- by Andy Ho
It was a memorable gathering last week at the Global Diaspora Forum, hosted jointly by the State Department and USAID. I met many in the diaspora community, all interested in making a difference in our communities. One of the highlights was hearing from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. You can catch a video and text of her speech. It's about 20 minutes, but worth listening [and reading].
Here's one excerpt that really resonated with me around both the gift and opportunity we have as a diaspora community member here in the United States, and how philanthropy can play a role in promoting dialogue, relationship, and building a future where we can relate with one another in peace.
"We see so many places around the world being torn apart by ethnic, religious, racial, sectarian divides of all kinds. When I walk down the street, as I love to do in New York, and I see people living together and working together whose relatives back in the countries from where they came hate each other, kill each other, it just – it makes me so grateful for our country, but it also makes me so heartbroken that other countries don’t have that opportunity, don’t see beyond moving beyond the past. And I think Americans, like all of you, have such an opportunity to talk with, to support these kinds of changes in minds and hearts. Because democracy is not just an election; democracy is changing the way people relate to one another, work with one another, listen to one another. And there’s no place that has more experience, since we are now the longest-lasting democracy, than we do. And there are no people with more credibility than all of you.
And that’s why we have focused in on the importance of our own diaspora to our efforts here at the State Department. But we can’t do this without your constructive criticism, your ideas, your support. And I hope that out of this forum we will get many, many more ideas. And all the ones that I’ve mentioned today you will learn about and come up with your own, because we have to send a clear, unmistakable call to action to people everywhere. They really can have a better life; they really can see their children do better than they have done; they really can live in peace, one with the other." -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, July 25, 2012
For more coverage, check out the Forum twitter feed at #2012GDF.