Swearing-In Ceremony of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy

Remarks
Washington, DC
May 8, 2003


Commissioners:
Barbara Barrett, Chairman
Harold Pachios
Charles Tre' Evers
Maria Sophia Aguirre
Elizabeth F. Bagley
Jay T. Snyder

Guests:
Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Patricia Harrison, Assistant Secretary of State for ECA
Lawrence Dunham, Assistant Chief of Protocol


Lawrence Dunham: Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. My name is Lawrence Dunham. I am the Assistant Chief of Protocol here at the State Department, and it is a great pleasure to welcome you to the Treaty Room today for the swearing-in ceremony for the members of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. Being sworn in today are Barbara McConnell Barrett to be the Chairman, and as Commissioners the immediate Past Chairman Harold Pachios; Tre` Evers; Maria Sophia Aguirre; Elizabeth Frawley Bagley; and Jay T. Snyder. We are privileged today to have the Secretary of State, the Honorable Colin Powell with us to officiate at our ceremony and to administer the oath of office. We are also very pleased to have Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Patricia Harrison, participating in our ceremony, as well. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the family members and friends of the Chairman and the Commission who are here with us today. We are very pleased to have you joining us for this occasion. I would also like to acknowledge and extend a special welcome to his Excellency Karim Kawar, the Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, who is way over there in the back, and Mrs. Kawar, and I believe that Senator Dodd has joined us, so welcome to you, as well, sir. We are very pleased and honored to have all of you here and I’d like to invite everybody now to join me in extending a warm welcome to our participants and all of our special guests.

Now our ceremony this afternoon will begin with remarks by Assistant Secretary Harrison. This will be followed by remarks by Secretary Powell and the administration of the oath of office. And concluding our ceremony today we will have remarks by Chairman Barrett who will speak on behalf of all of the members of the Commission. And thereafter, I would like to invite all of you to form a receiving line here in front of the podium to congratulate the Chairman of the new Commissioners. Now, ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present Assistant Secretary of State Harrison.

Assistant Secretary of State Patricia Harrison: Thank you, and welcome to all of our distinguished guests and colleagues and friends. Secretary Powell has said that the story of American diplomacy is a story of hope and freedom. And in times of war and peace, public diplomacy is crucial to the success of American foreign policy and must be integral to its conduct. This, of course, is an important time for our country and the world, and I want to thank each one of you for making the decision to serve on the U.S. Advisory Commission for Public Diplomacy. We welcome your expertise and your commitment, but I have to let you all know that your job and mine is made easier because we have at the helm of the State Department a true leader who, working closely with President Bush, inspires, engages, informs and influences at every level from world leaders to those who are part of the successor generation and will one day be leaders. Secretary Powell has said as we work to end of the scourge of terrorism, let us also work to increase peace, prosperity and democracy. And through his leadership, utilizing all the tools of technology and traditional people to people diplomacy and your good counsel, we will achieve those goals. It is my distinct honor to introduce the Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Secretary of State Colin Powell: Thank you very much. Thank you so very much, Pat, for that kind introduction, and let me thank you for the service you are providing to the department and to the nation as we pursue our public diplomacy goals. It is a great pleasure for me to be here this morning to preside at this ceremony, and I am pleased to see so many friends of American diplomacy here today. Mr. Ambassador, thank you for being here, and my good friend Senator Chris Dodd, thank you for being here, as well, sir. There are so many other people here of note that I dare not stop and take note of each and every one of them, but one of my oldest and dearest friends in life is here, General P.X. Kelley, former Commandant of the United States Marine Corps. That’s not what I remember him for, and P.X. knows what comes next. Thirty-seven years ago at the United States Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, there was a course of instruction that all young infantry officers in the Army had to get on amphibious operations. And the person who taught that course was then Lt. Col. P.X. Kelley, United States Marine Corps. But the United States Army had some experience in amphibious operations, as well, so it was important that it be taught in a joint way with both the Marine senior instructor in amphibious operations, and find some young American infantry Major of the American Army who might dare stand on the stage with Lt. Col. Kelley and do joint instructions. And they found one, and his name was Colin L. Powell. So Col. Kelley and Major Powell presented this course of instruction, and we were rated every single month as the best two instructors at the United States Army Infantry school, and I have been following in his wake ever since, but nothing has given me greater joy over the years than to appear before Marine Corps audiences and say that I taught Col. Kelley everything he knows about amphibious operations. So it is good to have you here, P.X., and it is great to see you again.

I’d like to thank Senator Dodd and other members of Congress who may have joined us for all the support they have provided our public diplomacy effort over the years and, frankly, I am very pleased to have the opportunity coming back from New York to swear in the new members of the Advisory Commission for Public Diplomacy. Chairman Barbara Barrett and Commissioners Maria Sophia Aguirre; Elizabeth Frawley Bagley; Tre` Evers; Harold Pachios and Jay T. Snyder.

Congress established the Commission at the height of the Cold War to make sure that America’s story of freedom penetrated the Iron and Bamboo Curtains to give hope and inspiration to oppressed people. It worked. Now, over half a century later, the Commission’s work is more essential, more vital than before. We have a very important story to tell, a story of active American support for freedom and development around the world. Just take America’s role in freeing Muslim peoples. We have been in four conflicts in Muslim countries over the past 12 years, and in every one we have put hope back in the hearts of people.

In Kuwait and Afghanistan, we saved Muslims from a fate worse than death. We helped the Kosovo Albanians who were suffering under Serbian government repression, and now we have liberated Iraqi people from a cruel and dictatorial regime.

Ask a Kuwaiti mother if she has a better life because we freed her from Iraqi occupation. Ask an Afghanistan girl, who can now go to school and listen to music, if she preferred life under the Taliban. Ask a Kosovar if he enjoyed life under Milosevic’s thumb, or ask an Iraqi who has just returned from his first pilgrimage to the holy city of Karbala, the first time in a quarter century he has been permitted to do that. Ask him if he thought he was better off under Sadam Hussein.

This is a story that needs to be told. We don’t get credit for what we have done. We have not gone to these places and claimed a single inch of ground. Not one of them is going to be an American colony or the 51st state. Each and every one of them was freed from oppression at the hands of other Muslims or non-Muslims who intended to suppress Muslims. We’ve got a great story to tell but we don’t do it well enough. We have to do a better job – we are going to do a better job now that the right scenes are coming out of Afghanistan and Iraq, and as long as we have dedicated people such as these new Commissioners to help us with a re-invigorated public diplomacy effort within the department.

We are counting on the commission to help us tell our story by, in the words of the legislative mandate, “providing oversight of U.S. Government activities intended to understand, inform and influence foreign publics”. In doing this vital work, you members of the Commission will be building on a solid tradition of success. Past Commission reports have been ahead of the curve on so many issues from insisting that our broadcasting embrace television as well as radio some years ago to moving our public diplomacy into the world of the Internet. The Commission recommended many times that we increase the time and scope of our public diplomacy training. Well, we have gotten that message and training for our new Public Affairs officers is being increased from 3 weeks to 20 weeks so we can send out people who are fully qualified in modern 21st Century public diplomacy and communications. Given the magnitude of the task before us, we are fortunate; indeed, to have these six distinguished citizens join us in our efforts.

Chairwoman Barbara Barrett is an American success story having risen from humble beginnings to create an enviable career in public service. Among her many accomplishments, Barbara was the first woman to serve as Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. She has also headed the American Management Association and has been President of the International Women’s Forum. But what really impresses me is that Barbara was the first civilian woman to land in a F18 Hornet on an aircraft carrier, even before George Bush landed out there – and you probably got into less trouble than he’s getting into. Barbara, I know you will be a superb Chairwoman, and thank you for your willingness to serve.

Maria Sophia Aguirre, who is here with her brother Roberto, has successfully combined a distinguished academic career with leadership in civic organizations including the Commission on the Status of Women in the Professions. She is also actively involved with leadership programs for young women. We are so pleased to welcome her to the Commission.

Elizabeth Frawley Bagley has a distinguished record of public service, a former Ambassador to Portugal; she now serves as Associate Director for the Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on Threats to Democracy and is a member of the Council’s Task Force on Public Diplomacy. I am delighted that her husband Smith Bagley could be with us, as well another distinguished public servant.

Tre` Evers brings to the Commission a wealth of experience in government communications and marketing. He has served in a distinguished way in city government in Orlando and here in Washington with the Department of Transportation. I would like to welcome Tre` and his wife Kathleen and thank them for their willingness to serve the nation in this way.

I am pleased that Harold Pachios has agreed to serve another term on the Commission and welcome you here today, Harold, and your son Peter. I would also like to take this opportunity, Harold, to thank you for your superb work as Chairman, and I know we can continue to rely on your experience and wisdom as a Commission member.

Last but certainly not least is Jay Snyder, here with his wife Tracy. In addition to his successful business career, Jay served as a U.S. Representative to the 55th United Nations General Assembly. There, as a public delegate, Jay was actively involved in an issue that is close to my heart and one of the great challenges of our time, HIV AIDS, what to do about it, how to fight this weapon of mass destruction that is destroying so many people around the world.

Clearly in the selection of these individuals, the President has chosen well in finding talented and successful people to help us with our Public Diplomacy effort. Much has been asked of our Public Diplomacy efforts. Much more will be asked, because if we are to succeed in telling America’s story, we will need all the energy, passion and commitment of these six Americans. I look forward to receiving their advice and their recommendations, and I thank each and every one of them for taking on this important assignment. I thank them not only on my own behalf but also on behalf of all of my colleagues in the Department and on behalf of the President but especially on behalf of their fellow citizens for their willingness to serve their nation in this new and very, very important way. And now if they are ready, I am ready to swear them all in en masse.

Please raise your right hand: I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that I take this obligation freely and without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God.

Thank you and congratulations to each and every one of you.

Chairman Barbara Barrett: Mr. Secretary, Mr. Senator, your Excellency, Members of the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, it was Socrates who said that the beginning is the most important part, and this is a Commission was an extraordinary mission at an extraordinary time in American history, at a time when the world is taking a look at America to determine of what stuff we are made. We have a Commission that is charged with responsibility to evaluate and guide on how America is perceived at home and abroad. Mr. Secretary, you have just sworn in a very talented, a very committed and a very energetic Commission that will lead with great vigor and with a great focus on making the understanding, the prosperity and the democracy around the world more respectful and more appreciative of what America stands for. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Thank you, Acting Under Secretary Pat Harrison, Secretary Paula Dobriansky, Secretary Green. It is a great pleasure to be here and we look forward to getting to work. Let’s get to it. Thank you so very much.

Secretary Colin Powell: We are going to set up a receiving line so you can all congratulate the new Commissions, but before starting may I note the arrival, late but nevertheless very welcome, of Senator Biden and Senator Lautenberg. Thank you both for being here.

Lawrence Dunham: And now ladies and gentlemen, I would like you to congratulate the newest members of our Public Diplomacy Advisory Commission.