Meeting With Staff and Families of the U.S. Embassy in Prague

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Prague, Czech Republic
December 3, 2012

Oh, thank you all. It is wonderful to be back in Prague, one of my favorite cities, and to have a chance to not only say thank you to each and every one of you for the work you do every single day, but also Happy Holidays, so it’s an especially appropriate time. As you may recall, I was here with my husband about a year ago this time of year for President Havel’s memorial service, and it’s wonderful to be back.

I want to thank Ambassador Eisen for his leadership. And under it, you have really carried the torch forward, especially on our three pillars of security, economics, and shared values, which I know are kind of a mantra, a famous mantra here. I also want to thank your DCM Joe Pennington. You’ve kind of pioneered a new brand of diplomacy, rock star diplomacy, not just because of that Bruce Springsteen photo hanging in your office, but because of the rock stars you have here at this Embassy.

Many of you have been working very hard on the new civil-nuclear center. This will unlock new opportunities for research and trade and bring us even more closely allied with our Czech partners. We’re working together in Afghanistan. The Czech Republic is protecting our interests in Syria. We’re working to support the fight against corruption, promoting human rights both here and around the globe. And thank you for providing the first-rate services to all the Americans visiting the Czech Republic. This is not easy at any time, but particularly, I know managing an embassy that is made up of interconnected wings of a castle that is centuries old is even more challenging. But it is very much appreciated in Washington.

I also want to thank you for bringing your children here because they are beautiful and I love seeing them, but it’s also a reminder of why we do this work. And let me ask all of our Czech employees, our local staff, to raise your hands so that we can show you our appreciation. (Applause.) I often say ambassadors come and go, and certainly secretaries do as well, but our locally-employed staff provide the memory bank and the nerve center for every one of us, and we are very grateful.

And to all the Americans, thank you for your service, thank you for your commitment to this absolutely critical bilateral relationship. It was no accident that President Obama came here so soon in his first term to speak about our nonproliferation agenda, and that our partnership is one that we are deeply committed to and we hope will only continue to grow in strength and breadth.

What I want to do now is come down and thank you personally for your dedication and for all that you have accomplished, and to really express, on my behalf and behalf of the State Department and the Administration, our gratitude. Thank you all. (Applause.)

PRN: 2012/T75-03