Remarks for Global Partnership Week

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 15, 2016

Good morning, everybody. I am delighted to welcome you to the third annual Global Partnerships Week. And I want to especially thank USAID, Concordia, and PeaceTech Lab for their many contributions to this event. And I want to thank and congratulate, as well, my terrific team from the Office of Global Partnerships. Thanks for all you did to make this happen.

The idea behind a partnership is really pretty basic. It’s simple. Two or more individuals, groups, or organizations, acting voluntarily, get together in support of common goals. And it follows that the partnerships that matter most are those that bring different assets to the table, so what can be accomplished together then exceeds whatever anybody’s going to be able to do alone. And what we have learned in recent decades is that partnerships that combine the unique strengths of the public and private sectors can promote progress in just about every area of society.

That is precisely the discovery that brings us together this week, and it is to explore exciting new frontiers for joint action that we can come together in order to be able to share ideas.

Now, already, public-private partnerships are major contributors to virtually every priority that we have – from building peace to mitigating climate change to creating jobs to ensuring that advanced technology is used for the right purposes and with the right results.

And these partnerships are not limited to any one area of the world.

In fact, it seems that, wherever I travel, projects of this type are underway, whether they’re fostering innovation through our LIONS@AFRICA partnership on one continent or spurring development through TIGERS@Mekong in Southeast Asia. In our own hemisphere, we’re promoting people-to-people exchanges through the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Initiative. We’re finding new solutions to challenges in sustainable fisheries through Fishackathon. And we’re working with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Data to measure progress toward the UN’s 2030 development goals. And every day, we collaborate with corporations, universities, faith-based groups, and civil society representatives in scores of countries on virtually every single important issue under the sun.

I want you to know I’ve been in public life now, frighteningly, for almost 40 years and before that, I had the privilege of serving in the United States Navy. One thing I have learned is that there is absolutely no substitute for effective teamwork. Partnerships benefit from both the energy of one and the experience of all; they enable action in many arenas all at the same time; they multiply the number of stakeholders that are behind any particular initiative; and they bring dreamers and doers together at the same time; and they make it much more likely that, when the going gets tough, someone is going to be there to cover someone else’s back.

So, I urge you, take full advantage of this week. This is a huge opportunity. Speak up. Make new connections. Debate new ideas. Take a few risks. And remember the work we do today together is precisely how history is made.

Thank you, everybody, and good luck to all of you.

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