Secretary Clinton's Remarks at the Annual State Department Iftar

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
September 8, 2010

On September 7, Secretary Clinton hosted an Iftar at the State Department. Speaking at the dinner, the Secretary said, "We are delighted once again to have so many ambassadors and high-level diplomats from countries, but equally if not more exciting this year, we have 70 young American Muslim leaders who did take part in an event called 'Generation Change.' Now, these young people, if I might just say a few words about a few of them, have already accomplished extraordinary things. They have started programs to keep Pakistani girls from dropping out of high school; founded the first soccer league for Afghan girls; brought wounded Iraqi children to the United States for medical treatment. One 17-year-old boy from Connecticut organized a group of students to advocate for Middle East peace. And a recent University of Michigan graduate started a group that sends medical supplies to Africa. And a young woman from Chicago has become a prize-winning poet.

"...This kind of engagement, in my view, is really a form of diplomacy, and so all of you are unofficial ambassadors on behalf of our country, our values, and our own communities as well as yours. Our embassies now are sponsoring more events like “Generation Change” in order to listen to young people and to help connect up young people across the globe, to connect them with other change-makers.

"...Ramadan teaches and reinforces values that are honored by millions and tens and hundreds of millions of people from other faiths and beliefs. So tonight, while we celebrate together, let us consider how we can build broader and deeper bonds of mutual understanding, mutual respect and cooperation among people of all faiths in the year to come, here at home and abroad. And let us also reflect on how we can improve our efforts to ensure that we create more opportunity for more people in more places to live up to their own God-given potential.

"...Just in the past week, we are reminded by the resumption of Middle East peace talks that progress always, always must be possible in spite of difficulty. And when there is a willingness to engage, to convey respect to those of differing views, we can work toward reconciliation. In the end, I believe with all my heart that most people in the world are united by a shared desire for a peaceful future in which all our children, regardless of where they were born or how they worship, can have that opportunity to become all that they are meant to be in the name of the Almighty and in furtherance of our common humanity. In the weeks and months ahead, President Obama and I will do everything we can to help advance the cause of a comprehensive peace, not only in the Middle East, but across the world, and inside the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans."

The full text of her remarks is available here.

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