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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Teaching Respect for All

Esther Brimmer
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Organization Affairs
Washington, DC
January 12, 2012


(As prepared remarks)

Hello, I’m Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs at the Department of State in Washington, DC. Today I’d like to take just a minute or two to ask for your definition of the word “respect.”

We can certainly go to the dictionary to find a definition, but in the complicated and connected world we all share today, that definition probably needs to be updated.

Think about words such as: Discrimination. Bullying. Prejudice. Racism. Could dealing with these problems guide us toward a definition of respect? What do you think?

I’m an American, a nation of immigrants from across the globe, where all cultures and languages flourish. This diversity is something we celebrate, but it also comes with challenges, and part of the American experience is striving to overcome issues that threaten to pull us apart rather than bring us together.

So, how do we overcome our differences? How do we demonstrate respect for all, and help build a culture of peace, dignity, and tolerance?

In just a few days, I will travel to Paris to help launch an exciting program to study these very issues. It’s a partnership among the United States, the government of Brazil, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, known as UNESCO. The project is called “Teaching Respect for All” and will eventually result in new classroom materials to help teach about respect, human rights, and the value we all bring to our communities.

I’d like your help in shaping this project. Send me your thoughts on what respect means to you, and how your community deals with issues of intolerance or discrimination.

Together, I believe we can find new ways to talk about our differences, and perhaps more importantly, the many values we all share.

Below on your screen, you will see how to send me your thoughts. Respect for all. I think that’s a goal we can all share.

Thank you.

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