The Harry S. Truman (HST) building, also known as “Main State,” has welcomed many honorable visitors over the years. Heads of state, ministers, and Ambassadors have all walked the halls to discuss diplomacy and development. But visits from rockstars who double as activists are … well, special.
Last week, Secretary Blinken and team welcomed a special visitor, U2’s lead singer Bono, who brought his unique musical talents and experience advocating for an end to extreme poverty and preventable diseases to discuss global health and humanitarian issues–U2’s lead singer Bono.
The day before his visit to HST, Bono was awarded the for co-founding ONE and its sister organization (RED). Organizations such as these remain dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty, HIV-AIDS, the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises impacting the developing world.
In his award acceptance speech Bono said; “Some of you in this room live this kind of work every day. You might call it the daily toil of democracy. This is a room full of toilers.
And you know what I’m talking about–the dog-eared documents, the conference tables with the plates of stale sandwiches, deli trays with the curled-up cheese. Ah you miss wouldn’t you, no?… the headaches from fluorescent lights… the late nights missing your families at home.
That’s the real heroism. That’s what peace looks like, actually. That kind of daily toil. People like you, public servants. I’m so spoiled to be given this award tonight in a room full of people who actually deserve it. Who’ve given your lives, really given your lives to public service. It’s incredible. All across the aisle, in the Administration.”
After meeting with the Secretary, Bono thanked members of the workforce from the Bureau of African Affairs, the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, the Office for Policy Planning, the Office of the Coordinator for Global COVID Response and Health Security and the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator & Health Diplomacy for their ongoing efforts to support countries around the world in the fight to eradicate HIV-AIDS and build a more resilient global health network. Bono’s visit emphasized the importance of being a force of good in the global health arena and the difference one person can make in being a global citizen.
Bono was accompanied by Gayle Smith, former USAID Administrator and State Department Coordinator for Global COVID Response and Health Security.
About the author: Shalom Konstantino is a Public Affairs professional and a Special Assistant at the office of the Assistant Secretary for Global Public Affairs and the Spokesperson of the Department of State. Before joining the Bureau of Global Public Affairs, he served in the Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Skopje, North Macedonia, the Regional Consular Office at the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt, Germany, and in the Executive Office at the U.S. Embassy in Cotonou, Benin.