Hello everyone and Happy New Year. I want to express my profound thanks for the work that you do, the progress we’ve made, and the commitment we share. After serving together for nearly twelve months, I know that this team is more than up to the tasks ahead.
In our first year, we reinvigorated U.S. foreign policy with robust diplomacy that strengthened our traditional alliances, built new partnerships, and gave adversaries a stark choice between isolation or living up to their international obligations. We are practicing 21st Century Statecraft, relying on partnerships, looking for crosscutting solutions, harnessing the power of technology and the talents of our people. That's what we call smart power, and it is the driving force behind the progress we have achieved together. We have promoted peace in troubled regions, helped Turkey and Armenia take an historic step forward. We took a critical step in confronting the global threat of climate change with the Copenhagen accord. And with UN Security Council Resolution 1874 that tightened sanctions against North Korea, we have shown there are consequences for those who flout the norms of international peace and security.
This administration has elevated diplomacy and development alongside defense as the three core pillars of U.S. foreign policy, and that has put us – the men and women of the State Department and USAID – on the front lines of meeting the great challenges of our time. We’re so pleased that Dr. Raj Shah is now at the helm of USAID because we are making development a cornerstone of our efforts, and we’re working to ensure that USAID is once again the premier development agency in the world.
But none of this would be possible without you and your hard work. After all, smart power requires smart people, and I am so honored to work with you – smart, talented, and dedicated professionals – Foreign Service, Civil Service, locally Employed Staff alike. Your service to this country is extraordinary. I know it often means real sacrifices from you and your families.
But our achievements provide a solid foundation for the road that lies ahead. But much remains to be done. We’re confronted with serious challenges. We have a refocused mission in Afghanistan. We’re moving on our transition to civilian rule in Iraq. We are seeking the ongoing pursuit of peace in the Middle East with a two state solution. Nonproliferation, climate change, poverty, hunger, disease – well, you know, the list goes on and on.
But I am confident that this team is prepared to fulfill the important mission that we’ve been given by, not only President Obama, but the American people, to build a more peaceful and prosperous world.
So thank you again for everything you have done, for everything you are doing, and for what we will continue to do together.