Video Remarks for Global Partnership Week 2015

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 11, 2015

Good morning, everybody. I’m delighted to welcome you to the second annual Global Partnerships Week. Obviously today and this week, you’ll see a beehive of activity around the Department with many companies and non-profit organizations represented for our kick-off event. It’s a remarkable gathering, and I particularly want to thank USAID, Concordia, and my terrific team at the Office of Global Partnerships for their leadership in this effort. I’m also grateful to the United Nations Foundation, Devex Impact, and Dot-co for supporting today’s important event.
I think we all agree that, in our era, partnerships between the public and private sectors are essential to meet global challenges, from building peace to ensuring food security to ending extreme poverty – name the struggle. No single government – however powerful – can find and implement definitive solutions on its own. We need to combine strengths with the private sector and with civil society – which is exactly why Global Partnerships Week is critical to the diplomatic and developmental agenda we’re elevating here at the State Department.
I’ve seen firsthand how our public-private partnerships are driving change and creating real value. Together, we’re empowering the next generation of African leaders through the Mandela Washington Fellowship Crowdfunding Campaign. We’re promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in Africa and Southeast Asia through our LIONS AFRICA and TIGERS AT MEKONG partnerships. We’re tearing down barriers to affordable internet access through the Alliance for Affordable Internet. We’re reducing methane emissions through our Climate and
Clean Air Partnership. And we’re working with the Global Fund to take the fight to AIDS, TB, and Malaria.
Our partnerships agenda is the living definition of how we do business in the world today. We make progress by coming together – across every border of nation, sector, culture, and background – to take on and solve hard problems. That’s the same spirit we have seen over the past year in the fight to prevent the spread of Ebola, the Coalition to defeat ISIL, the diplomatic initiative to address Iran’s nuclear program, and our ongoing effort to forge a consensus on the post-2015 Millennium Development goals. We move forward when we work together, when we innovate and experiment, when we share ideas and build trust, when we bring out the best in one another and hold each other accountable. That’s what makes partnerships work – and when partnerships work, we all win.
Senator Jim Sasser of Tennessee told me when I was a freshman Senator, “If you see a turtle on a fencepost, you know he didn’t get there on his own.” None of us here get anywhere on our own. And the best ideas are never bound by borders. There’s no business sector over here and government over there. We’re all connected, and it’s critical that we work together. Not as an option we can take or leave, but as a mandate. We simply cannot afford to answer the question of why we do things a certain way by saying that is how it has always been done.
So – please – take advantage of this week. Make new connections. Debate new ideas. Don’t be afraid to take a few risks. The work we do together couldn’t be more critical – for our country or for the world. So let’s get out there and make the kind of difference that will benefit us all. Thank you.