printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Town Hall at Delhi University


Remarks
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Delhi University
New Delhi, India
July 20, 2009


Share

DR. PENTAL: Colleagues, guests, students, ladies and gentlemen, we have a very distinguished personality – in fact, if I dare may say, a global citizen amongst us today, Ms. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States of America.

Madame, we at the University of Delhi are indeed honored and feel highly privileged that in spite of your very busy schedule, you have spared your valuable time to be with us at our university.

Universities are the most humane and progressive spaces of any society, a much admired and respected facet of the United States of America is the brilliant university that the country has nurtured. You have chosen the university to visit which has, in its own humble way, contributed immensely to the development of India. Our Prime Minister, Dr. Mahmohan Singh, taught at the Delhi School of Economics. Our Minister of Human Resource Development, Mr. Kapil Sibal studied history and law at this university. And our current Foreign Secretary, Mr. Shiv Shankar Menon, has also been a student of our university. The list can go on and on.

I also realize, Madame, that you started your career as a faculty member in law school at the University of Arkansas. Years back, in 1978, I received my doctoral degree in botany at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. I still remember very fondly the opportunities your country and the university provided me to know and understand your country. My interest in U.S. politics stems from those days. Although I have no voting right, I was an ardent supporter of Jimmy Carter during the primaries and felt very happy when he was elected President of the United States.

In 1947, when India became independent, our founding fathers chose the path of democracy and participation of all. They supported not only equal rights, but the very strong affirmative action to support those who had been suppressed for too long. As an old civilization but a new nation, we have had many struggles. But the Indian mind remains steadfast in seeking cultural and religious harmony, remains committed to a centrist thought of development, and seeks respect for all.

Most of India is young, and some of them are here, have great admiration for your country, and would like to work with your country to develop a more just and humane world and to face the global challenges of poverty, hunger, and climate change. Translating fundamental research into tangible products which will reduce environment degradation, improving agricultural productivity in the dry-land of the world, and protecting people from infectious diseases are some of the major challenges. We have every hope that the visionary leadership of the United States of America, as in the past and so many occasions and on so many issues, will show the way.

Most of the audience here are well aware of your very distinguished career in politics, including your stint as Senator from the New York State. Most of us are also aware of your empathy for women, children, and their legal rights. Most of us are also well aware of your deep interest in India, and your visits to this country a few times with President Clinton. It’s very heartening that President Obama invited you on to his team, and you accepted, so that brilliant minds can come together to solve some major global challenges.

All those who are sitting here in the hall represent a student body of about 140,000 students, and a very large faculty teaching diverse subjects. Many, many more would have liked to be here. Unfortunately, the hall could hold only a small section of the University community, and some guests. Ladies and gentlemen, I have great pleasure in inviting Ms. Hillary Clinton to address the (inaudible). Thank you. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Professor Pental, and also Professor Tandon, the Vice Chancellor and Provost[1] Chancellor of this great university. To the faculty and students, it is such an honor for me to be with you on this historic campus, and to share a few thoughts and then to have a dialogue where we can explore in greater depth the potential of the relationship not only between the United States and India, but what our two countries together can do on behalf of the goals that the professor outlined.

Now two years ago, some of you may remember, the Times of India launched a media campaign called “The Year of India.” And for six weeks, billboards and posters and TV commercials across the country blared the slogan, “India poised.” I understand from my friends that it got people talking as to how the sentence should end: poised to do what? To go where? To take a greater role in regional and global affairs? To expand economic opportunity and grow the middle class? To step up the fight against hunger, disease, and illiteracy? To become a more powerful force for global peace and understanding?

Well, probably these and many other questions are the ones that are on the minds not just of the leaders of this great country, but the people as well. These questions resonate, because it’s not just Indians who want answers; it is the world. How do we face these challenges together?

One thing is certain: India is emerging as a global leader for the 21st century. The energy, dynamism and vitality of this nation are palpable across the entire scope, from the high-tech start-ups in Hyderabad and Bangalor to the financial hustle of Mumbai and the modern malls and green buildings of Gurgaon, the foreign students crisscrossing the campuses at Pune and the effervescence of the media industry, particularly Bollywood, with its new generation of movie stars. It’s also in the faces of those who get up every day and work hard for a better future, and in the hope that they carry inside their hearts for their children.

For someone like me, lucky enough to have visited India during the past 15 years, I believe this is one of the most exciting times for India and for our relationship. And I’m very grateful to be back here as our Secretary of State, representing our new president, President Obama, and our country.

As always, my visit is not only interesting, but provocative. A lot of food for thought: How do we communicate clearly together and understand what it is each of us are striving for, and how to help this relationship and the leadership we provide to be a win-win, not only for our two countries and our people, but, indeed, for the world.

Later today I will have a series of official meetings, and we will be discussing in specifics how we can meet these shared global challenges. We will be announcing a comprehensive, strategic approach that will cover the broad range of issues that are of concern to us.

But it is not only what we must do government-to-government. One of the reasons I’m honored to be here is because diplomacy must go beyond government in the age in which we live. We communicate literally at the speed of light, and it is time for us individually to think about how we can be engaged in meeting these challenges at the local level, the regional, the national, and the global.

President Obama and I are committed to engaging the private sector, the academic sector, NGOs, and particularly young people.

Last week, in a speech in Washington, I talked about the need for a new mindset among officials in world affairs, one that reflects the realities we see today. Now, that means not only that we want to broaden and deepen our strategic understanding, but its also that we want to use all the tools of diplomacy that are available, and we want to use the opportunity of development to actually produce concrete results for people, and to seek common ground for not only our two countries, but other nations as well, because there are so many threats – pandemic diseases that know no borders, the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the crisis of climate change, the illiteracy, hunger, grinding poverty that know no borders.

Not long ago, the measure of a nation’s greatness was the size of its military or its economic strength or its capacity to dominate friends and adversaries. But in this interconnected and interdependent world in which we live, greatness will be more and more defined by the power of a nation’s examples, the persuasive appeal of its values, and its ability to galvanize others to work in concert to find solutions to problems.

In this new century, there is a premium on the traditions and values that the United States and India share. Democracy and diversity, pluralism and public service; these remain great assets. However imperfect our nations may be, our core ideals guide us as we seek not only to broaden our partnership, but to set examples and bring others along with us.

So these times demand that we find new ways of working together. And when we talk about what we must do, it is important to particularly enlist the energy and the hope of the young people who, in our country and yours, have such an opportunity now to influence world events.

Look at what was happening during the aftermath of the elections in Iran -- young people were using technology to communicate to the outside world Or a recent example from Colombia, which has been fighting the narco-traffickers and the criminal cartel, where two young men used the internet to organize a massive demonstration on behalf of peace.

So the good news is that regardless of how daunting these global challenges are, there are answers to every single one of them already in operation somewhere in the world, and many right here in India.

I have seen some of the future just in the last several days. I visited fields where scientists and researchers are developing new seeds and irrigation techniques to help rural farmers grow their crops in harsh climates, which will help alleviate hunger and raise standards of living in India and across South Asia. I toured the ITC Green Center not far from here, which is truly what I called a monument to the future, a cutting-edge green building that uses energy conservation and recycling to reduce greenhouse gas emission, save water, and save costs. This building offers compelling evidence that addressing climate change and promoting economic growth can go hand-in-hand.

I discussed education with volunteers from Teach India and Teach for India, whose passion for service lit up their faces as they talked about the importance of giving every Indian child the chance for an excellent education. The underpinning of global progress is education across the entire spectrum, from early schooling to the advanced research and post-graduate work that occurs on this campus. And the United States and India enjoy a long tradition of educational exchanges, and we’re very eager to expand those. And I’d like to welcome the Fulbright-Nehru scholars, and all the members of the educational exchange programs who are here today.

At a roundtable discussion with some of India’s biggest business leaders in Mumbai, I heard about how these companies are using technology to make mobile banking and financial services more accessible in rural areas, working to develop micronutrients that can be put into foods to enhance nutrition for infants and pregnant women, and even digging into the ice in Antarctic to discover new microbes that might hold answers to some of the most intractable diseases.

I visited a small shop in Mumbai where rural women sell handmade crafts that are extremely sophisticated through the Self-Employed Women’s Association, with which I’ve worked now for many years. SEWA has defied the skeptics by proving that even societies most marginalized women, if given the opportunity to develop skills and work, can create livelihoods and generate local and sustainable economic growth.

Investing in opportunities for women is not only the smart thing to do; it’s the right thing to do. And I applaud your government’s commitment to increasing literacy among India’s women and providing more training and opportunities for them, because it’s not just my observation. It is a very well researched fact that women are key to economic progress and social stability. It’s even truer today as women disproportionally are affected by the global economic turmoil.

With us today are members of the Vital Voices Global Partnership. It’s an organization that I helped to start in the Clinton Administration, and it does exactly what its name suggests. It makes sure that the vital voices of women are heard across societies. And I’m very happy to announce that Vital Voices, in partnership with the United States Government and leading companies, will hold a regional summit in New Delhi next year, bringing together women from across Asia to learn from each other and devise strategies for enhancing women’s empowerment and rights.

Here in India, countless men and women every day are shaping the new future that awaits. And its important that we look for better understanding and opportunity for cooperation. And I know all well that we have difference of history and tradition, of perspective and experience. But what has occurred in the last 15 years between our two countries in a bipartisan way, starting with my husband, continuing with President Bush and now with President Obama, is a very exciting new approach to our relationship and to the futures we wish to build.

When I was here on my first trip in 1995, I met a young student Anasuya Sengupta, who wrote a poem and had it delivered to me. I still have the original copy that she gave to me. One line memorable read, “Too many women in too many countries speak the same language of silence.” And she worried that that would hold true for her generation, as well. I was so inspired by her poem that I read it the next day at the Rajiv Ghandi Center, and I’ve continued to refer to it across the years.

Today, this young woman is an activist, a scholar, and the Asia director for the Global Fund for Women, and she’s here with us this morning. So she wasn’t silenced. And she sought ways to not only express herself, but then to reach out to help others do the same.

I find inspiration in her example, as I do with many of you. I know that there are Indian and Pakistani members of Seeds of Peace in the audience today, who are working to transcend historic divides and begin to plant the seeds, however small, of understanding.

In the examples of the women of SEWA and other NGOs working to empower women and business leaders who are committed to corporate social responsibility, to the researchers and scientists and professors and others who are with us who are trying to solve problems that will unlock greater potential, to the volunteers teaching poor children how to read and write -- there are millions and millions of such examples.

In today’s world, we need not only the professional diplomats who serve in our foreign services and represent our country to one another. We need the citizen diplomats who realize that there is no escape. We are in this together. We may have profound differences, but I am often reminded that as we learn more from science about the human genome, we recognize that we are 99.9 percent the same. As you look at our DNA, you don’t see religion or race; you see humanity. And no place represents that future more profoundly than this great country.

I have long been an admirer of India. I feel very much at home here. I eat way too much of the food at every chance I get. And I have to go on a diet when I get back home, back to carrots and celery. But what I see today is thrilling to me, and what I hope is that the partnership that we are developing together will truly change the future for all of the children in both of our countries. My abiding condition is that those of us in politics or diplomacy or truly any other walk of life should be doing all we can to ensure that every child has the potential and the opportunity to live up to what God gave him or her, to realize the full extent and to have the positive result of effort and opportunity come together.

So let us work to see that every one of our children does have the opportunity to fulfill that God-given potential. Thank you all, very much. (Applause.)

QUESTION: Very good morning, Madame Secretary, and a very warm welcome to you on behalf of the student community of Delhi University. And it’s an honor to get an opportunity to speak to you. I am Ragini Nayak, the former President of Delhi University Student’s Union. I’m currently a National Secretary General of NSUI which is the student wing of the Congress, and I’m also the (inaudible) of International Visitor Leadership Program of the United States.

Madame, today, and even the day before yesterday, in one of your speeches you hinted that the progress of women and the growth of women is directly linked with the progress and growth of any and every country. But in light of that statement, Madame, I would like to know, how would you equate movements of women’s emancipation in the oldest and the largest democracy, and also societal acceptances towards those movements, because I believe that these societal acceptances are also reflected in the political mandate of the country. And please, Madame, if you could – in hindsight, remember that India has had a woman prime minister as early as the third decade of its post-independence era, while America has been deprived of – if I can say so– (laughter) – of the same privilege.

SECRETARY CLINTON: You can say so to me! (laughter)

QUESTION: And on a slightly personal note, Madame, I would also like to know that – did you ever, ever feel that because you’re a women, you’ve been denied the highest and the most prestigious post in the United States? Thank you very much. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me take the non-personal first. (Laughter.)

What you say is the truth. Countries will never realize their full potential if half their population is not given the opportunity for education, health care, access to employment, credit; the full range of rights that are available to men. And I’ve seen an enormous amount of progress. Of course, India has a huge well educated middle class, the population of which is larger than our whole country. But you also, as you know well, have a very large population that lives on one or two dollars a day, and has a great many challenges to overcome.

So what India is trying to do I think is exactly right, focus on the disenfranchised and the marginalized and provide greater access to literacy and health care, go after the diseases that cut short lives, focus on maternal and child health, and really give everyone a chance to live to their fullest. It is an enormous undertaking, and I applaud the Indian Government and the Indian people for recognizing that the eradication of poverty must be a primary goal. And by doing so, you have to focus on poor women and their children, because it is that generational change that will make all the difference.

I think globally, women’s empowerment and rights remains a mixed picture. We certainly have many countries where women’s roles are very advanced, where women are in positions of responsibility and influence throughout the society. There are still, even in those countries, like my own, some lingering issues that are not yet resolved, but by and large, individuals are empowered to chart their own future.

And so I hope that as we look at the world of the 21st century, we recognize that women’s roles and rights is an important an issue as any other that we can list if we expect to resolve the many difficulties that we will have to face. And I believe that groups like some of those I mentioned which are bringing women together and giving women a chance to stand up for themselves are very important.

When I first went to meet the women of SEWA back in 1995 up in Bugirock[2], there were so many women that had walked 24 hours to come. They were part of this organization which didn’t just help them earn money, it gave them confidence. It gave them the belief that they were worth something, that they could stand up and speak and be heard. And it was so moving to me. And then just in Mumbai a few days ago, I met the women who had been elected president of this organization --1.2 million members and 1.1 million voted. And so I said to her, “Well, you got to become a president; I didn’t, so I’m congratulating you for your accomplishment!” (Laughter.)

So, I feel very committed to this. It’s been part of my life’s work, and I really appreciate what you said, because you understand completely the connection. And therefore, we have to educate women so they educate their children so we break the link of poverty and we create greater opportunities for everyone which will then ripple through the society.

As for myself, well, I feel very grateful that I had the experiences I had. When I was your age and I was the president of my college government, I could have never predicted that I would be standing on this stage as the Secretary of State for the United States, or that I would have run for president, or anything else that has happened in my rather unpredictable life. So I don’t look back. I am always somebody who gets up and looks forward. But I am fueled by my commitment to making sure that we eradicate all the remaining vestiges of discrimination toward women. I – and we have new forms of discrimination – some of the problems that women face when they enter the workforce or when they try to balance the most important responsibility of being a mother and trying to make a living.

So we have new challenges that we have to work on, but we’ve made a lot of progress. Now, we have to just stay committed and try to move at an accelerated rate. And that’s what I’m going to try to do not only as Secretary of State, but whatever role that I find myself in.

Thank you. (Applause.)

QUESTION: Good morning, ma’am.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning.

QUESTION: I’m (Inaudible) from (inaudible) University, and I’ve been an alumni South Asian Undergraduate Leaders Program.

What I would like to ask you is right now, you’ve underlined a number of issues you’d like to take up, and especially women’s emancipation. But during your campaign for the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination, your agenda and President Obama’s agendas were very different. So now that you are the Secretary of State, how do you plan to reconcile those and work with him?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. I think that the campaign magnified the differences more than they actually are. That’s what happens in campaigns – I’m sure you’ve noticed that. (Laughter.) You do draw differences and try to make them seem extremely large in order to convince people to vote for you and against the other person.

But I have to say that when – well, first of all, I was incredibly surprised when President Obama asked me to be in his cabinet and to serve as Secretary of State. And we talked a lot about what we would want to do and how we would set the goals and achieve our objectives. And maybe some differences of degree, but not necessarily differences of kind.

And we have worked very closely together. I see the President at least once a week in a personal meeting, but often – usually – more than that in small meetings on difficult issues. And I’m very proud to be part of this Administration, which I think has sent a message of positive change to the rest of the world.

As I said in a speech that I gave last week, we’ve laid out a very ambitious agenda. We have no illusions about how difficult it is to deliver on that agenda. But we are very committed to doing everything we can literally every day to try to further that agenda and to make space available for others to join with us.

I think both the President and I see the world in the same terms, as interconnected, interdependent, where we want more partners, where we want more allies, where we want people taking responsibility and shouldering the burden, whether it is for eradicating poverty or climate change. We are very open to other’s perspectives.

I just saw in the paper yesterday – I had an incredibly fruitful and vigorous exchange with the Ministry of Environment and Forests, but I found it very helpful, because if people are not honest with one another, if we don’t say, well, here are our problems, what are your problems, are you really listening to me instead of trying to dictate to me? We can’t make progress unless we have that very open dialogue. So I thought it was an incredibly important exchange. We understand the difficulties that each of our countries face in trying to deal with climate change. So now, let’s see if we can’t together find some create solutions?

So on issue after issue, I think both the President and I are committed to truly respecting the views of others. That doesn’t mean we will agree, but to a constant, productive dialogue. And when we announce later today the extensive comprehensive partnership that we’re going to be engaged in, we’re going to work on health and education and agriculture. Those are not always the issues in the headlines. They don’t make for good press: What is the conflict on agriculture? Well, there isn’t one, so I guess we won’t talk about it, even though people are starving.

So somehow, we have to get to the real meat of the matter, and our cooperation, I think, will do that for us. So I’m excited to be here as the Secretary of State and especially to have the responsibility for this important dialogue between our two countries.

MODERATOR: (Off mic.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Maybe we should go to that side, because they haven’t had any yet.

QUESTION: Good Morning. Thank you (inaudible) again (inaudible) –

SECRETARY CLINTON: Hold it up closer to you. Right up to your mouth, yes.

QUESTION: My question to you (inaudible). Oh, sorry.

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s it.

QUESTION: My question to you would be with regards – how do you view the role and how your administration will encourage youth and nongovernmental organization in promoting peace and democracy, as well on the other hand as combating extremism in the region.

SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s a wonderful question, and thank you for participating in Seeds of Peace. I think it’s very courageous for Indian and Pakistani young people to sort of take that step to listen to each other, to talk to each other.

I’m a big believer in talking. All during the Cold War when it’s pressed for young people to understand – when I was growing up, the Soviet Union and communism was as scary to us as terrorism and extremism is today. I mean, we used to do drills when I was in elementary school. I mean, when I describe it to you, you’ll wonder what our teachers were thinking. But in case of a nuclear attack, we were told to get under our desks. (Laughter.)

So as a very young child, that was our mentality. So we had this sense of the “them.” We had nothing to do with them; they had nothing to do with us. But our leaders never stopped talking. They went to summits. Our diplomats engaged in looking for ways to avoid nuclear war or other kinds of terrible incidents.

So I’m a big believer in talking. It doesn’t mean you give up your principles, your values, your interests, your safety and security. But through talking, perhaps progress can be made on both the governmental level, and what you’re doing through Seeds of Peace.

One of the interesting things I learned talking with the SEWA women is they’re now working with women in Pakistan who are coming for training and learning how to organize themselves to be able to help make a better life in their own country.

Combating terrorism and extremism is our number one challenge. It is something that I take very personally. As you heard, I was a senator from New York for eight years, starting in 2001. So I was there when we were attacked on 9/11. And much of what I’ve done in public life over the last many years has been to work to try to avoid another attack on us or anyone else, and to defeat and deter the extremists who put a different vision out there, that gives people a chance to compete peacefully. You think you have a better idea? Go into the marketplace of ideas and put it forth. If you think you can make an argument that will win people’s allegiance, go into the democratic process and make the argument. Be builders, not destroyers. It’s so easy to destroy and it’s so hard to build.

And therefore, we have to look for many ways to support those who are standing against extremism. And I’ve said several times on my opportunities to talk to the press in the last several days that over the six months that we’ve been in office, I’ve seen a real commitment on the part of the Pakistani Government and the Pakistani people to taking on the extremists that threaten them. It’s no longer about somebody else. It’s their hotels that are being blown up and their police that are being killed and their people who are being beheaded and mistreated for simple things that no one would think are in any way in offense.

So anything we can do to try to convey support for those who are standing up against extremism anywhere is part of my mission and our country’s mission. And we enlist the help of everyone in countries like India who have such a stake in the end of terrorism and extremism because of the personal costs that have been paid by generations of Indians.

So I hope that we’ll find new and creative ways to enhance people-to-people connections in this region, in particular. Some of it can be through organizations, some of it can be through businesses, academics, person-to-person, but I believe it in very strongly, and I think it holds great promise.

(Applause.)

QUESTION: Good morning, ma’am. I’m (inaudible) and I went to U.S. last year as an exchange student through YES Program and I have a question. As we all know that the American culture is very true different from Indian culture, so what do you have to say about the differences between both the cultures, and what do you have in plan for us to bring both the cultures and people from both the cultures together?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, one way is what you did, by going on exchange program to the United States, or as the professor did. I want to see more exchanges. We were talking with the chancellors before we came in about how we can enhance more faculty exchanges and student exchanges. One of the trends which I think is very interesting is that in the past, many students who went to the United States to study stayed there. Now, they’re coming home to make a commitment to the future right here in India, and to make a living, and to be with their families and in their communities.

So the exchange programs should be accelerated, in my view, to include many more opportunities, and we’re going to do that.

I think there are so many links between India and the United States. We obviously have a big Indian-American community. We have a lot of people who have traveled back and forth, worked in both places. But I also believe that we have to do more to convey what is true about American culture, and not just what you see in our media.

If Hollywood and Bollywood were how we all lived our lives, that would surprise me. (Laughter.) And yet it’s often the way our cultures are conveyed, isn’t it? People watching a Bollywood movie in some other part of Asia think everybody in India is beautiful and they have dramatic lives and happy endings. (Laughter.) And if you were to watch American TV and our movies, you’d think that we don’t wear clothes and we spend a lot of time fighting with each other. (Applause.)

So it’s difficult for us sometimes to break through these stereotypes that are out there. We are different. We have different cultures, but I think what unites us is so profoundly important – the oldest democracy − largest democracy, the pluralism and diversity of both our countries, the many different voices that are heard, ruckus, and somehow sometimes incomprehensible political systems on both of our sides.

So part of what I hope by my visit, certainly, by other exchanges that we’ll be doing is that we can cut through the clutter so that each of our people has a clearer idea that our values, our interests, our hopes for the future are really very similar, and that we are working together to realize better results and to help people have that chance to live up to their God-given potential.

So we can do this in many different ways, and I am committed to exploring and finding ways that will enable us to understand each other better and look for areas of cooperation.

Okay, one more question.
MODERATOR: One more question. Now, who has the microphone? Okay.

QUESTION: Morning.

SECREATRY CLINTON: Hello.

QUESTION: So ma’am, I’m Sina Dodi from (inaudible) University, and I’ve been exchange student last year and from 2007 to 2008. So as we all know, you’re one of the most active women in U.S. politics. So -- with many new challenges and all. So how you find time for your family and yourself? (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I supported my husband’s rather successful career in politics – (applause) – when he was active in elections. I did not go into politics until I was somewhat older, and my daughter was grown. Again, this is up for every women to make a decision, but I would have found it very difficult to have been in politics and raising my daughter, especially with such demanding schedules that are required.

So I’m very pleased that I’ve had this chance to pursue what have always been my public service interests. I just didn’t think that I would go in to electoral politics, especially after I met Bill in law school and really believed in what he was working toward.

But to me, it’s always most important that you take care of your family responsibilities. There’s a wonderful line from a book by a famous rabbi in the United States, Harold Krishner, and it begins one of his books. It says, “On your deathbed, no one ever says I wish I had spent more time in the office.” (Laughter.) Tending your relationship is, for me, critical as to who you are -- your family, your friends, the people who look to you, rely on you.

But I think that you can very well have an active – and certainly I have all my life, as a lawyer and professor and in public life – you can have a very active professional career. But it’s up – it’s balance. That’s sort of the word for life: how do you strike the right balance and have that sense that you're not dropping responsibilities, that you are adequately fulfilling them? And it’s hard, there’s no doubt about it, when you talk about making those decisions in your personal life.

So it is, to me, part of the continuing balancing act that we do in the modern world. I mean, we are exposed to so much more; we are so much more mobile. I mean, these two young women have been to the United States. It just speaks volumes about the different life choices that people are making.

Now, My mother never graduated from college. She was even born before women could vote in my country. So within my lifetime, there have been so many changes. And there will be many, many more at an accelerated rate. So to keep people grounded and anchored in what's real and what's valuable and what's lasting is part of what education is about if we do our job, to help people make these choices. And we’re going to live longer, so the choices you make at 20 may be revisited at 40 and 60 and 80.

But it’s exciting. And there isn’t any better time in human history to be a woman than right now in the modern world. And so for me, this is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility that I willingly accept. But of course, choices that are made every single day -- billions of them around our planet -- determine the kind of futures we will have. And I look forward to making sure that our two countries are leading globally to provide that sense of possibility to so many millions more people, and that together, we’re going to chart a new and better course for women and men, and create the kind of future that our children so richly deserve.

Thank you all very much.

(Applause.)

# # #



[1] Pro-Vice
[2] Gujarat



PRN: 2009/T9-10



Back to Top
Sign-in

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.