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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Remarks at the NASDAQ Opening Bell Ceremony

Esther Brimmer
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Organization Affairs
New York City
September 27, 2012


Thanks very much, Jameel. It’s great to be back at NASDAQ to ring the opening bell.

This is a busy week for U.S. diplomacy at the United Nations, which is hosting the 67th annual UN General Assembly. As the President said on Tuesday, all of us have a stake in working toward greater opportunity and security for our citizens.

And here in the United States, here in New York, we’re seeing a clear return on the investment we have made in the UN.

Increasingly, we’re meeting global threats with effective cooperation. That includes tough international sanctions on nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea, and strengthened UN efforts on counterterrorism and conflict prevention.

We’re also promoting universal values. We improved the UN’s Human Rights Council, so it can shine a spotlight on violations of fundamental freedoms, and increase pressure on dictators and despots.

We’ve pushed for more effective UN poverty reduction efforts, so that the international community can lend a hand to more people in more communities across the globe.

And financially, we’re getting more bang for our buck at the UN. We secured a historic five percent reduction in the UN budget last year and pushed for better oversight and transparency.

And U.S. investment in the UN also has a direct and positive impact on our economy. Every year, diplomats and other visitors to the UN spend billions of dollars at local restaurants, hotels, and other businesses. The UN also spends hundreds of millions of dollars on goods and services from companies all over our country.

Of course, if you look at the agenda for this week, you’ll see there are still plenty of challenges we must face. As the President said, we still need to work toward a world where we are strengthened by our differences, not defined by them. But you’ll also see what we see every day—an opportunity to strengthen our future.

And so as the markets get ready to open, let me just reiterate my key message here today: targeted U.S. investment at the UN is securing real returns for the American public-- something NASDAQ-OMX watchers surely appreciate.

And with that, I think it’s time to ring the bell!

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