On December 7, 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she met with Northern Ireland officials and discussed the peace process, the trilateral U.S.-Ireland Research and Development Partnership, and economic opportunities for Northern Ireland.
While in Belfast, the Secretary also attended an event hosted by The Ireland Funds -- a global fundraising network supporting programs of peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education, and community development in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In her remarks to The Ireland Funds, Secretary Clinton said: "...Democracy is a challenging form of self-government, but it is the best that has ever been invented by any human being, and therefore we have a lot to be both proud of and very careful to continue nurturing.
And for me, it is a reminder as well that we have to continue to make sure that the promise of peace is delivered. Because the progress in a democracy can never be taken for granted, even progress so hard-won as here. "I remember very well when Bill and I came 17 years ago this month. He was the first American president ever to set foot in Northern Ireland.
We stood behind a bulletproof screen to turn on Belfast's Christmas lights in front of a vast crowd that stretched so far I could not even find the end of it in any direction. And it was a moment of such hope. And it has been that image that has kept me going through any challenges that have come across my mind when I think about what lies ahead. I said this morning in Stormont that a little girl, Catherine, who was there that night, said that her Christmas wish was that peace and love would last in Ireland forever. That is an appropriate Christmas wish for this season as well."
You can read more about the Secretary's trip to Northern Ireland on www.state.gov.