I and my colleagues at the U.S. Department of State are pleased to acknowledge and salute the 3rd World Summit of Afro-descendant Mayors and World Leaders, taking place in Cali and Cartagena, Colombia, September 12-18, 2013.
Your effort to assemble this group of talented leaders and public servants from across the Americas underscores the importance of social inclusion practices so that we all benefit from the human capital that is present in all our peoples. I am confident that this gathering will undoubtedly advance the social, cultural, economic, and academic goals of the summit.
We see it as especially fitting that the summit is taking place in Colombia, where we forged the framework of the U.S.-Colombia Action Plan on Racial and Ethnic Equality to advance social inclusion and equal opportunity – an agreement that is emblematic of the importance that the Obama Administration places on these issues.
The timing of this Summit is also auspicious. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech - a landmark event in U.S. history that has acquired enduring resonance for all people who seek to advance the cause of freedom, equality and opportunity for all.
Whether the issue is land rights, governance, education, or economic development, there remains one underlying principle as a cornerstone of all democracies: that all people should have equal protection under the law and equal access to opportunities. The 3rd World Summit of Afro-descendant Mayors and World Leaders represents a valuable contribution to this shared endeavor, in Colombia and throughout the world.
I wish you all the best in your discussions in Cali.