Secretary Kerry Tells Miami Students, ‘Your Country Needs You’

Secretary of State John Kerry delivered remarks today to students at Miami Dade Honors College at the Miami Freedom Tower in Miami, Florida.

Secretary Kerry told the students, “I honestly believe there is no clearer path to a good life than devoting a significant part of your energy to causes that enrich the lives of others, whether near or far, whether you know them or not.  And what is true for each of us as an individual is true for whole countries as well.”

The Secretary then said, “…For generations, through two global conflicts, a Great Depression, and decades of Cold War rivalry, the United States has led in directions that the vast majority of the world’s people have wanted to go: toward liberty, towards justice, towards peace.  And I emphasize tonight that we haven’t slowed down."

Emphasizing that the United States is more engaged, in more places on more critical issues than ever before in American history, Secretary Kerry pointed to several areas on which the United States is working to address global challenges. “As I speak, we are striving to find a diplomatic solution to the catastrophic civil war in Syria, leading an international coalition against terrorist groups based in the Middle East, and supporting our partners in Colombia as they seek to end the hemisphere’s longest-running internal conflict. To protect future generations, we are leading the way in implementing the first-ever global agreement to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change -- an issue of enormous urgency to coastal states like Florida and cities like Miami."

"To ease suffering, we are engaged in an all-out effort to shield women in our country and overseas from the Zika virus, because we believe that pregnancy should be a time of expectation and hope, not a time of danger. We are also launching a worldwide initiative to empower adolescent girls, because we have learned that when women have the power to make real choices about their lives, families are stronger, children are more likely to stay in school – the cycle of poverty is broken, and more constructive values are likely to be handed down to the young," he continued.

Secretary Kerry also pointed to the United States' effort to help the people of Cuba begin a new chapter in their history noting, "The old policy wasn’t working." Underscoring the importance of people-to-people ties, Secretary Kerry continued, “…It is healthy when Cuban Americans and Cubans are able to visit with each other, restore family ties, and build new friendships.  To be clear, we neither can – nor should – forget what happened in the past.  No one is suggesting that.  But as the scriptures remind us, to everything there is a season.  And for the United States and Cuba, the time has come to replace yesterday’s gridlock with tomorrow’s agenda for change."

“My friends, it’s an understatement to say that we face a lot of challenges in the world right now, but that is the case, in fact, with every generation," said Secretary Kerry as he urged the generation represented by the students at Miami Dade College to face the challenges and seize the opportunities facing them. 

The Secretary then encouraged the students to consider a career with the U.S. Department of State stating, “…I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t invite you -- as you make your career plans -- to think about the possibility of public service when your days as a student are over. Because your country really does need you -- in all your diversity.”

Emphasizing the value diversity can bring to the Department's work and global presence, Secretary Kerry outlined what it means to serve in the U.S. Department of State. He said, “…Let me be clear about what serving in the State Department means.  It means having the chance to see the world close up and help transform it at the same time.  It means being the face of America, even in distant countries where Americans are rarely seen. It means sitting down with foreign officials to plan how our nations can help one another -- whether it’s by stopping a conflict before it begins, halting an epidemic disease before it spreads, or confronting a violent extremist group before it puts down roots."

Secretary Kerry continued, “It means being the voice on the other end of a phone when Americans who are traveling get in trouble.

“It means helping our businesspeople to establish contacts that can increase prosperity and create jobs here at home.

“It means reaching out to foreign civil society organizations to offer support when journalists or human rights workers or democracy advocates or religious groups are persecuted.”

As he concluded his remarks, Secretary Kerry reiterated to the students, "...there is never a wrong time to stand up for an ideal or to pour every last measure of your energy and talent into a cause that matters."

For more information:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addresses Miami Dade College Honors graduates on April 14, 2016.
Posted by DipNote Bloggers
April 14, 2016

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