Well, thank you all very, very much. This is an extraordinary evening, and I am deeply honored to receive this award on behalf of the State Department and USAID, the work that is done every single day by the men and women who serve in both, doing the diplomacy and development work that truly is part of smart power.
I want to express my appreciation to Nancy Lindberg and Bill Lane, to James Bell and Richard Stearns, and all this evening’s hosts. And I want to applaud the efforts of Liz Shrayer and the Coalition staff who do such a great job. (Applause.)
And I want to thank Andrea Mitchell for her kind introduction and all that she does every day to keep Americans informed. I have traveled a lot of miles with reporters, but Andrea is the only one who traveled with me through Asia with a broken foot. That’s why she is such a successful, extraordinary, inveterate reporter, and I am delighted to – I shouldn’t say that because she is a reporter – (laughter) – but I am delighted to have her covering the State Department once again.
This award is especially meaningful because of the people who are part of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. I know many of you, not all of you, and I really respect and appreciate the work of all of you. I do remember speaking at the first major meeting of this group more than 10 years ago, when it was called the Campaign to Preserve Global Leadership. And in the past decade, the coalition has come to occupy a critical space in the foreign policy arena. You really have been pioneers in combining the expertise and talent of the private sector and NGOs to help better balance in our approach to foreign policy and our nation’s security.
As you know so well, for too long we have focused more heavily on one of the so-called three Ds – namely defense – and less on the other two, diplomacy and development. Now, we obviously must never undermine our capacity to defend our nation and our people, but I believe that these three tools are mutually reinforcing. And it has been my goal since becoming the 67th
Secretary of State to do all that I could to make sure that diplomacy and development were elevated alongside defense. That is the essence of smart power, but of course, smart power requires smart people. And the people who are working so hard every day to make sure we have the resources for diplomacy and development, that we solve the problems, that we fulfill this wonderful backdrop that sets forth strengthening our national security and creating opportunities and saving lives and building economic opportunities. And we are following, in effect, the USGLC model by trying to leverage our civilian power. State, USAID, MCC, PEPFAR, other government agencies, along with all of you are working to amplify diplomacy and development, not for the sake of just doing that, but to achieve lasting results in the furtherance of America’s national interests and our values.
We have been talking a lot in the last months that we need to be committed to using American leadership to build a new architecture of global cooperation. And fundamental to that idea is that the 21st
century not only presents many shared challenges, but also demands shared responsibility. No nation can meet today’s challenges – or seize its opportunities – alone. Leadership in this era means stepping up to the plate and galvanizing others to do the same.
That is the approach we are taking in the Obama Administration. We are pursuing broader and, we hope, more effective diplomacy that reaches beyond government. And we are committed to development that is delivered, as the President has said, through partnership, not patronage, that achieves meaningful, measurable, sustainable outcomes.
Last week, the President outlined our strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. And when he spoke at West Point he made very clear that we cannot finish the job on our own, or with military might alone. To take advantage of this window of opportunity – and I believe the beginning of President Karzai’s second term is such a window of opportunity – we will be sending 30,000 new American troops to Afghanistan and will be joined by 7,000 or more troops from our allies in NATO and the International Security Force, ISAF. But we are also tripling the number of civilians on the ground, and we are seeing other countries come forward with additional commitments of civilians and civilian aid. When I became Secretary of State, there were about 320 civilians in Afghanistan, and many of them were on six-month tours. And we have been on the path to more than tripling that number, and we have one-year tours and we have very specific assignments for the people who are being sent to Afghanistan. We have also begun expanding our civilian effort in Pakistan, whose stability is essential to the security of that region and beyond.
Now, like our troops, these civilians make huge sacrifices on behalf of our country, living and working in difficult and dangerous circumstances. Before I came to the dinner tonight, I hosted a reception at the State Department for family members of those who are serving in unaccompanied posts around the world, the bulk of whom are in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. I saw their wives and their husbands, their children, in some cases their parents. And it reminded me so forcefully that our civilians serve every single day in conflict areas, in places of great danger, and they come to these missions with a profound belief in the importance of their work.
When I was in Kabul several weeks ago, I sat around a table at our Embassy with some of the men and women who are part of our integrated civilian-military approach. And I listened to a colonel talk about how critical it had been to him and to his soldiers to have a USDA agriculture expert working with their brigade, and how a rule of law expert was working with JAG lawyers to extend a system of justice so that Afghans do not have to rely on the Taliban for legal matters in their communities. This is not a one-way street: our military creates space for our civilians to do their important work; and our civilians maximize the efforts of our troops in the field to bring stability and security.
By working together, as your honoree from last year, Secretary Gates, has stressed, our military and civilian personnel are poised to make real progress, not only in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Iraq, but so many other places around the world. Ultimately, our goal is to prevent instability in the first place, to use our diplomatic and development tools to promote conditions that enhance peace and security, and make the need for military action more remote. It is far cheaper to pay for civilian efforts up front than to pay for any war over the long run.
Last year, Secretary Gates spoke to you about the importance of programs that amplify peace dividends that promote active citizenship, spur economic development, expand opportunity, and safeguard human rights. Now, it is rare – at least it was rare – for a Secretary of Defense to advocate for better civilian capabilities and stronger development program. But Secretary Gates and President Obama, all of you, and I know that it is only through this kind of approach to our foreign policy that we will be successful over the long run.
Now, today, we are still recovering from the deepest global economic shock in our lifetimes. We face environmental pressures, health pandemics, widespread poverty and hunger. And the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction remain a threat to every person on the planet.
Yet, even with these grave problems, our world is ripe with the potential for innovation and we are poised to solve a lot of what appears to be intractable today. Promising technologies are emerging, from vaccines to ever-shrinking and more powerful laptops to cloud computing. New tools empower and connect more people than ever before. With online networks, tens of thousands of miles are crossed at the click of a button. Never before have we had so much contact and exchange with people everywhere at one time.
So to meet these 21st
century challenges, we need to use the tools, the new 21st
century statecraft. And we’ve begun to do that. U.S. shipping companies are taking steps to defend their cargo ships and defeat piracy off the coast of Somalia. U.S. tech companies are working with the Mexican Government, telecom companies, and NGOs to reduce narco-violence. We’ve brought three tech delegations to Iraq, including a recent visit by Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, where he announced that Google would be digitizing the entire content of the Iraqi National Museum and launching an Iraqi Government YouTube channel to promote transparency and good governance.
We have seen the possibilities of what can happen when ordinary citizens are empowered by Twitter and Facebook to organize political movements, or simply exchange ideas and information.
So we find ourselves living at a moment in human history when we have the potential to engage in these new and innovative forms of diplomacy and to also use them to help individuals be empowered for their own development.
As part of smart power, we are strengthening our bilateral relationships and our historic alliances, as well as our ties to emerging powers. In the first 11 months of the Administration, we have launched strategic dialogues with many countries, including China and India, that provide a foundation for partnership on a range of shared issues and give us a venue for discussion and conversation across the board on every single issue.
At the same time, we are working to engage leaders and governments with whom we don’t agree, just as we did throughout the Cold War. We never stopped talking to the Soviet Union leadership, even as we had missiles pointed at each other.
And we are broadening our outreach in other ways. We joined the Human Rights Council to participate in the often raucous international conversation on human rights. We have signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We have fully embraced the Millennium Development goals. And this week, our Special Envoy Todd Stern will lead the U.S. delegation to the Copenhagen climate negotiations, where the United States will work to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive international framework agreement that will mitigate one of our world’s most pressing and pervasive problems.
Now, diplomacy, though, cannot be confined to official meetings or conferences in official buildings. So we are also working to connect with publics in other countries more effectively, to engage their business communities, to reach out to their civil societies.
Overseas, I have held town hall meetings with students, advocates, lawyers, teachers, citizens, to hear their views and answer their questions. Sometimes they ask, shall we say, extremely pointed questions about the United States and American policy. But I find that actually refreshing, because it gives me a chance not only to respond, but it clearly demonstrates for many societies that are less than open that it’s possible to engage leaders. I’ve been told in a number of countries that I’ve had more contact with the media and the people of the country than the leaders of those countries have had.
And I often conduct roundtables with business leaders that are unvarnished, unfiltered exchanges that help to build greater understanding.
As we work to build partnerships with multinational corporations and international nonprofits — many of whom are represented here — we know that we’re going to have to do more to really follow best practices, something the Coalition has stood for. And we have to reach out to the non-state actors who are leading the charge on issues that are vital to our interests – securing the rights of women and girls, recognizing the power of young people, providing education and health in rural areas, and the list goes on.
The critical resources, infrastructure and expertise that exist in the business and NGO communities are interwoven together. There is no escaping, and I think that’s good. But we can do more to leverage the combined efforts of the public and private and nonprofit sectors. It’s like you say here at USGLC: “from Boeing to Bread for the World, and from Caterpillar to Care.”
Well, we have launched the Global Partnerships Initiative at the State Department. At USAID we have the Global Development Alliance. I’ll give you just one quick example. Last September, USAID and PEPFAR joined with General Mills to improve the capacity of small and medium-sized food businesses across sub-Saharan Africa to produce healthy, fortified food products. This partnership will link the technical and business expertise of General Mills and up to nine additional food companies with as many as 200 small and medium-sized mills and food processors in 15 sub-Saharan African countries. This partnership will benefit an estimated 1.6 million smallholder farmers.
With over one billion suffering from hunger and malnutrition around the world, these are the kinds of steps that we need to be taking.
Development is and must remain the key. And I am delighted that with me tonight are two of our new leaders. I hope you’ll get to meet Daniel Yohannes, who is sitting right here, who is the new president of the Millennium Challenge Corporation. (Applause.) Daniel came to this country from Ethiopia as a young, young man, took advantage of the extraordinary opportunities available in America, pursued his dreams, fulfilled them, became very successful, and now is giving back. And we are delighted to have him.
And I am also proud to have a gifted partner and champion who will soon be at the helm of the U.S. Agency for International Development. It took us time to find the right person, but Raj Shah was worth the wait. And Raj will be reporting directly to me. He will always have a seat at the table as we formulate policy and chart our next steps. Together, we will ensure that USAID is once again the premier development agency in the world. (Applause.) There’s Raj. (Applause.)
We’ve also developed an unprecedented initiative aimed at advancing food security worldwide. The scope and scale of this initiative is a good example of how we are rethinking development policies and priorities.
We know some things and we are working to learn others. After years of effort and billions of dollars, I think it’s fair to say we have not achieved the lasting results we desire. But we have learned valuable lessons. We know that the most effective strategies emanate from those closest to the problems, not governments or institutions, no matter how well meaning, hundreds or thousands of miles away.
We know that too often our efforts have been undermined by a lack of coordination, too little transparency, haphazard monitoring and evaluation, an over-reliance on contractors who work with too little oversight, and by relationships with recipient countries based more on patronage than partnership. We know that development works best when it is based not in aid, but in investment.
We have also learned that women and girls must be the focus of our work in the development area. They comprise the majority of the people on this planet who are underfed, underemployed, uneducated, unhealthy, and poor. Investing in the potential of women and girls is one of the surest ways to fuel economic and social progress, and it is why we have named the first ever Ambassador for Women and Girls Global Issues Melanne Verveer. (Applause.)
Now, we can’t do any of this if we don’t have the resources that we need. Smart power requires smart people and requires resources as well. That’s why I appointed the first ever Deputy Secretary for management and resources, Jack Lew. (Applause.) And with Jack in the lead – I know Jack is here somewhere – we fought hard, with your help, for additional resources for State and USAID in the 2010 budget. But this cannot be a one-shot deal. We need a sustained effort to rebuild and reform diplomacy and development, as difficult as that may be in a time of trillion dollar deficits and intense competition for scarce resources. But we really have no choice. We have immediate requirements in Afghanistan and Pakistan that have great bearing on our security. We have to transition from military to civilian work in Iraq, and we’ve got to demonstrate that this approach to development and diplomacy bears fruit.
As we invest in people, we have to make a very serious effort as to making sure we’re constantly asking ourselves: What can we do better tomorrow than what we’ve done today? We’re not going about this reflexively. We’re being methodical. That’s why I initiated the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review – the QDDR – to help align our priorities and policies, our resources and our authorities. We have excellent people running that: Jack Lew and the Acting Administrator of USAID Alonzo Fulgham and Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter. They have been driving this process. It’s an exciting and necessary project. And we’re receiving the interim reports from the working chairs, and I think there’s already a great deal of rich insight that we’ve garnered.
This is working in concert with the Presidential Study Directive which includes representatives from a number of agencies. We’re trying to get to a whole-of-government approach. When we began to work on food security, we convened the first ever meetings where everybody from all the different agencies who had any stake in food security were in the same room. It’s not easy. There are all kinds of reasons why it’s difficult. One of the reasons it’s difficult is the way the Congress is structured and who authorizes what and who appropriates what. But we are determined to try to achieve this whole-of-government approach because we think it’s in the interests of our country, but it’s also in the service of our ideals and our goals concerning diplomacy and development.
Now, we will need your ideas and your support as we look at the requirements of our civilian effort in the broader context of national security. A small increase in the national security budget committed to diplomacy and development will reap enormous rewards. You understand that. So you’re going to have to help us make the case. It’s always been a challenging case to make, but we have slowly but surely made progress in this last year, and we need your help to continue that progress. I have a great deal of empathy for what the folks at OMB are going through in putting together a budget for next year. It’s a pretty daunting picture looking out and seeing all of the necessary domestic and international projects that really do need our funding. But we are just at the beginning of transforming our development and diplomacy agenda, and we cannot stop now.
So I am here not just to accept an award on behalf of all the people I’m privileged to work with every single day, but to challenge you to help us continue to make the case, to bring your expertise and your commitment to the forefront. Every one of you, whether you’re in the private sector or the not-for-profit sector, have friends and allies with whom you have worked over the years who understand you and trust you, and we hope that you will be among the advocates we need to make that case that the United States Government needs to be by your side as we transform the way we conduct foreign policy.
We’ve made a lot of progress, but I’m always focused on how much more there is to be done. But I am confident that with the help of the members of this Coalition, we will continue to do what we know must be done in furtherance of our country’s values and interests. And perhaps in a year or two, three, four, or five, we can look back and say, indeed, we’ve put to work the civilian-led tools that have given us the smart power that has made our world both better and safer. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)