Thank you. Thank you, Sam. That was really lovely. Thank you, Sylvia. Well, I don’t need to tell you how blessed you are here at Embassy Rabat and across Morocco to have such a dynamic duo as Sam and Sylvia. I want to personally thank them in front of their Embassy family, including the cute children, Sylvia, because they’ve brought so much enthusiasm and energy to representing our country. Thank you very much, Ambassador, and thank you, Sylvia, for all you do. (Applause.)
And the Ambassador is right. I wanted to come and thank you personally when I was last in Morocco as Secretary of State in ’09. I didn’t get to Rabat, and I missed having this opportunity, so I did not want to forego it today. And I also wanted to let you know I’m well aware of how much is asked of you, particularly this last year, whether you worked as election monitors or you got ready for the construction of a new embassy whose ground we will break in a very short time from now, or just, every day, handle the myriad of tasks that you are responsible for. We see the results of your hard work.
In the last eight months, the Moroccan people have made their voices heard through a constitutional referendum and an unprecedented parliamentary election. And the United States friendship with Morocco that dates back to 1777 – I want all the young people to know that Morocco was the very first country that recognized us before we really won our revolutionary war. We were just beginning it, and Morocco believed in us and said, “We’re with you,” and we’ve had that kind of partnership ever since.
I’m excited about the groundbreaking of the new Embassy. It will finally bring together our Foreign Service and development professionals under one roof. That’s part of our – what’s called QDDR, the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, where we have to maximize the impact of U.S. Government efforts. We have the best diplomats, the best development experts in the world, and we need to multiply the impact of each. And having everyone under one roof will help us do that.
I also want to thank the Peace Corps volunteers, because wherever I go, they always can bring a crowd of enthusiasm. (Applause.) When in doubt, bring on the Peace Corps and – (laughter) – we’ll get the energy going. And I’m also very much aware that we could not do the work that we do here without the locally employed staff, all of the Moroccans who have served with us and done so much for our relationship. (Applause.)
In fact, Ambassador, I know from many years, starting back in the 1990s when I would travel alone or travel with my husband when he was president that presidents come and go, and certainly secretaries and ambassadors come and go, but the locally employed staff is here. And they remember and they help and they greet every new representative from the United States Government with the kind of background and experience that we need.
This is an exciting time to be serving in Morocco. It’s an exciting time to be representing the United States. It’s also, I think it’s fair to say, quite a challenging time. But if we stick to our values of democracy and freedom, of human rights, of women’s rights, of the kind of protections that are now enshrined in the constitution of this country, then we will be able to help not only Moroccans who are doing quite well, but using Morocco as an example, reach out to the country that I was in yesterday, Tunisia, or Algeria or Libya, countries that are also seeking their own new democratic future. And then we have to work to make sure democracy delivers jobs and opportunity for the hardworking people of the Maghreb.
So I appreciate greatly everything you have done and are doing. I think it’s fair to promise you that the rollercoaster ride is not over. There will be a lot more ahead of us. But I think we are living through such a consequential time in world history, and nowhere more so than in this region. So again, thank you, and what I would like to do is first maybe go over and take a picture with the children, if I could, because I love being – I don’t tell my daughter, but I would love to be a grandmother. (Laughter.) Anyway, don’t tell her. So I will go and get our picture with the children – they’ve been so patient – and then I’ll shake as many hands as I can before we go on to the groundbreaking.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.)