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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Welcome.  It’s a pleasure to me and enlightening to hear from some leaders in civil society, from independent journalism here, gender equality advocates, to hear about their work, to hear about some of the challenges they face but also some of the opportunities, and as well how the work that the United States is doing and can do even more of to support their efforts.

As we say everywhere we go, civil society, independent media are at the heart of any democracy, and it’s always instructive for me and enlightening for me to hear directly from leaders in these fields and the work that they’re doing.  So I’m grateful for all of you sharing your time today and also grateful for our team here at the embassy for the work that they’re doing every day to support the efforts of civil society and independent media here in Rwanda as well as around the world.  So thank you very much.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future