This video is available on YouTube with closed captions.
And I want to also congratulate the more than 190 people who are here being honored, because you truly do make diplomacy work. You’ve served our country, you’ve strengthened our security and prosperity, you’ve improved the lives and opportunities of many around the world. It’s not only a job; it truly is a calling. You support Washington in more than 275 posts abroad. You have promoted American values in 80 languages from Nepalese to Haitian Creole, where I was just yesterday. And with so many years of shared experience, sacrifice and service, all of you – Civil Service, Foreign Service, contract staff – are part of the much bigger State Department family.
Now it may not always seem like such a glamorous family to be part of as you lead technical evaluation panels, help to procure contracts, develop new templates and systems, ensure compliance with congressional mandates, complete FOIA requests, improve customer service, but every day, what you do makes it possible for this entire diplomatic enterprise to move forward and succeed. I was looking at a list of some of the tasks that are your responsibility behind the scene – procuring and driving the vehicles that ensure our people can get to where they need to be on time; managing the mail and shipment of personal effects for those going and coming from overseas assignments; acquiring, repairing, and maintaining the buildings we work in; arranging translation services; coordinating responses to domestic emergencies; preserving the Department’s historic narrative embodied in its records; and so much more.
If you look at some of what you’ve done just in the last year – helping to support our colleagues in the Middle East and North Africa; providing the logistical platforms helping to recover after terrible natural disasters; helping to deliver lifesaving humanitarian assistance and care for refugees; promoting opportunities for women here at home and around the world; helping to transform the Harry S Truman Building from a 1960s-era facility into a modern energy-efficient home for diplomacy; acquiring new facilities like the Potomac Annex. And you have partners and customers at every one of our posts and agencies represented overseas.
And I just can’t thank you enough for what you do, and it’s not only for those who are actually serving in the positions that are recognized as diplomatic, but also for families. You help support the 195 overseas schools that benefit government employees and their families. And there’s just a million different ways that we could not function without you. And I know that because of the myriad of crises and challenges over the last years, we’ve asked a lot of you. You’ve missed family births and funerals, birthdays and anniversaries, soccer games, music recitals, a lot of those personal family outings and responsibilities. And to those family members who are here and to those who are not, I hope that you will convey my appreciation for their own sacrifice and service.
So this is, for me, a real labor of love to come and thank you for what you do, which is not always in the headlines or in the front of the room, but is absolutely essential to everything else we try to do. So I’m very proud of you and I congratulate and thank each and every one of you, and I hope that you’re able to take some satisfaction in being honored by your colleagues who are recognizing the contributions that you’ve made and knowing that everybody’s contribution adds up to the overall efforts that the United States is making and will continue to make in providing leadership around the world and protecting our interests and our security and in advancing our values.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.)