Meeting With Visiting Middle East Democracy Activists

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
May 29, 2012



SECRETARY CLINTON: Welcome. Welcome. We are so pleased to have you here, and I know many of you were able to come to the Civil Society Dialogue.


SECRETARY CLINTON: And we just want to continue encouraging you, supporting you where we can in your efforts to stand up for democracy – real democracy – and the human rights of every human being, and to help advance the cause of progress and freedom every way that you are already doing so. And we’re very proud of what you are doing. And we know it’s not an easy path to be on, but history has, I think, shown time and time again that you are on the right side of history. So thank you, all.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Lots of pictures and cameras. (Laughter.) That’s it? Good.

Well, I know too that you have been meeting with a lot of people. Has it been a good experience for you?

PARTICIPANT: Yes, it was a very good – yeah.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good. And I hope that as part of your dialogue with all of our team, you’ll give us your very honest assessments about what we can do, what we should not do, what the best ways to try to support you are, what works, what doesn’t work, because we admire greatly not only what you’re doing, but what your countries are trying to do. And I often remind my own fellow Americans that it took us a long time to try to make sure we dealt with all of the issues – our Constitution enshrined slavery and we had to overcome that; it eliminated the right for women to vote and we had to overcome that.

So it’s not like we are telling you that it’s easy for us, because it’s been challenging. But we have the luxury of doing it during 200 years of history where the whole world was not watching everything you did and said. I mean, you are, in a way, in a much more challenging environment because of the media and technology that now has an opinion about everything and can be used for the betterment of human society or for the undermining of progress.

So we know how hard this is, just on the merits because of our own experience. And we know that it is even more challenging in today’s world. So we want to learn from you. We think we have some ideas to offer, some help to provide, but we really want to learn from you. So please take that invitation. Don’t be shy about that.

PRN: 2012/850