Remarks at the Youth and Community Leaders Reconciliation Roundtable

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Center for Research and Action for Peace
Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire
January 17, 2012

First, let me say how honored I am to be here with all of you who are seeking reconciliation and finding common ground. I want to thank Mr. Kanyatsi and your colleagues at Search for Common Ground and Father Loua and everyone here at CERAP. We know how hard it is to overcome differences and to work toward reconciliation. I want to thank you for sharing your stories with us today, and I want to thank those who were in the small play for so strongly illustrating what you are trying to do.

I am grateful we have two religious leaders here today who recognize the importance of inclusive dialogue. Your work makes me optimistic that your country, Cote d'Ivoire, and all Ivoirians can overcome the differences that have, for too long, hurt the progress of your nation. Our political or ethnic or religious differences are not as important as our common humanity. President Obama and I are very proud to support the work that is being done here. The United States has worked with many countries to overcome conflict and war. We know everyone has a role to play in deciding whether the future will be peaceful or not. Whether you are a president of a country, a minister or imam, a young man or a young woman, each person can decide whether to go on hating or to begin living together and working together.

So we are here today to applaud your work but to also recognize with you there is much more to be done. In the United States, we have people from every nation, every ethnicity, every religion in the world living and working together. It’s always a little surprising when people come to my country from their own country, where they did not get along with each other, and then they find themselves looking for someone from their country to share food, to share language, to share memories together. So it is our hope and our prayer that the work that is being done here will help build a new, strong, peaceful, prosperous Cote d'Ivoire for the young men and women and for all the children to come.

There is no more important work for Ivoirians or for any people anywhere in the world than to find reconciliation. And the United States will remain your partner and your friend. We want to look to Cote d'Ivoire in the future as an example of how people can work together and how the differences are what make you more interesting, not put you apart and against each other.

So let me thank you for sharing your work with me and my colleagues, and we wish you a very bright and wonderful future for you individually and for this blessed country. Thank you.

PRN: 2012/T58-04