Well, thank you, Ambassador, for inviting us into your home for this very important meeting. I am honored to meet with leaders from Algeria’s civil society who are representing many others around the country. I am looking forward to hearing about the work you are doing to promote economic opportunity, educational opportunity, and other forms of activities.
I am in Algeria to consult with the government, to meet with representatives of the private sector, which I just did as part of a partnership called NAPEO, and to hear from civil society. I’ve come from Tunisia. Tomorrow, I will be in Morocco. My message is the same: The people of the Maghreb are as talented, creative, and hard-working as people anywhere in the world; they need and deserve the opportunity to make decisions on behalf of themselves, because that is good for the dignity and rights of every individual and it is good for every society.
In the 21st century, I think of society as a three-legged stool. One leg must be an accountable, effective government that delivers results for its people. One must be a vibrant, dynamic private sector open to the world to create jobs and economic opportunity for people. And the third stool is civil society – people like yourselves who are working to improve lives for your fellow citizens.
Fifty years ago, Algeria became an independent nation. Now, for the next 50 years, Algeria needs to assume its rightful place as a nation among nations where prosperity, peace, and security are available for the people. And the United States wants to be your partner – a partner of your government, a partner of your economy, and a partner of your civil society – to see these kinds of positive changes occur.
And I look forward now to hearing from our guests. Thank you all very much.