MS. TOLSON: Bonjour a tous. It’s my great honor and pleasure and privilege to introduce one of the finest and hardest working Secretaries of State in America’s history. Welcome back to Paris, Madam Secretary.
In addition to serving as Secretary of State at one of the most pivotal moments in world history, you also managed to find the time to champion women’s issues around the globe. And for me and millions of others around the world, you are a constant inspiration and a real role model. We’re honored and thrilled that you’re able to take time out of your tight, tight schedule here in Paris to be with us here this afternoon. It means a great deal to every member of the Tri-Mission community.
So ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of my husband, Ambassador Rivkin, please join me and Ambassador Killion and Ambassador Kornbluh in giving a very warm welcome to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so very much, Susan, and thanks for welcoming all of us here to this magnificent residence. And welcome to all the members of the three missions that are housed in Paris. One of my great pleasures is working with each and every one of those missions. I know that Ambassador Rivkin couldn’t be here because he is in Deauville with the President for the G-8. But I would like to thank him for everything he’s done to make this visit successful.
I also want to thank Ambassador Kornbluh for her hard work at OECD and all of you who work with her. And I just left Ambassador Killion and his team at UNESCO. I came here to chair the 50th anniversary ministerial – (sneezes) – spring allergy conference – (laughter) – and we had a great celebration at the OECD. Excuse me. And I’m grateful to Karen, DCM Bill Monroe, and the whole OECD team for the hard work they’ve done, particularly supporting women and girls and the new gender initiative, along with the new paradigm for development. I appreciate, too, the wonderful dinner that was held at the historic Talleyrand building last night. And with respect to UNESCO and U.S.-UNESCO’s work, we just announced the new Global Partnership on Women’s and Girls’ Education, and I know how hard this mission has worked on the full range of issues that come up before UNESCO.
Now, there is nothing like an official visit to get everybody overworked even more than usual, but I am delighted to have this chance to tell you how much I appreciate your service and sacrifices. I also very much am impressed by what Mission France is doing with outreach to young minorities, such as the Youth Ambassadors Program, and your Rennes APP, using local contacts to help U.S. exporters secure over $11 million in new exports, leading the way in technology and social media. And I have to tell you, you have, by far, the largest Facebook audience of any post in Europe. So yes, give that a round of applause. (Applause.) And I know that we’ve been, because of the OECD, hosting a number of our technology companies and executives here in Paris as well.
But let me also thank our local staff who work so hard for our Tri-Mission family – our guards, our coordinators, our domestic policy advisors. I know that a number of you have performed wonderful work for so many years. As secretaries come and go and ambassadors come and go, and Foreign Service officers and American civil servants come and go, the locally engaged staff stays. And you are truly the repository of information and experience that we all rely on so much.
So on behalf of the United States and a grateful nation, thank you. Thank you for what each and every one of you do in furtherance of our relationships here in France and around the world on so many important issues. It’s a great honor working with you. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)