Monday, January 26, 2009

Secretary Clinton at USAID

Last week, Secretary Clinton also made a stop and gave a speech at the USAID HQ at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. Below are a few excerpts from her remarks. So far no video of the event appears to be available online but the whole text is here. * Video is now here (updated 1/26).

And I wanted to come here today with a very simple message: I believe in development, and I believe with all my heart that it truly is an equal partner, along with defense and diplomacy, in the furtherance of America’s national security. (Applause.)


What I’m hoping to do as your Secretary of State is to work with USAID to provide the kind of leadership and support that will give you the tools you desperately need in order to fulfill the missions we are asking you to perform. We are asking you to do more and more with less, and my goal is to make sure we match the mission and the resources. It will be very difficult for us to expect you to perform at the very high level of professionalism that we will expect, without providing you the resources to do the job we ask you to do. (Applause.)

As I said yesterday in the State Department, we are going to work toward robust diplomacy. And I challenged my colleagues in the State Department to think more broadly, more deeply, outside the proverbial box, to let us know the ideas you have that will make what you do more effective for us. And I offer the same challenge to all of you here at USAID. I know that for some of you, this has been not just a career, but a labor of love, and that sometimes it hasn’t been easy, but that you have stayed with this mission because of your conviction of its importance. But I am asking you now to help us help you to be more effective.


Maybe because I have been in the public eye and in the political world for what seems like a very long time now – (laughter) – I welcome debate and I am respectful of dissent, and then I expect everybody, once we’ve made a decision, to work as hard as you can to get the job done. But I want to know from you what we need to do to make sure that USAID assumes once again the global leadership role you deserve it to have in the delivery of development assistance. (Applause.)


So this will be a lot of hard work. But you know, one of my all-time favorite movies, A League of Their Own, has this great scene where the Geena Davis character has decided, you know, her husband’s come home from the war, he was injured, they’re in the playoffs, and she just goes to Tom Hanks, the broken-down, drunken coach – that’s not an analogy, I’m just describing his role – (laughter) – and says, “You know, I’ve got to go home. I just can’t do this anymore. It is just too hard.” And Tom Hanks says, “Well, it’s supposed to be hard. If it weren’t hard, anybody could do it.”

More photos from her USAID stop here.

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