Swearing-in Ceremony of "Take Your Child to Work" Day

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Dean Acheson Auditorium
Washington, DC
April 28, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. (Applause.) Well, I am so excited to see so many of you here today and to welcome you to the State Department. I know that some of you have been here before, but how many of you have never been to the State Department before? Raise your hand. Oh, that’s good. So we’ve got a good number that are here for the first time. So as you go through your day, ask whatever questions you want of the people that are around you, because I want you to learn a lot about what we do here at the State Department. Because we really couldn’t do our jobs without the support of our families, and in a very real way, each and every one of you whose mom or dad or aunt or uncle or grandmother or grandfather or somebody else who brought you today, we really couldn’t do it without you understanding and supporting how important this work is.

I also want to single out two groups. First, the students who are guests from Miner Elementary. Who’s here from Miner Elementary?

AUDIENCE: (Cheering.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yay! (Applause.) Well, I know that there are a lot of State Department employees who give their free time to Miner Elementary and the students there and the teachers, and we’re delighted you could join us.

And then I particularly want to welcome any of you whose mom or dad aren’t home because they’re serving our country somewhere else. Maybe they’re in Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan or Yemen or Syria or lots of other places that are very challenging right now. And then there are some of you who had to be evacuated, who left a lot of friends and maybe your schools in the Ivory Coast or in Egypt or in Libya or some other place that – because you couldn’t stay because of what was going on. So I especially want to welcome each and every one of you here and thank you for your understanding and support of somebody in your family, a mom or dad or someone else, who is far away and maybe misses a birthday party or a ballgame or a recital or a school event. They think about you all the time. And thankfully with technology now, they can actually communicate with you. So I am very grateful for your understanding and your support.

At the State Department we do a lot of work everywhere in the world, trying to help our country with the important issues that we face. I’m very proud of all the people who work here. Some are helping to protect our environment, our oceans or our air or our land. Some are helping to end wars and conflicts, try to bring warring people together so that maybe they can figure out a way to get along. Sometimes we’re opening up business opportunities so that more people back here in the United States can have jobs. And sometimes we are talking about what America stands for, who we are as a people, what our history is, what our values are, by reaching out into the community and trying to be involved with what goes on in another country. Every single day that’s what people here do, whether they’re posted in Washington or they’re posted at a mission overseas.

And I really want you to know that we want to help people. We want to keep our nation strong and safe. But mostly we do the work we do because we want you to have a better future. We really want you to be in a world that is more peaceful, more prosperous, more positive about what will happen not just in our country, but in all the countries that you may travel to as you get older.

And because we are engaged around the world, it’s a 24/7 job, because when we’re asleep, somebody else halfway around the world is awake. And that means that a lot of our people working here and working elsewhere in the world are on call all the time, because you never know what’s going to happen and what it’s going to take for us to be involved and helpful.

I think that it is one of the most rewarding jobs that anyone could have. And as you go up through the years of your schooling, I hope you’ll think about maybe a career here at the State Department, study languages, learn about science and technology, particularly new communication. Because now, since I’ve been Secretary of State, we are on Twitter and Facebook, we’re communicating in many different languages because we want to reach people where people are actually involved online. Read everything you can about history, particularly world history, and keep up with the news every day, because even if you decide you’re not going to go into the Foreign Service or the Civil Service or some other role in helping our country work around the world, you’ll be an informed citizen, and we and our democracy really need as many informed citizens as possible.

Now, we have a tradition here at the State Department on this "Take Your Child to Work" Day that all of you become honorary employees for the day. So this is kind of a big deal, because it’s not just that we want you to come and hang around, we want you to participate. But in order to do that, you have to take an oath, which is what we do when we swear people in – that’s the description – when we have somebody raise their hand and take an oath, then they come to work and work on behalf of our country.

So I want you please to stand up. Inside your folders, there’s a copy of the oath. Just the people being sworn in – the adults can stay seated, but just our honorary employees for a day. And the oath is inside, so you can follow along. Raise your right hand and repeat after me.

Secretary Clinton administers oath.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, congratulations! You are now honorary employees. (Applause.)

I hope you have a wonderful day here. I hope you get lots of work done for America. I hope you will ask every question you can imagine that you’re interested in, because that’s what we’re here for today, is to answer those questions, and that I hope you will seriously think about coming back and working with us full-time, sometime in the future, after you finish all of your education. I am so proud of you, and I am so pleased that you could be here.

Thank you all, honorary employees for the day. (Applause.)

PRN: 2011/644