Remarks at Camp GLOW, Peace Corps, PEPFAR Event

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Lilongwe, Malawi
August 5, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. Good afternoon.

AUDIENCE: Good afternoon.

SECRETARY CLINTON: It is such an honor and a pleasure for me to be here. I want to recognize all of the ministers and thank them for coming, for representing the Government of Malawi. I want to thank the head teacher and all of the teachers who are part of this program and who also provide the education for young women and young men throughout the year here in Malawi. I want to thank the director and all the volunteers from the Peace Corps who are here working. We are very proud of all of you. I wish to recognize the Ambassador from the United States to Malawi. And as it is said in southern Africa, all protocols observed. (Laughter.)

Thank you for this warm welcome. And thank you very much for being here and being part of this program about which I have already heard so much. And I have seen an excellent example of one young woman who is fulfilling the promise of the slogans and the curriculum and the efforts here at the camp to imbue young women with an understanding of their own internal talents and opportunities and aspirations, and then to develop your own God-given potential and make a contribution not only to your families and communities but indeed to your country.

And I’m very proud of our Peace Corps volunteers because they too are standing up for the idea that every young woman can make a difference in her own life and in her community. And it is a great pleasure for me always, as I travel around the world, to meet Peace Corps volunteers, who represent the great values and ideals of our nation.

I think your being here illustrates how important it is to give young people in the world today a chance to come together and to learn skills that will last you a lifetime. I had that opportunity growing up. I was a girl scout. I would go to camp. I would learn how to do things. I would feel good about myself because I had learned a new skill. I would have fun with the other girls. And it was a very worthwhile experience and important part of my development. And because I had role models that I could look up to, I knew that there were opportunities for me if I worked hard in school, I learned what I could, and then I put my education to work.

But of course, my biggest role model was my own mother and the work that she did not only raising us, but instilling in me the importance of an education and the importance of service of those of us who are educated, of those of us who can speak as well as you just did, making it possible to contribute.

And I had a wonderful meeting this morning with your President, President Banda. And I am so proud to come to a country with a woman President, who is setting an example, who herself is a leader and a role model. (Applause.)

I think it’s so important for those of us here this afternoon to realize that change is inevitable. We do not know what tomorrow or next year will bring, but we know that we have the opportunity, if we are well prepared, if we work together, to try to make it a better future. And when I think about your futures here in Malawi, I want you to know that the United States is your partner. You know that the Peace Corps volunteers are not only working with you, they’re cheering for you. They really believe in you. And to other programs of the United States Government – Feed the Future, we’re trying to help more farmers in Malawi do a better job to make more income for their own families. To our health programs, we’re trying to make sure that babies are born healthy, that mothers are healthy, that people can fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria and tuberculosis and other diseases.

And we also believe strongly in the human potential of Malawi, because after all, those are the greatest treasures that any country has. Some countries may have oil or gold or diamonds, but the greatest treasure are the people of every country, which is why investing in the future of the children of a country is the best investment that we can make. So we’re establishing an internship program at the Peace Corps office for a few graduates of Camp GLOW. We’re supporting nurse training for over 2,400 Malawians between 2010 and 2015. We will soon be recruiting American doctors and nurses to help train more health workers here in Malawi. And there’s many more of these kinds of activities because the United States really believes that the future of Malawi is bright. (Applause.)

But we know that most of the work has to be done here in this country. You can have friends like us and others who are around the world who are helping you or providing assistance or running programs like this, but ultimately, as it is in every country, it is up to the people. What kind of government do you want? Do you want an accountable, honest government where leaders are responsible to the voters? What kind of economy do you want? Do you want an economy that empowers individuals to start their own businesses, to dream big dreams? Do you want an education system – and the Minister of Education is here – that will give you the tools you need to make not just a living but a life here in Malawi?

I’m here as the first Secretary of State from my country ever to visit your country – (applause) – because President Obama and I believe that when Malawi stood up for democracy, when you stood up for your constitution, you showed the world something very important. (Applause.) You showed the world what kind of people you were. And that sent a message everywhere. Your Minister of Foreign Affairs travels all over the world on behalf of your country, and I’m sure he has heard what I have heard about the great admiration people have for what Malawi did.

So I am here to send a very simple message: The United States wants to be your partner and your friend. But we believe in you. We believe that you will make a difference. And we want to be there supporting you as you do.

And on a personal note, I know how important it is that everyone in a country contribute. That’s why women and girls have to be involved just as much as men and boys, have to go as far as you can in education, have to be committed to building a good life for yourselves and your family, have to be citizens voting and caring about what kind of government you have. That’s what I see for the future of Malawi. And I see it here at Camp GLOW, where it’s not just singing songs, although I’d love to hear you sing again. (Laughter.) It is about the lessons you learn, the people you meet, the leaders and the mentors who are here to answer questions and offer guidance, because they’re preparing you for a new Malawi and for the opportunities that will bring to each and every one of you and to your country.

I’m very excited about what you will accomplish in the future. I’m very excited to have had a chance to hear Anna speak for all of you. And I want you to know that we are here because we think you can make a difference, and we’re going to count on it.

So thank you for the very warm welcome that you have given to me and to my delegation. And I’m going to ask the Peace Corps to give me many reports about how you are doing – (laughter) – so that when I come next to Malawi, which I hope to do in the not too distant future, I will see more young women alongside young men as the new leaders of your country.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

PRN: 2012/T69-15