As Prepared for Delivery

Good morning. Thank you all for being here today for the launch of the Stabilization Advisory Council. It is truly my honor to welcome you here to the Department of State.

Working on conflict stabilization is not new to any of us. In the 1940s, the United States stabilized European economies after World War II through the Marshall Plan’s economic aid. In advocating for the plan, Secretary Marshall said, “It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health to the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace.”

In the 21st century, achieving political stability requires that diplomacy goes beyond governments and builds partnerships between government and civil society. Today’s conflicts often span borders, fueled by extremist ideology and rhetoric, rarely ending in formal peace agreements or military victory. The Department of State works in partnership with allies, international organizations, NGOs, faith-based institutions, businesses, and civil society to arrive at peaceful solutions.

Government is at its best when it partners with civil society to create the space for new ideas to take root and flourish. You and I both know great ideas often come from civil society – from the private and non-profit sectors, philanthropy, think tanks, and academia. It is these ideas that become the cornerstone of sound policies and programs.

I believe you offer an important and unique perspective on one of the toughest global challenges we all face: conflict stabilization. This is why you were invited today: because you all have a wealth of great ideas to share.

History demonstrates that wars and violence start when systems breakdown that allow citizens to engage one another peacefully. This is particularly true when perceptions of marginalization and inequality exist without a means to address them. It is worth noting that the conventional definition of war – armed hostilities between two nation states – often no longer explains today’s conflicts. Instead, international violence increasingly includes individuals or independent groups that cross state borders and destabilize governments and local communities.

Bullets alone will not end these conflicts. For all who are committed to building peace and reducing conflict, we must dedicate ourselves to promoting and engaging both the grassroots and government levels. We must work together at the local and international levels to win peace for all. This is why we are launching the Stabilization Advisory Council, a new public-private partnership to foster collaboration between the Department of State and leaders from the private sector, civil society, and academia. Each of you are our partners in peace – maybe you didn’t think this when you looked at yourselves in the mirror today, but it is true of each of you.

States alone cannot address these problems. We must emphasize building resilience among the most vulnerable. By resilient communities, we mean communities where local leaders, families, schools, and peers know how to spot and address signs of terrorist radicalization. Where mentors or institutions offer powerful counter-arguments or provide alternative paths. Where citizens, law enforcement, and local officials are bound by trust and cooperation. Where the vulnerable have ways to foster a sense of purpose, community, and dignity. Where local voices take the lead in speaking out against violent ideologies, corruption and propaganda. In these resilient communities, terrorist groups will struggle to find new followers and safe havens.

We are excited to invite you to join the Stabilization Advisory Council as a means of fostering these partnerships and collaborating for solutions. We value what you do as individual organizations, and we are keen to see the greatness we can achieve together.

I ask you to join us at this critical time and to take part in something that will be of great service to both the United States and to the world.

Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future