Secretary Clinton presided today over the signing of $275 million in U.S. aid to Jordan for three water and wasterwater projects in the water-poor Middle Eastern country. The assistance, made through the U.S. government's Millennium Challenge Corporation, will help Jordan upgrade its water-supply network, improve wastewater collection, and expand an important wastewater treatment plant, thereby giving nearly 2 million people better access to clean water, Clinton said in her remarks.
Clinton also acknowledged that the $275 million in aid comes at a time when many Americans are struggling with finances, but explained that Americans are "committed to Jordan's future" because a thriving Jordan benefits the entire world:
I want to say a few words directly to the people of Jordan. In a time when many families here in the United States are tightening their own belts and making difficult sacrifices, we are making this investment in your country because we believe in Jordan's promise and we are committed to Jordan's future. Americans understand that a strong and prosperous Jordan is good for the region and good for the world. We want to work with you to realize our shared aspirations and shape the future together.
Clinton also thanked Jordan for its support in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, saying, "The Jordanian Government … [has] worked with us literally side by side and telephone by telephone to support direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians with the goal of two states for two peoples and a comprehensive peace in the region. We could not do this without Jordan's leadership."
In the photo above, Clinton and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh stand as U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation CEO Daniel Yohannes (seated at right) and Mohammad Najjar, Jordan's minister of water and irrigation, sign the compact today in Washington. Below is a video of the remarks from the signing ceremony:
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Over the weekend, the prime minister of Barbados, David Thompson, passed away at age 48 after suffering from pancreatic cancer. He leaves behind a wife and three daughters. Secretary Clinton offered condolences on behalf of the people of the United States in the following statement on Saturday, Oct. 23:
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I offer my deepest condolences to the people of Barbados on the passing of Prime Minister David Thompson. Barbados has lost a leader and the nations of the Americas have lost a friend and valued partner. Prime Minister Thompson was a champion for democracy and justice in the Caribbean and an advocate for wider prosperity and opportunity throughout the region. Today my thoughts and prayers are with his wife Mara and their daughters.
Barbados is blessed with strong democratic institutions that will ensure a smooth transition of power, and I am confident that under its new leadership, Barbados' strong friendship with the United States will continue.
YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images
Ever wonder about the complex logistics involved in coordinating an overseas trip by the U.S. secretary of state? If so, check out the National Geographic special, Inside the State Department, to air on Monday, Nov. 8, at 9 p.m. U.S. Eastern and Pacific times. The National Geographic Channel followed Secretary Clinton for 20,000 miles as she traveled around the world, from New York to Pakistan, and places in between such as Morocco and Jerusalem. You'll see all sorts of behind-the-scenes stuff, such as bomb-sniffing dogs hard at work and the State Department's "gift vault."
A news release states, "The State Department's role on the world stage has never been more important and the stakes have never been higher. Its leader is arguably the most famous woman in the world, with a traveling staff providing 24/7 support. Now, the National Geographic Channel goes Inside the State Department to open a window into the efforts of the men and women representing critical U.S. interests abroad."
Clinton tells National Geographic, "This job is both a great privilege and an extraordinary challenge. We live on the balance beam of war and peace, of terrorism and stability, of poverty and prosperity."
Steve Hoggard, who filmed Clinton during her travels overseas, states in the news release, "It is astounding to witness the brutal 16- to 20-hour days worked by Secretary Clinton and her team.… They only get a few hours of sleep and are constantly working at a rapid pace traveling from one destination to the next. I have truly been in awe of what they do to represent our county across the globe."
Clinton will be delivering remarks at 7:30 p.m. today at the film's world premier at National Geographic's headquarters. Below are a couple of clips from the special:
Screen shot from National Geographic Channel, "Inside the State Department"
When it comes to Mideast peace, Secretary Clinton appealed yesterday to all who care about the issue: "Please don't give up in the face of difficulty."
She made the remark last night in a keynote speech at a gala event hosted by the American Task Force on Palestine. She acknowledged that moving foward with peace talks is tough and that there's no "magic formula" to overcoming obstacles: "I cannot stand here tonight and tell you there is some magic formula that I have discovered that will break through the current impasse. But I can tell you, we are working every day, sometimes every hour, to create the conditions for negotiations to continue and succeed."
Clinton also acknowledged that coming to peace is tough psychologically for the parties involved because it requires moving past so much historical animosity. To rounds of applause, she quoted Palestinian poet Naomi Shihab Nye as saying, "I'm not interested in who suffered the most. I'm interested in people getting over it"; then after the applause, Clinton went on to say, "And that is the biggest obstacle of them all. I know people cannot forget. I know most people cannot forgive. But I do know also that the future holds the possibility of progress, if not in our lifetimes then certainly in our children's."
Clinton also encouraged people to be look forward, not backward, saying, "People on all sides of this conflict must choose to move beyond a history they cannot change to embrace a future they can shape together." She also urged people to adopt a glass-half-full, as opposed to glass-half-empty, mentality: "Now, in any tough negotiation, it is natural to focus on what we are being asked to give up. But it is important to keep in mind what you, the Palestinians and Israelis, stand to gain."
Clinton was also optimistic in her assessment of prospects of an independent Palestinian state, saying:
It is easier than ever to envision an independent Palestine able to govern itself, uphold its responsibilities to provide for its own people, and ensure security. This gives confidence to negotiators on both sides and hope to those who have long looked forward to that day.
Under President [Mahmoud] Abbas and Prime Minister [Salam] Fayyad's leadership, and under Prime Minister Fayyad's two-year plan, the Palestinian Authority is going beyond rhetoric and actually building a new reality. It is reversing a history of corruption and working hard to produce results that matter in Palestinians' daily lives.
Clinton also pointed out promising news from the World Bank:
The World Bank recently reported that if the Palestinian Authority maintains its momentum in building institutions and delivering public services, it is, and I quote, "well-positioned for the establishment of a state at any point in the near future."
Below is the video of her remarks:
Screen shot from U.S. State Department video
Secretary Clinton delivered a special message of support to LGBT teens yesterday in the wake of several suicides by American teenagers who were bullied for being gay or being perceived as gay. To all the teens out there who are bullied and feel all alone in the world, Clinton said, "Hang in there and ask for help. Your life is so important." She told them, "Please remember that your life is valuable and that you are not alone."
She offered a message of hope, saying, "It will get better for you." She referred to the advances made by women and members of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities over the course of U.S. history and said the same progress is being made by gays and lesbians. "The story of America is the story of people coming together to tear down barriers, stand up for rights, and insist on equality, not only for themselves, but for all people," she said.
Clinton has long been a supporter of LGBT rights (10 years ago she was the first First Lady to march in a pride parade), and she declared in June that "Human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights." During her tenure as secretary of state, several LGBT-friendly policies has been enacted at the State Department, including equal benefits for same-sex partners of State Department employees, new regulations that make it easier for transgender Americans to amend their passports, and grants to help human rights advocates in other countries who are in danger due to their LGBT status or their work on LGBT issues.
Below is the video of Clinton's special message, with the text of the complete message pasted underneath.
Like millions of Americans, I was terribly saddened to learn of the recent suicides of several teenagers across our country after being bullied because they were gay or because people thought they were gay. Children are particularly vulnerable to the hurt caused by discrimination and prejudice and we have lost many young people over the years to suicide. These most recent deaths are a reminder that all Americans have to work harder to overcome bigotry and hatred.
I have a message for all the young people out there who are being bullied, or who feel alone and find it hard to imagine a better future: First of all, hang in there and ask for help. Your life is so important—to your family, your friends, and to your country. And there is so much waiting for you, both personally and professionally— there are so many opportunities for you to develop your talents and make your contributions.
And these opportunities will only increase. Because the story of America is the story of people coming together to tear down barriers, stand up for rights, and insist on equality, not only for themselves but for all people. And in the process, they create a community of support and solidarity that endures. Just think of the progress made by women just during my lifetime by women, or ethnic, racial and religious minorities over the course of our history —and by gays and lesbians, many of whom are now free to live their lives openly and proudly. Here at the State Department, I am grateful every day for the work of our LGBT employees who are serving the United States as foreign service officers and civil servants here and around the world. It wasn’t long ago that these men and women would not have been able to serve openly, but today they can—because it has gotten better. And it will get better for you.
So take heart, and have hope, and please remember that your life is valuable, and that you are not alone. Many people are standing with you and sending you their thoughts, their prayers and their strength. Count me among them.
Take care of yourself.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Normally, U.S. officials and politicians want American companies to create jobs in the United States and keep jobs at home, but today, Secretary Clinton encouraged U.S. business executives to create jobs across the ocean in Northern Ireland. Doing so might sound counterintuitive to many Americans, but creating jobs in Northern Ireland serves a good cause -- peace.
At a U.S.-Northern Ireland economic conference she hosted in Washington today, Clinton praised the 1,000 new jobs that American companies have created recently in Northern Ireland and explained, "[A] stronger economy in Northern Ireland will help secure a lasting peace. And peace in Northern Ireland is a bedrock foreign-policy priority for the United States."
In her remarks, she went on to add:
[E]conomic opportunities are what we are focusing on today because we know that to survive, peace must be visible beyond the halls of government or even the meeting places where former adversaries come together to work out their differences. It must be seen in daily improvements in people's lives, not just in the absence of violence, but the presence of good jobs, business starts, skills learned, communities recovered from decline.
Essentially, Clinton understands that for there to be long-lasting peace, people must have jobs and some sense of economic security. She acknowledged that when many Americans, particularly American business executives, have heard the words "Northern Ireland," they haven't exactly thought "investment opportunities." But Clinton said that mentality has been changing recently, and more people are associating Northern Ireland with "reconciliation, hope, and opportunity."
Of the 1,000 new jobs created by American companies in Northern Ireland, Clinton mentioned 100 positions established by GE Energy and over 300 in the New York Stock Exchange's Belfast office. She also hailed Dow Chemical's announcement that it was starting a supply-chain consulting service in Belfast.
The video of her complete remarks is below:
U.S. State Dept., video screen shot
Thousands of Filipinos have fled to evacuation centers and at least 14 people have died due to Typhoon Megi, which hit the Philippines yesterday with winds exceeding 155 mph (250 kph). Today, it's dumping heavy rain on the country and is expected to reach southern China later this week. Secretary Clinton offered the following condolences today:
On behalf of the people of the United States, I offer our condolences for the damage and loss of life caused on the island of Luzon by Typhoon Megi. Our embassy in Manila has offered immediate disaster relief assistance, and we are working closely with Philippine authorities to offer additional assistance as needed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Luzon and all Filipinos affected by this tragedy.
Last November, Clinton visited the Philippines, where she toured a flood-stricken school and announced $5 million in aid to help recover from three massive storms that had hit the country in the previous six weeks.
In the Oct. 19 photo above, people survey typhoon damage in San Jose, Isabela, Philippines. In the Oct. 19 photo below -- too cute to pass up -- an evacuated baby eats handout rice at a converted basketball court in Manila.
Photos, top to bottom: Bradley Ambrose/Getty Images, NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
Describing Secretary Clinton as among a group of "luminaries," Foreign Affairs* announced today that America's top diplomat is a contributor to its next issue -- a special issue called "The World Ahead" on "trends and challenges that will shape the future and how the … global role of the United States will be transformed."
Here is a blurb from the news release (the bold is in the original):
Foreign Affairs latest issue looks, through the eyes of such luminaries as Hillary Clinton, Eric Schmidt, Richard Haass, and Roger Altman, at the trends and challenges that will shape the future and how the how the [sic] global role of the United States will be transformed. The issue's contributors reach some startling conclusions about a range of trends, including the widening chasm between China and the United States, the "fertility implosion" that will produce shortages of working-age populations in half the world, and the growing obstacles to cooperative approaches to solving global problems, such as climate change.
David Kellogg, the publisher, stated in the news release: "This special issue of Foreign Affairs has already raised the bar for the magazine - it is the first single-themed and largest issue ever produced. The cover has added a gatefold and dramatic cover graphics."
This special issue hits newsstands Nov. 2, so check it out if you want to read about Clinton's views on the next decade's most important trends.
*No, Foreign Affairs is not the same thing as Foreign Policy.
Image: Thumbnail from www.magazineline.com/magazineline/foreignaffairs.htm
Madam Secretary is an obsessive blog about all things Hillary Clinton. From her policies to her pantsuits, Madam Secretary delivers up-to-the-minute news, analysis, and gossip about America's top diplomat.