Meeting with Staff and Families of Mission Indonesia and Mission ASEAN
Secretary of State
AMBASSADOR MARCIEL: Okay, we have a joint venture partnership here, of David Carden and I, who will do the easiest job in the world, which is introducing the Secretary of State of the United States of America, Hillary Clinton.
It is wonderful to have you here. Thanks for spending so much time. This is, of course, part of the team, but a big part of the team. They all have been working very hard, very grateful for your time, and all looking forward to getting back to Jakarta tonight, so we can continue all the great work of partnership.
AMBASSADOR CARDEN: Thank you. It is a challenging, introducing somebody who needs no introduction, but it seems only right that I should do it, because I wouldn't be here without her.
I simply want to say that I have not been in this whole-of-government family very long, but I have been here long enough to know that the job that we do out here is made an awful lot easier by this woman. The leadership and the vision that she brings to this job may not be unprecedented, but it is hard for me to believe that that's not the case. So it is my pleasure to introduce the United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. (Applause.) Oh, my goodness. Well, this has been an extraordinary couple of days here in Bali. And I have a new rule. Every international conference should be in Bali. (Laughter.) And the President is looking forward to coming back soon. You are going to get rid of me, and then immediately have to turn around and get ready for him. So I hope you have a few days of respite.
But I wanted to thank each and every one of you. Certainly our bilateral mission and our ASEAN mission -- I just am so grateful and impressed by the work that you have done. And I think that we can agree that both of our ambassadors are doing a first-rate job. I want to thank both Scot and David. Their leadership and their passion is evident in the work that they and you do together. They are a real dynamic duo. Their partnership is a model for what we hope to achieve in a whole-of-government approach, not only in Jakarta, but around the world.
Let me just say a few words about David and the ASEAN team. (Laughter.) The ministerial meetings were terrific. Everybody, with the preparation that you put into it, I want to thank you, because it certainly paid off. It makes a big difference to have a dedicated team to ASEAN.
And, as some of you know, I was determined to do that from the very first time I visited back in 2009, when we said we would sign the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation. I came back, told the White House, "We are going to sign the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation." They said, "The what?" (Laughter.) I said, "You know, it's a friendly, cooperative" -- but it has worked out very well, because we do believe that we have deepened and broadened our relationship.
I know that, for those of you working on the ASEAN mission, it has felt like a start-up, because it is a start-up. We are the first country to have named an ambassador. And you didn't have a lot of resources, you didn't have a lot of space, and you certainly didn't have a lot of sleep. So it is triply impressive, what you have accomplished in such a short period of time.
And then I want to thank and recognize Scot, who I have the privilege of working with before he was confirmed to be our Ambassador. And Scot was an absolutely essential member of my team before he came out to Jakarta. And his help in organizing the comprehensive partnership joint commission meetings is so appreciated. We heard great reports this morning. And I just want to thank you, thank you, Scot, for all you are doing to strengthen our relationship.
And I know education has been a major priority. Because after 9/11, student visa applications fell way off. But through EducationUSA you have helped to change that. And last year alone, student visa applications for the U.S. increased 20 percent. And 95 percent of those applications were approved.
On the scientific front, you have been very active, and it is clearly paying off: @america, the interactive, high-tech outreach space that was recently completed -- in the mall, right -- something that former Under Secretary Judith McHale was so enthusiastic about, she must have reported to me about it 100 times, because it's where the people are. We closed down American centers all over the world for security reasons, and made it also difficult for people to come to the embassy or some other location. So now we are going to where people are.
And I also know the climate change discussion you convened earlier this year had great success, bringing together scientists, business leaders in green technologies, NGO reps, government officials, and even former vice president Al Gore. But that is kind of above and beyond the day-to-day work that you do every single day.
I know that you are assisting the 50,000 Americans who visit Bali every year. You have engaged with youth groups and are educating them about scholarship and exchange opportunities, as well as creating the science and energy partnerships, and telling America's story.
So, I want to thank you. And I know you do it under difficult circumstances. Sixty years has taken its toll on the Jakarta chancery. And as you prepare for a transition into a new facility, I know you've been working out of sheds and temporary buildings. Sometimes the power goes out, or the water stops running. But your commitment doesn't stop in any way, and I thank you for that. And I thank family members who support you here in Indonesia, and back home.
And I particularly want to thank our local staff, because you are the backbone of our operation, as you are around the world. Year in and year out, ambassadors and counsels general and Foreign Service officers and secretaries of state come and go, but you stay. And you provide the continuity and the experience and expertise that we need. And that is greatly appreciated.
I also want to thank our security team. We have 550 security guards throughout the country. Thank you for all you do to protect us. And I know you put a lot of energy into protecting us, and you put a lot of energy into organizing volleyball tournaments. So I don't know who won the last one, but I know it brought friends and family together, and raised everyone's spirits. So thank you for that, as well.
So, really, this has been a smooth, productive set of meetings. And I am grateful to you. And I look forward to continuing to work with both ambassadors and with the tremendous teams that support them. President Obama and I believe that Indonesia is one of the most consequential relationships for both of our countries in the 21st century. And we are going to do everything we can to put it on the strongest possible foundation for years to come. Thank you all very much.