.
We believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can agree to an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the ‘67 lines, with agreed swaps, and Israel’s goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israel’s security requirements. (Applause.)
The United States recognizes that Jerusalem is a deeply, profoundly, important issue for Israelis and Palestinians, for Jews, Muslims, and Christians. And we believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem and safeguards its status for people around the world.
Now, simultaneously moving toward a broader regional peace will help set the conditions for that outcome. As I’ve said, these are mutually reinforcing tracks.
But this will not be easy – and I recognize the frustration after years of false starts and failed hopes. But peace is possible. Think back. In 1978, after years of conflict, Egypt and Israel put away their guns and they made a peace that has stood the test of time. And in 1994, I watched as King Hussein of Jordan and Prime Minister Rabin of Israel signed a treaty in the desert that effectively ended decades of war.
These were clear-eyed, realistic, hard-headed leaders who recognized that war would not serve their nations’ long-term interests and brought their people along. As Yitzhak Rabin said on that blistering hot afternoon, “Leaders should clear the path, should show the way, but the road itself must be paved by both peoples.” The peace they made that day has held. As has the peace of Sadat and Begin. Israel, Egypt, and Jordan are all better off – and the goal of a comprehensive peace more likely as a result.
For the Arab states, pursuing peace with Israel is the best way to help achieve the goal of an independent Palestinian state. For everyone who proclaims their support of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, who cares more about the results than the rhetoric, there is no other path.
Around the world, people who have never been to Israel and never met a Palestinian are waiting for an end to the conflict in the Middle East. When I traveled the world as a First Lady, in a time of hope for the peace process, it was rare to hear people in places far from the region even mention the issue. But now, I have to tell you, wherever I go, it invariably is the first, second, or third concern on every agenda. And in every country, my answer is the same: Become part of the solution. Support the peacemakers and condemn the rejectionists. Invest with those who seek to build credible institutions and find common ground. Close your doors to those who traffic in violence and hate. All of us who care about the future have a responsibility to help shape it. (Applause.)
Because as Yitzhak Rabin said, ultimately, the leaders and the people of the region must provide the vision for peace and the will to realize it. The Arab Peace Initiative offers such a vision, a vision of a better future for all of the people of the Middle East. It rests on the bargain that peace between the Israelis and Palestinians will bring recognition and normalization from the Arab states. It is time to advance this proposal with actions, not just words.
We do not expect the Arab states to move forward in a vacuum. Israel must do its part by respecting the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, stopping settlement activity, addressing the humanitarian needs in Gaza, and supporting the institution-building efforts of the Palestinian Authority.
And Palestinians must continue their efforts to take responsibility and accountability for security in the West Bank. They must be vigilant in their work to stop incitement and prevent violence and terror. And they must press forward with the institutional and economic reforms under President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad’s leadership, which we support.
And both sides should refrain from unilateral statements and actions that could undermine trust or prejudge – or appear to prejudge – the outcome of negotiations.
So we will continue to emphasize the responsibilities of Israelis and Palestinians, who must ultimately themselves negotiate a two-state solution. But there are also clear expectations of the Arab states. They have an interest in a stable and secure region. And they should take steps that show Israelis, Palestinians, and their own people that peace is possible and there will be tangible benefits if it is achieved.
First, all states must stop supplying weapons to terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. (Applause.) Every rocket smuggled into southern Lebanon or Gaza sets back the cause of peace.
Second, the Arab states can and should continue to provide President Abbas with the support he needs to negotiate in good faith with Israel.
Third, they could do more to support the Palestinian Authority budget and its two-year development plan. The long-term success of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad’s efforts to build the institutions of a future Palestinian state depend on a larger, steadier, and more predictable source of financial support from the international community. The United States has done our part – (applause). We have become the Palestinian Authority’s largest bilateral donor, and Europe also has stepped up to help. Arab states need to share a greater portion of these responsibilities. (Applause.) The two-year plan to build a Palestinian state that provides security, good governance, and economic opportunities is an essential investment in the future and a necessary foundation for peace and security.
Fourth, as negotiations proceed between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and mutual confidence increases, Arab states should reach out to the Israeli public, demonstrating that Israel’s isolation in the region is ending, and all states should resume multilateral discussions on critical regional issues. We would hope to see such concrete steps like the opening or reopening of commercial trade offices and interest sections, overflight rights, postal routes, and more people-to-people exchanges that build trust at the grassroots level. All the people of the region need concrete evidence of the benefits that peace will bring.
Because there are benefits. One durable multilateral partnership that grew out of the Oslo years is the Middle East Desalination Research Center. It brings together Arab states, the Palestinian Authority, and Israel to develop practical solutions to regional water challenges. Together, they are exploring new, greener production methods, including solar desalination, and working to reduce costs so more people across the region have access to fresh water. The United States and a number of our international partners are proud that we helped launch this project, and we appreciate the partnership of the American Jewish Committee in this effort. (Applause.) I understand that the director and deputy director of the Center are both here with us tonight. This project is an example of the shared dividends that cooperation can yield. It is proof that Israelis, Palestinians, and Arabs can put aside differences and work together.
Nearly a year ago in Cairo, President Obama called for a new spirit of partnership in the region and beyond, with broader engagement on education, economic development, health, science and technology. This week in Washington, the Administration hosted entrepreneurs, investors, civil society leaders and academics from more than 50 nations for a summit geared toward building those new partnerships.
Peace, both between Israel and the Palestinians and between Israel and her neighbors, will take us one step closer to fulfilling that vision. It will open so many new avenues of cooperation, from conserving scarce natural resources to promoting broad-based and sustainable economic development to preventing the looming threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. There are so many common challenges and common interests that the people of this region share.
And perhaps most of all, the people deserve an end to the culture of fear and hostility that has dominated their lives for decades. Israelis deserve to live in a secure and democratic Jewish state. Palestinians deserve a state to call their own, with dignity and opportunity. A two-state solution coupled with a regional peace promises a future of prosperity. The status quo promises only more violence and failed aspirations.
The Obama Administration will continue making this case forcefully and frequently. We know we cannot and will not impose a solution. It is up to the parties themselves. (Applause.) They must negotiate, compromise, and ultimately resolve this conflict. (Applause.) That is the only path that leads to security and prosperity. But the United States is committed to being an active partner for peace every step of the way.
The American Jewish Committee has been such a partner for so many years, and I thank you for that. And I want you to know that we will be with you, those Americans and Israelis who believe in this future that I have described. And may God bless you, may God bless Israel, and may God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
Video: Secretary Clinton's Remarks With Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski **UPDATED**Photos**
So, having cooled off about the news, I am not going to give Time Magazine a link or traffic for having ignored in their "Most Influential" issue our Secretary of State, the most influential woman on this planet. Oh, except to ask her to write the blurb for Nancy Pelosi whom they DID list. Hillary Clinton was characteristically gracious and honored the request. I find that request from Time rather crass, since many of us voted for our SOS in that poll. I also find it misleading to call it a poll since the woman who made the picks was on The Today Show this morning and explained how she picked the 100. If I say any more I will say too much.
*zips mouth/duct tapes fingers/clicks to post*
Remarks With Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski
Remarks With Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski After Their Meeting
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
April 29, 2010
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am very pleased to welcome someone who has become a friend and is a very valued colleague to the State Department. Foreign Minister Sikorski is a very eloquent advocate for the interests and values not only of Poland and not only of Europe, but more generally of universal values, and in particular the value of democracy.
Poland has been in the thoughts and prayers of all Americans in the wake of such a tragedy that took the lives of the president, the first lady, and many distinguished citizens. And I know how deeply President Obama regretted not being able to attend the funeral. And I would like once again to offer my deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to all the people of Poland. Poland’s sorrow is great – we saw the Polish Embassy here in Washington covered with flowers and candles left in remembrance – and I was honored to represent our government and our country in going to the Embassy and meeting with the ambassador and expressing directly our deep sorrow. But the Polish people have responded with resilience and determination once again, in a history that has often called on them to do so, and we express not only our sympathy but our admiration.
Next week, Poland will celebrate the 219th anniversary of its first constitution – the first in Europe, actually. And that is yet another opportunity to honor our shared democratic values and aspirations, our common commitment to freedom, human rights and the rule of law, and to reaffirm our faith in Poland’s very bright future.
The United States is proud to call Poland one of our closest friends and allies. As a member of NATO, our commitment to Poland’s security is absolute and rock solid.
We deeply appreciate Poland’s contributions to the NATO mission in Afghanistan and we mourn with Poland the sacrifice of its soldiers and salute their service. We particularly welcome the recent decision to deploy 600 more Polish troops to serve side by side with U.S. forces in the effort to combat violent extremism and support the people of Afghanistan as they build a more peaceful and prosperous future.
Today, the minister and I confirmed that we are renewing our Strategic Dialogue. Through this forum, we will collaborate on important issues such as political and economic stability in Poland’s eastern neighborhood, NATO’s strategic concept, missile defense, economic and investment opportunities, and energy security.
The relationship that we have is already very deep and broad, but we believe we can achieve additional concrete progress. And today was just the beginning. Our Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Assistant Secretary Phil Gordon, and the Polish Under Secretary of State will combine to drive this process forward together.
So let me again thank the Minister for this visit, for his friendship, and for our partnership.
FOREIGN MINISTER SIKORSKI: Thank you, Hillary. And I would like to thank you personally, the President of the United States, and the American people for the many expressions of condolences and of support in this testing time. Poland responded emotionally when you had your tragedy on 9/11 and we felt that you felt our pain when we lost so many good people two weeks ago. But as you say, Polish democracy is strong, our constitution has stood the test, and Poland remains a predictable and solid member of NATO, the European Union, and Community of Democracies.
I am delighted that we’ve re-launched the Strategic Dialogue between our countries. We have recently signed and ratified the Status of Forces Agreement, which means that we can proceed on the practical implementation of the political declaration that binds us together, and on the newly proposed MD agreement.
I am delighted that in addition to the strong security relationship between Poland and the United States, we will be working together on promoting democracy worldwide. And I am delighted that you have accepted my invitation to come to Poland both on a bilateral basis and as a member of the distinguished group of ministers from leading democracies who will meet in Krakow from the 2nd to the 4th of July of this year to re-launch the Community of Democracies, something that was set up 10 years ago by our predecessors, Madeleine Albright and Bronisław Geremek. In those days, it was fashionable to talk about the end of history, because it seemed like democratic capitalism was the only game in town. Well, we feel that our commitment to democratic free market now needs to be reconfirmed, because there are, unfortunately, attractive alternatives. And that’s why we are convening the meeting of the Community of Democracies, and I’m very glad that you will be there.
And thirdly, we have had a meeting at the political level of our people working on issues to do with energy, both nuclear energy and prospecting for gas and for other forms of energy. This could be a vital Polish-American project and I’d like to confirm, on behalf of the Polish Government, that we support American companies that are exploring in Poland. And we hope that if they strike it lucky, that this will enhance Poland’s, Europe’s energy security and forge new investment links between Poland and the United States.
I was also very glad to be able to meet General Jim Jones yesterday and this morning, Secretary of Defense Gates. And we’re grateful for his confirmation that the United States will materially appreciate our participation in the Afghan mission by supplying to us additional 24 mine resistance – mine-resistant vehicles, which of course will help to protect the lives of Polish soldiers. We are there as part of the NATO mission. We’ve gone in together and we will also leave Afghanistan together.
MR. CROWLEY: We have time for one question on each side. We’ll start with Courtney Kube from NBC.
QUESTION: Thank you. Madam Secretary, if I could just ask you, earlier this week, the Mexican Government issued a travel warning, warning its citizens against traveling to the U.S. because of the new Arizona immigration legislation. What’s your reaction to the travel warning? Have you had any direct talks with any of your Mexican officials on this? Have they expressed concern? And then – and has this hurt the overall U.S. and Mexico relationship?
And then if I could ask a quick one on Iran since we only have one question? (Laughter.) President Ahmadinejad has requested a visa to travel to New York next week. Are you concerned at all that his presence at the conference will distract from the overall message or take away from your goals there?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say that we are always in consultation on a broad range of matters with our Mexican counterparts. We are looking forward to President Calderon’s visit in just about three weeks here to Washington, a state visit that will mean a great deal not only to this Administration, but to the millions of Mexican Americans who enrich the culture, the economy, and the future of the United States.
There are a number of issues to discuss. It’s not a surprise that the Mexican Government has registered its very strong concern about the legislation passed across their border in Arizona, but so has President Obama and others. So we will be working to understand and try to mitigate the concerns on that and other issues with the Mexicans. We are deeply committed to supporting President Calderon in his courageous fight against the drug trafficking, crime, and gangs that have stalked Mexico increasingly along the border that we share. So there’s a lot to discuss and it will be a long agenda and a very comprehensive meeting when he arrives.
With respect to Iran, the purpose of the Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference, which opens Monday at the United Nations, is to recommit nations to the principal pillars of the NPT regime – disarmament, nonproliferation, and the peaceful use of civilian nuclear energy. So the United States comes to this conference having demonstrated with our recent treaty signing between President Obama and Medvedev our commitment to further disarmament. We are also committed to nonproliferation, an issue that was at the core of the recent Nuclear Security Summit here in Washington. And we are discussing with many countries, including Poland, how to acquire and safeguard and utilize civilian nuclear energy.
That is the purpose of our going to New York. I don’t know what the purpose that Iran sees because their record of violations of the nonproliferation obligations that they assumed as a signatory to the NPT is absolutely indisputable. They have been subjected to critical reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency in recent months, laying out a very clear set of concerns and questions that the international community has about the program that they have pursued, including covert facilities like the one disclosed last fall at Qom. They are consistently violating United Nations security resolutions about their nuclear program.
So if President Ahmadinejad wants to come and announce that Iran will abide by their nonproliferation requirements under the NPT, that would be very good news indeed, and we would welcome that. But if he believes that by coming he can somehow divert attention from this very important global effort or cause confusion that might possibly throw into doubt what Iran has been up to, about which I don’t think there is any room for doubt, then I don’t believe he will have a particularly receptive audience.
We have seen in the last months growing awareness in the international community of nations that the path Iran is on poses a threat. And there is unanimity in our efforts to try to dissuade Iran. We are in the midst, as you know, of discussions with our partners at the United Nations on sanctions that could change the calculus of the Iranian leadership as to their pursuit of nuclear weapon development.
So we wait and see what he has to say. But the mission of those of us going to New York to review, revise, and reinvigorate the NPT regime is very clear. If that’s not his mission, then it won’t be a particularly useful or productive trip on his part.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. Madam Secretary, some experts and diplomats say that President Barack Obama turns his back on Europe and that European Union actually loses ground in Washington. What can be the reason for such comments that there is, you know, pressing – that there is no pressing issue going on between the European Union and the United States that it’s settling, or rather that being friendly with Europe doesn’t play well in American domestic politics? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I have to just reject the premise of the question from the experts and the diplomats that you refer to, because I don’t think there’s any basis to it. The President has made very clear not only his personal but this Administration’s commitment to our relationship with Europe and our bilateral relationships with countries such as Poland.
In the first year of his Administration, he visited Europe several times. As you know, he had a number of meetings with European leaders and representatives in both bilateral and multilateral settings. He made his groundbreaking speech about nuclear nonproliferation and moving toward a world, eventually, of zero nuclear weapons in Prague, came back with Medvedev to sign that treaty. We have a very vigorous effort underway with the EU on energy independence – you heard Minister Sikorski reference that – because we believe that it’s in Europe’s interest, that we believe are also in the United States’ and the transatlantic alliance’s interest for Europe to develop greater energy security. We are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our NATO allies in Afghanistan. There’s a very long list.
And I think that when the President had dinner in Prague with the heads of state or government of, I think, 11 or 12 Central and Eastern European nations, it was another reaffirmation of our strong ties with Europe, our commitment to Europe’s security, and our very clear sense that the United States and Europe have to stand together in this community of democracies on behalf of shared values.
So having been involved in American politics for a very long time, I think I am on extremely safe ground in saying to you that there is absolutely no constituency in our country to lessen our relationship with Europe, that in fact there’s a great deal of pride that is felt by Americans who trace their ancestry back to Europe in the strong and unshakable bond of friendship and partnership that exists.
Here is their Joint Statement.
Joint Statement on the U.S. and Poland Bilateral Strategic Dialogue
Office of the Spokesman
April 29, 2010
The following is the text of a joint statement by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski on the occasion of the re-launch of our bilateral Strategic Dialogue.
Today the Governments of the United States and the Republic of Poland have agreed to re-launch our bilateral Strategic Dialogue, a forum for consultation and cooperation on global and regional issues of mutual interest to both our countries.
Poland and the United States are bound together by common values, rooted in the shared pursuit of individual freedom, democracy and human rights. Today we held wide-ranging discussions on issues of import to both our countries. We discussed ways in which the United States might cooperate with and support the European Union’s Eastern Partnership Initiative; our approaches to NATO’s evolving new Strategic Concept and the future development of Alliance missile defense capabilities, and acknowledged the importance of our common mission in Afghanistan.
We underlined the importance of the 10th anniversary of the Community of Democracies, marked this July by a conference in Krakow, Poland, which the Secretary will attend. In parallel with this meeting, top U.S. and Polish officials held productive discussions on energy security and science and technology cooperation, areas that will feature prominently in future sessions of the Strategic Dialogue. We agreed to continue high-level discussions on energy security. We look forward to continued consultations within the framework of the Strategic Dialogue.
Daily Appointments Schedule for April 29, 2010Washington, DC
April 29, 2010
SECRETARY OF STATE CLINTON
8:00 a.m. Secretary Clinton calls Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)
10:00 a.m. Secretary Clinton attends the Funeral for Dr. Dorothy Height, at the Washington National Cathedral.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)
1:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton holds a Bilateral Meeting with Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, at the Department of State.
(JOINT PRESS AVAILABILITY FOLLOWING BILATERAL MEETING AT APPROXIMATELY 2:05 P.M.)
3:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton attends a Meeting, at the White House.
(MEDIA TO BE DETERMINED BY WHITE HOUSE)
4:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with President Obama, at the White House.
(MEDIA TO BE DETERMINED BY WHITE HOUSE)
6:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton hosts the Annual Reception for Donors to the Diplomatic Reception Rooms, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)
7:15 p.m. Secretary Clinton delivers Remarks at the American Jewish Committee Annual Gala Dinner, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I think you will agree that this deserves a post of its own. When I find more, and especially if a video becomes available I will post separately, but I simply HAD to share this NOW! Totally Keatsian moment. She deserves an ode. How gorgeous is she? Comment in ode please, if you can.
Here are a few events and an update on tomorrow.
Remarks With Honduran Foreign Minister Mario Canahuati Before Their Meeting
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
April 28, 2010
SECRETARY CLINTON: I want to welcome the foreign minister of Honduras here today. He’s been in Washington holding a series of meetings with a number of officials both from our government and others as well. And I’m looking forward to my conversation with him.
As I have said on numerous occasions, I think that the steps that President Lobo and his government have taken deserve our support, and we want to work with the government and the people of Honduras to get them back fully on the path of democracy, the rule of law, good governance. I had a long conversation a few weeks ago with President Lobo about his plans to try to improve the standard of living and the quality of life of the Honduran people, to deal with the drug trafficking and the crime that stalks all of Central America.
So, Minister, I appreciate your coming so that we can have an in-depth conversation about these and other issues.
FOREIGN MINISTER CANAHUATI: Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: If you would like to say anything, you’re welcome to.
FOREIGN MINISTER CANAHUATI: Well, it’s a great honor to be here with you. Our relationship with the U.S. have been (inaudible) on values and respond to the needs of the people. I think this is not just an approach where we want to review our relationship as governments, but really evaluate what we’re doing for our people.
Democracy has to do with opportunities, with strong institutions, with respect of human rights. And in this moment, our president has shown his commitment on the political side to move forward with initiatives like the Truth Commission, appointing a minister of human rights, which will be his advisor in terms of making sure that this issue, which is a state issue, is being managed the right way.
And the main, important thing for him is how to respond to the needs of the people. He believes that we have to change our economy in terms of making it more inclusive. We cannot have strong democracies when people are not being – that don’t have the increase of – the spaces to have increase of opportunity and increase of income.
So those are the challenges that we have as a country, and no doubt, we’re here to combine or to share these principles with Madam Secretary and see how we can work together. We cannot improvise anymore. This is not a matter of what’s happening with the government, with the people who are governing the countries, but with the people that are suffering because of the lack of decisions and because of the lack of consciousness, that there is people suffering because we’re more in control or we’re more aware about the decision we have to make in the political level, but in terms of the decision we have to make to respond to the needs of the people.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, sir.
FOREIGN MINISTER CANAHUATI: Thank you, Madam.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you all very much.
This has no video component.
Remarks to Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Staff Involved in Iran
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
April 28, 2010
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, this is really just a way of saying thank you. Thank you for the work you’re doing. It is such important work. We are incredibly grateful to you. And I am very convinced that it is vital to our national security and our foreign policy.
When we don’t have an embassy, we don’t have an ambassador, where normal diplomatic channels don’t exist for us, we do really rely on Washington and field staff to inform our policies, to try to dispel myths, but also to confirm concerns and information that can be of importance to us as we go forward.
As you well know, the Obama Administration and our country remain committed to broader engagement in the region. We made very specific offers to the Iranians, including outreach by the President himself directly to the Iranians. And unfortunately, we didn’t get much of a positive response, and that was a disappointment and it was discouraging because we wanted to try to give the leaders in Tehran a clear choice to uphold their international obligations, enjoy the benefits, therefore, of normal relations with the United States, or face increasing isolation and the consequences.
But at every turn, unfortunately, the Iranians have rejected our overtures and remain to this day in a rejectionist mindset. But the fact that we have reached out, often based on information and insights that you have brought our way, has given us much more credibility in our dealings internationally, and therefore, the ability to build an international consensus on the need to apply pressure to Iran’s leaders to change course.
As you know, we’re working very hard in the United Nations right now with the members of the Security Council and particularly the P-5+1 to develop a resolution that would help really put that international pressure into action. We’re not targeting the people of Iran, but we are trying to focus on changing the calculation on the part of the leaders as to what is in their interests.
Now, our concern with Iran extends beyond our focus on their nuclear program. As you know, it also encompasses their grave human rights violations. And over the last year, as you have reported to us, so many Iranians have been subjected to arbitrary punishments, detention, brutalization by their own government. And we will continue speaking out about those abuses. When I leave here, I will be going to meet with the mothers of the three hikers who remain in prison. They’ve been given no notice of charges against them. They are, by every shred of evidence we have, three young people who were hiking in the Kurdish north of Iraq on a break from their studies and their work, and allegedly, crossed the border and were arrested.
So we are going to do all we can to try to get them released on humanitarian grounds. I know that when the international media turns to other stories, you remain focused on getting us the information we need to try to chart the best course forward with respect to Iran.
And we really need your continuing advice and your guidance. All of us understand the challenges of your jobs, and we really, really appreciate it.
Finally, (well not really, there will be more) there is this update about tomorrow.
Secretary Clinton to Deliver Remarks to the American Jewish Committee on April 29
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
April 28, 2010
Secretary Clinton will deliver remarks on the need to reach a comprehensive regional peace in the Middle East at the American Jewish Committee’s annual gala on April 29 at 7:20 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The Secretary’s speech will be her third in a series reaffirming the commitment of the United States to Israel’s security and making the case for peace. At AIPAC’s national conference on March 22, she spoke about the challenge that continuing conflict poses to Israel’s future, and how dynamics of ideology, technology and demography make the status quo unsustainable and the pursuit of peace a necessity. At the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace on April 15, she highlighted the urgency of the struggle between those in the region, especially in the Palestinian territories, who seek peace and progress and those who seek to perpetuate conflict.
Secretary Clinton will be introduced by American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos and Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Verhagen will also participate in the event.
Remarks With Tunisian Foreign Minister Kamel Morjane Before Their MeetingHillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateTreaty Room
April 28, 2010
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am pleased to welcome to the State Department Tunisia’s foreign minister. Minister Morjane is an experienced diplomat. He has a great deal of knowledge about the relationship between our two countries and the work and the role that Tunisia is playing not only in the region but more broadly. So we have a lot to talk about, and I am looking forward to our conversation.FOREIGN MINISTER MORJANE: Thank you, Madam. Thank you, thank you. I must say that I am honored and pleased to be here, especially to meet with Her Excellency Mrs. Clinton. I think we all know the good relations which exist between our two countries for a long time. Some people are saying it go back to two centuries.
SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s right.
FOREIGN MINISTER MORJANE: And this is mainly for me a mission in order to see how we can reinforce this relation in all fields and in all domains, because we want this relation to be a strategic partnership between our two nations. I’m very pleased, Madam, and thank you for the invitation.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. My pleasure, Minister. Thank you all very much.
Remarks at Breakfast With Women Entrepreneurs Attending the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues
Ben Franklin Room
April 28, 2010
AMBASSADOR VERVEER: Thank you all. It is now my distinct pleasure to welcome someone who truly understands the power of entrepreneurship, and particularly the potential of women-run small and medium-sized businesses to drive economic growth. She knows that when women progress, countries progress. In her travels around the world, she has gone out of her way to meet with women who are advancing their societies and growing their countries’ economies. She recognizes both the potential of women’s economic leadership and the obstacles that still stand in their paths.
And that is why she has been a champion of women’s access to credit, to markets, to communications technology, to training and mentoring and so much more, and has brought her considerable leadership here to projects at the State Department, many of them public-private partnerships, like MEPI’s programs to grow women’s business leadership in the MENA region; like the State Department FORTUNE Vital Voices Mentoring Program; like Pathways to Prosperity and other initiatives to tap women’s potential for trade, from the African Growth Opportunity Act to APEC. And yesterday, she launched the Partners for a New Beginning that taps into America’s private sector expertise to support our outreach to Muslim communities around the world. I’m sure you felt the depth of her commitment yesterday in her closing speech at the Presidential Entrepreneurship Summit.
So please welcome the U.S. Secretary of State, a champion for social and economic entrepreneurs everywhere, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, thank you. Thank you all very much. Thank you. Well, it is such a pleasure to welcome you to the State Department, to have this opportunity to celebrate the contributions of women entrepreneurs around the world. The women in this room are proof that – if anyone still needed proof – that women are doers and achievers and thinkers and innovators, leaders, and problem-solvers. And we need each and every one of you to lend your entrepreneurial skill and energy to meeting the global challenges of this new century.
As I said yesterday, President Obama is committed to promoting entrepreneurship to help seed conditions for broader and deeper economic progress. And this week’s summit has focused on our efforts in Muslim majority countries. I know and you know that women are essential to this effort. There isn’t any way we can increase peace, prosperity, stability, and security throughout the world unless women are full partners – full partners in the home and the family, full partners in the community and the country and the world.
I believe so strongly that talent is universal, but opportunity is not. And what we’re doing is trying to pry open those doors of opportunity for more people to walk through – more people in Muslim majority countries and more women, specifically. Because the fact is that women still have a harder time accessing loans and equity capital investments. Women are still saddled with unfair and untrue assumptions that they are less capable of starting and running businesses. And these obstacles exist in the United States and they exist in every country in the world.
But we are determined to change that. Making women a focus of our foreign policy agenda here at the State Department comes naturally to me, but it’s not only the right thing to do; it is also the smart thing as well. Because as Melanne said, we believe that the evidence is overwhelming. We cannot expect countries to increase their economic standing in a sustainable way. We cannot expect there to be greater foundations built for security, democracy, opportunity, unless women are at the table.
Many of you are aware of and have participated in our partnerships, supporting the Middle East and North Africa Businesswomen’s Network. That has already helped 2,500 entrepreneurs and business and professional women in 12 countries develop their skills and talents not only in the business world, but beyond. Some women have even gone from business into politics and government, and we see that as all part of the same continuum. And it’s been a model of how public-private partnerships can tap into a reservoir of untapped potential, and that by creating networks of support, we can build locally driven and locally supported organizations that do bring about change. Now, MENA BWN has been so successful that it will launch in June as an independent, regional NGO. And just last week, Exxon Mobil agreed to make a $1.5 million, two-year investment supporting that effort. (Applause.)
And so this morning, I’m pleased to outline several new avenues we are pursuing to expand opportunities so more women can turn their entrepreneurial dreams and innovations into successful businesses that generate income for themselves and their families, create jobs, expand markets, and fuel progress in their communities.
I will never forget being in Nepal – and I was there with Melanne, who has been my partner throughout this last 18 years in all that we have done – and we were at a market display of women’s crafts. And there was a woman whose artistry in her fabric and tapestry was just so remarkable. And we began a conversation through an interpreter, as so many of these are, and I complimented her and she told me that she had been in purdah until relatively recently – had never left her home, had never been permitted when she had married, to go outside.
But then, her husband was injured and could no longer go out to work, and the family was in desperate straits. They lived, as was the tradition, with the husband’s family and the mother-in-law played the major role in the house. And they saw their income disappearing, they saw the food on their table becoming scarcer to feed the children in this extended family. And finally, this young woman I was speaking with got up the courage to say to her husband and to her mother-in-law, “Maybe I could sell what I make.” And finally, she was given permission to go out and do so. As a result of her talent and her skill, she now employed two other weavers and she now is sending her children to school and they had added onto their home. And so I said, “So what does your husband and your mother-in-law think now?” She said, “They think it’s good.” (Laughter.) (Applause.)
So here’s what we want to do that we hope will be good. First, through a program called Tech Women, we will enhance the technological capacity of women in seven Muslim majority countries, promising entrepreneurs in the tech field will be paired with American mentors and given four to six weeks of training in American tech centers such as Silicon Valley. (Applause.)
Second, we are working with Japan, the chair of APEC this year, to organize an APEC women’s entrepreneurship summit this fall in Japan, focusing on policy, human resources and financing issues. The aim is to galvanize the Asia-Pacific region to unleash the potential of women entrepreneurs and business leaders, and we’re very pleased that the 1,000 – the 10,000 Women’s Initiative, sponsored by Goldman Sachs, has agreed to be a sponsor of the summit. And we thank you so much for that. (Applause.)
Third, today we are launching the Secretary’s – that’s me – the Secretary’s – (laughter) –International Fund for Women and Girls. This public-private partnership will provide high-impact grants to NGOs working to advance the economic, social, and political progress of women. The women’s fund will bring together the resources and expertise of both the public and the private sectors to invest in effective and innovative solutions for issues like economic empowerment, climate change, combating violence against women, and improved access to education and healthcare. We know that everywhere in the world, on the ground, are groups of people who are taking these issues on. We want to be your partners and we want to help you learn what worked somewhere else.
I will never forget being in Managua, Nicaragua and there was a little television set in the corner of this market, and I was talking to women who were part of a microcredit organization. All they wanted to talk to me about was my visit to India, to the Self-Employed Women’s Association, which they had seen on their TV in Nicaragua, and they wanted to know what that was like.
A few months later, I was in Cape Town, South Africa with a group of women who were originally squatters and then became builders of their own communities, scraping together the money to buy the land, then to get the construction material, and they, too, wanted to know about the women that I had met elsewhere and what they could learn from them. We want not to reinvent the wheel every single time. If you’re facing obstacles, we want to help you overcome them. (Applause.)
And finally, I’m delighted to announce the creation of the Secretary’s Innovation Award for the Empowerment of Women and Girls. Through this effort, we hope to build on pioneering approaches to empowering women politically, economically, and socially around the world. This award will be funded by the Rockefeller Foundation – we’re going to hear about it in a minute – and it reflects the State Department’s increased emphasis on public-private partnerships as a way to address cross-cutting global challenges, particularly those affecting women and girls.
Now, we hope to receive entries that describe how specific innovations have improved the lives of women and girls and proposals for how they can be scaled up and applied more broadly. These entries will be reviewed by an eminent panel of jurors, chaired by Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women Issues Melanne Verveer, and Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin. The panel will recommend the first two recipients of the award in 2010, both of whom will receive up to a $500,000 grant to fund their programs. (Applause.)
And there are so many ideas that can fit into this, ideas – I remember being in Senegal and going out into the country to see a new kind of well that made it possible for women to get water in their own village instead of having to walk for hours. We’re working on a cook stove project so that we can provide safe and effective cook stoves for women so they don’t have to travel for miles to get trees and branches and look for scrub to light their stoves to feed their families. We’re looking for ways to end domestic violence by making it clear that it is a crime, ways to partner to end FGM, which is a health hazard to women, especially young girls, but then later in their reproductive years.
We have so many ideas that are not just, well, have a woman run for office or have a woman run a business, but change the conditions in which women live, change the attitude about sending girls to school, provide a fund so that girls have access to clean restrooms, so that they continue to go to school at the end of primary school when it becomes more difficult for them to do so if there is no safe, clean restroom. There’s so many ways that we can empower women. So we want to unleash the entrepreneurial creative imagination of all of you to help us.
Now, it is a privilege to have Dr. Judith Rodin here with me to launch this project. Judith is a friend, an inspiration, and a leader in many fields. For many years, she was the president of the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, she is leading the Rockefeller Foundation into new ways of finding innovative solutions to global problems. The foundation has always been at the forefront of efforts to combat disease, reduce poverty, improve housing, promote agricultural reform – they even spawned the so-called Green Revolution. Well, today, under Judith’s leadership, the foundation continues to pioneer new innovations for the challenges of our time.
And Judith, thank you so much for being our partner in this really important project. (Applause.)
MS. RODIN: Thank you so much, Secretary Clinton. Let me start by just saying how delighted the Rockefeller Foundation is to provide funding for this wonderful new award, the Secretary’s Innovation Award for Women and Girls’ Empowerment. And thank you, Secretary Clinton, Ambassador Verveer, for your long-term, longstanding leadership and, I must say, perseverance in keeping this issue at the forefront of public awareness.
I’d like to emphasize from our perspective why this and why now. Why is this particular approach so important, and why is now the right time to pursue it? The short answer is that in the experience of our colleagues at the Rockefeller Foundation, identifying innovation, scaling that innovation, and applying it to seemingly intractable problems, has been shown time and time again now to be hugely effective. And this approach is urgently needed with the focus on women’s empowerment because the gains we have made in this context – and you are all representatives of those gains – are not enough.
We all know the facts. Women still do two-thirds of the work in the world but only earn five percent of the income. They harvest 90 percent of the world’s food, yet they own only one percent of the world’s land. And women are three times as likely as men to work in informal economies. And therefore abuse and sex trafficking, and the absence of legal rights and protections for women are still unacceptably commonplace in so many places around the world. We must do more and we must do more with greater urgency to empower women. And we believe that a focus on scalable innovation can and will make a difference.
The Rockefeller Foundation is intently focused on leveraging and scaling local innovation to ensure that globalization’s benefits are more widely shared and that its burdens are more easily weathered to encourage more equitable growth and to strengthen resilience to risk. Now, leveraging innovation doesn’t only mean devising a great idea from the top down and pushing it down. In our experience, and I know in the experience of so many of you, scalable solutions are often found when we seek innovations where they occur, on the ground in local contexts.
Let me share one of my favorite examples of this approach to problem solving. Positive Deviance, one of our grantees, seeks out and identifies behaviors that enable outliers, or what they call positive deviants, to succeed where others have failed. Then they encourage the widespread adoption of these same behaviors. In Southeast Asia, for example, researchers at Positive Deviance visited a very impoverished Vietnamese village and they noticed that just a few children in this scattering of very poor families were in exceptionally good health. Upon closer examination, they discovered that in those households, the mothers didn’t wash away the shrimp and crabs found in the rice paddies before they cooked the rice. So they were adding, maybe unintentionally, protein to an otherwise carbohydrate diet. This technique, once unearthed, was promoted in one village and then spread to thousands. This is a small, user-driven innovation that really made an enormous difference on regional public health.
So we are looking for, encouraging, and scaling many types of innovations in a number of different contexts around the globe, and with great success in changing conditions that were previously thought to be intractable. That’s why we are so thrilled to be partnering with Secretary Clinton and the State Department to create this new mechanism to seek out and scale local innovations that are working. We’re going to identify and spread what’s working, bringing more attention and, as you heard, we hope a lot more money than we have been before. So these half a million dollar awards, which will go to two people, organizations, ideas that can be taken to scale a year, we think will call increasing attention and give increasing resources.
Many of these will, obviously, come from women. Women the world over, because of the challenges they confront, are instinctual innovators and they are energetic entrepreneurs. You know that; you are here in this room. Their drive and their ideas must be recognized and realized, but we must give you the resources to do this and take it to scale. I am confident that by the end of this year, when we announce our first two, and then in subsequent years we will be developing a cohort of ideas that go to scale and we will start to see a ripple across the world of innovation that promotes resilience, that advances opportunities for women and that empower women to shape their own future and the future of humanity.
We are very fortunate. We will add a few members to the jury, but we are already fortunate to be able to have helping us to make these awards Anne Mulcahy, Paul Farmer, Muhammad Yunus, Sheryl Sandberg, Cherie Blair, Beth Brooke, and Noeleen Heyzer. So we have a wonderful beginning panel and we intend to find all of the great ideas. We are so excited about this award and our partnership and about the hopeful future we can empower women around the world to build with our commitment and support, but most of all, most importantly, with their own ideas and their own innovation.
So thank you, Secretary Clinton, for being our partner. We really look forward to this exciting launch. Thank you. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, this project which we are so excited about is just one example of the ideas and the programs that we’ve announced over the last two days of the Entrepreneurship Summit. It’s what happens when we create networks and partnerships, when we share best practices and lessons learned, where we match the talents of people, particularly women, around the world with the opportunities that they can then seize for themselves.
So when you leave here today, I hope you will carry with you a renewed sense of possibility and a commitment to use your skill and energy to contribute to the growth and progress of your families, your communities, and your countries. Because I think – this is a biased statement, but (laughter) – I really believe that, together as women, we can and will help create a stronger, more stable, more secure, more prosperous, more peaceful world for ourselves and our children. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)