On February 23, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton participated in an online dialogue with Dr. Ahmed Ghanim of Egypt's Masrawy.com. During two days, the Egyptian people submitted more than 6,500 questions through Facebook, Twitter, and Masrawy.com for the Secretary.
Dr. Ghanim asked Secretary Clinton the first question from May Ahmed, a 25 year-old Egyptian woman. Ahmed asked, "...What is the purpose of this dialogue, actually this social media dialogue with Egyptian youth? And after you communicate with us to better understand what we are looking for, do you think that this interaction will help change the American policies toward Egypt?"
Secretary Clinton responded, "Well, first, let me thank her and the more than 6,500 other Egyptians who have sent questions, the vast majority of whom are young people using social media, as you just described. The purpose of this is to communicate directly, to hear from thousands of Egyptians about what is on your minds, what you are hoping to have happen now that this incredibly inspiring extraordinary moment in history has occurred.
"And the United States supports the aspirations of the Egyptian people. I have said that many times in the past. Late last year, I gave a speech in Doha where I said that the governments in the region were not listening to young people. So I want to do that, and I hope that leaders will do more of what we are doing today -- listen to your people directly. That doesn't mean we will always agree. I don't know any two people who agree on everything, let alone governments and people or between nations.
"But listen, and then let's try to figure out how we can realize the hopes and dreams that were expressed in Tahrir Square and that are so important for Egypt, such a great country that now has a chance to demonstrate what it means to be a democracy and to move forward into a better future."
During the wide-ranging interview, Secretary Clinton addressed democracy, civil society, and human rights in Egypt. She concluded the conversation with this message:
"...I am very proud of what Egyptian young people have done. You have set such an extraordinary example of nonviolent, peaceful protest. We have a history of that in our own country. That's how African Americans got the right to vote because of Dr. Martin Luther King and what we believed in. We saw it in India, which became the world's largest democracy because of Gandhi and nonviolence. I have always believed that nonviolent protest, well-organized and disciplined as I saw in Egypt, will bring down dictators, will change laws, will change the future.
"So I begin with an expression of great pride in what I've seen in the young people of Egypt. I would follow that by saying that I hope you will stay engaged and involved. And I hope you will understand that having brought down a regime and having made it clear you will settle for nothing other than democracy, that you understand it's going to take commitment and determination to translate the energy and the spirit of Tahrir Square into the day-to-day work of building a democracy.
"And your country needs you. Your country needs you more than ever. And we will stand with you. We want to be your partners. We are inspired by you and we believe in you. And the United States is ready to assist in any way that would be appropriate."
Read the full transcript of the conversation here.