Good morning everyone! I am delighted to send greetings to each of you at "'Healthy Women, Healthy Economies," Papua New Guinea's first policy dialogue on integrating women into the Asia Pacific economy.
I remember so well last year when I had the great privilege of visiting with a wonderful group of women leaders at the Parliament Haus. I said then that our Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues, Ambassador Melanne Verveer, would return with an American delegation to talk with you about the many ways we can work together to empower the women and girls of the South Pacific to reach their own full potential. And I am so pleased that Melanne is there now making good on this promise.
I want you to know that the United States will be your partner in these efforts to raise the status of women in your home countries. Because we know that no economy or society can thrive unless women are given the tools to participate fully and to contribute their energy, their vision and their talent. I have seen firsthand how families, communities and nations can be transformed when women are given the chance to start a business, go to school, or even obtain prenatal care. Healthy economies are only possible with healthy women and girls.
So I want to thank all of you for taking on this vital and important work. And I look forward to seeing and hearing about your successes – not only in this dialogue – but in the years to come.