U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton participated today in a townterview hosted by KTR Studio in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Students from the American University of Central Asia and other universities, representatives of civil society organizations, and young professionals joined the discussion. During the townterview, Secretary Clinton said:
"...If you look at countries around the world, and you think to yourself, 'What are successful countries,' successful economically and politically that benefits the vast majority of their people, you need a good, functioning democratic government. You need a free market economy, properly regulated, that provides economic benefit to its people. And you need a strong, vibrant civil society. It's like a three-legged stool, in order to be stable.
"So, I think civil society has a very important role to play in Kyrgyzstan. And I would promote civil society. The United States, through our aid programs, support many organizations. In fact, universities are part of civil society, and our support for education here in Kyrgyzstan is a part of our commitment to civil society. So I am a very strong supporter, not because I have personal experience, so much as because I think civil society will be very positive for Kyrgyzstan. And it is not only an important part of a stable, democratic society, but it's also a way for young people often to get experience that they then can take either into government or into the private sector, because you acquire certain skills that will be beneficial to you."
You can read the full transcript of the townterview here. Secretary Clinton is traveling to Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, and Bahrain November 30 - December 3. Learn more about her trip here.