Conversation With Young Leaders
Secretary of State
AMBASSADOR GALT: (In progress) This is also different from our past meetings because we don’t have any tea or cookies. (Laughter.) But today you have the opportunity to meet with United States Secretary of State John Kerry, so I trust that makes up for the missing cookies. (Laughter.)
It’s a great privilege to introduce Secretary Kerry to you, but before I do that, I thought I would quickly introduce you to him. Mr. Secretary, you see before you some of the future leaders of this young democracy. These leaders are active in politics, academia, media, civil society, and government, and are working every day to make their country a better place. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know these young people over the past several months. We have here today the director of a center promoting LGBT rights; an MIT graduate who heads a private high school focused on STEM education; the director of the Princess Center, which protects the rights of women and girls; the founder of Mongolia’s only company that supplies mobility equipment for people with disabilities; and the director of the Mongolian Ecology Center, who helped establish a sister relationship between Yosemite Park and Hovsgol Park. In short, this is an extraordinary group of young people who, I am confident, will lead Mongolia to a brighter and more democratic future.
And now, Secretary Kerry, I think you all know from his tireless work and his crisscrossing of the globe to help resolve some of the world’s toughest challenges – climate change, the Iran nuclear agreement, the restoration of diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba, and the fight against ISIL, to name only a few. So ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I am proud to present to you United States Secretary of State John Kerry. Thank you. (Applause.)
SECRETARY KERRY: Self-help. There, self-help. (Laughter.) Good morning, everybody. It’s really good to be here with you. Jennifer – our ambassador, Jennifer Galt, does a spectacular job, but she let me down here. I really need some cookies. (Laughter.) I’m --
PARTICIPANT: Shouldn’t have – shouldn’t have said that.
SECRETARY KERRY: Shouldn’t have said that, but anyway. Really happy to welcome all of you here. Thank you very, very much, everybody, for being here. And Zack, thank you. I think you’re going to run the show, aren’t you, right?
MR BATSAIKHAN: Yes, I am. I’m going to --
SECRETARY KERRY: So I can say a few words?
MR BATSAIKHAN: Yeah, for sure.
SECRETARY KERRY: And then you run it?
MR BATSAIKHAN: Yes.
SECRETARY KERRY: Okay. What I want to do is hear from you, okay? I want to have an honest discussion, and you can ask me questions, grill me however you want, but share information with me also about what you’re doing and what you’re trying to do.
Mongolia – I hope you feel what we feel about it – is a really interesting place. What you are doing is fascinating. I mean, you’re trying very hard to make this transition, and 25 years of democratic effort is not a long time, but it’s long enough to make it clear to people what can be achieved and where they want to go even though you still have to work at it. We’re still working at it, by the way. I mean, we have a lot of work to do. And Winston Churchill once said that democracy is the best – is the worst form of government, except for everything else. And when you think about it, there’s a lot of truth to that. Governing is hard. There are always people who will object to what people in government are doing. Nobody’s ever going to be completely pleased. But democracy at least gives people the best opportunity to have their voices heard. And if it is democracy accompanied by appropriate level of rule of law in the justice system and in the business world, then you know what the rules are and you can play by the rules and you don’t get punished for stepping outside of those rules.
So we have great respect for the journey that your country is on. We’re not asking you to choose between Russia and China or anybody else. That’s not what we’re asking you to do. This is not a zero-sum game. Countries have to have relationships with their neighbors and they have to have relationships with countries all over the world. But what we are looking for, hopefully, is a continuation down this road towards full democracy. And I know that your President Elbegdorj – I know that he began demonstrating himself. And the point that I want to make is that it’s not the first 13 of democracy who are exclusively the club for democracy. It’s all of you, everybody here. You have to all be part of this effort. And there’s a lot more we can do. There’s more we can do to open up the economy. There’s more we can do to get transparency and accountability in place, push back against whatever corrupt practices may have existed from old times into the present, and begin to modernize, create rules of the road which will attract private capital – because money wants to find safety and certainty and rules of road where they know that they’re operating by set procedures, not by the whim or the fancy of one or two people or a minister in some ministry or somebody with their hand out. They want to know that there’s accountability and a process in place.
You all, I am told from the ambassador, every one of you – the sort of the exciting entrepreneurs, leaders, political activists, people who want to make things move forward. So for me it’s a great privilege to have a little while here this morning to hear from you, and I just want you to know that the United States is deeply committed to this effort. I can announce this morning a $2.5 million program under USAID to help advance the democratic process, to help people with respect to their democracy efforts, but also to help with textbooks in schools, to provide – not textbooks, but to provide materials to schools that will assist them to be able to help their students to understand what this journey is all about.
So we have a lot of work to do together, and I came here today to really underscore to all of you that through our ambassador on a day-to-day basis, but through all of us – through our Assistant Secretary of State Danny Russel, myself, the Vice President has been here, President Obama, the entire Administration – and the next Administration, I assure you, will remain committed to helping you move down this road. So I wish you luck in that, and again, thanks for letting me come and share some thoughts.
Zack, it’s all yours.
MR BATSAIKHAN: Okay, thank you. Great talk. (Applause.) So thank you so much for coming here today, and it’s an honor and privilege for us to meet you in person. So I have the honor to ask you the first question; then we’ll start taking questions from the young leaders of Mongolia. How’s that sound?
SECRETARY KERRY: Perfect.
MR BATSAIKHAN: Okay, sounds good. So the first question is: you visited France prior to visiting Mongolia, and you’re going to visit China as well, right? So I was just wondering about your travels and your first impressions of Mongolia so far.
SECRETARY KERRY: It’s beautiful. I couldn’t believe flying over just how really beautiful the countryside is, and we could see some wild horses. And I know you have wild camels down the Gobi, and it’s a remarkable place. The sad thing is President Obama constantly – and I, wind up saying this, that I come here and I travel and we’ve got – I don’t know – 60 people traveling with me and we’re on a tight schedule and I have to go to do other things, so I just don’t get to see as much as I want. But what I see tells me I got to come back and spend some time and really get to see the country.
MR BATSAIKHAN: All right, sounds great. What about your travels – France and China – and how was it so far?
SECRETARY KERRY: France?
MR BATSAIKHAN: Yes.
SECRETARY KERRY: France is getting flooded.
MR BATSAIKHAN: Yeah? (Laughter.)
SECRETARY KERRY: France is a beautiful country also, as all of you know, but they’ve got a serious problem with this rain. They’ve had more rainfall in a few days – five days they’ve had more rain than fallsin six weeks normally. So the River Seine is literally right up at the top. The bridges, there’s – no boats can go under the bridges. There’s no room anymore. It’s incredible picture of wetness, but the spirits are good in France and the food is still good, and I think they’ll make it through this. But they have a lot of challenges, obviously, as do a lot of countries right now.
MR BATSAIKHAN: I see, that’s great. So we have very short 30 minutes, so let’s start taking questions --
SECRETARY KERRY: Cool.
MR BATSAIKHAN: -- from the audience. So --
SECRETARY KERRY: Who’s got a question? I saw a hand go up back there.
QUESTION: So my name is Myadag (ph). I’m – I was – I’m from the foreign ministry, but I am (inaudible). So my question is – Mongolia was just declared absent from economic integration structures in the Asia Pacific, so what do you think – how do you think Mongolia could facilitate its joining such structures? Because involvement in such – economic integration structure seems to be one of the ways of surviving in modern-day global economy. Thank you.
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, it’s not just question – thank you, Myadag (ph). It’s not just a question of surviving; it’s a question of thriving. You don’t want to just be holding on by a (inaudible). You want to be fully participating. This is not a secret process. It’s a very clear, open process. The WTO is an open process. The TPP is a clear set of standards which you can join.
Now, we want more nations to join the TPP, because what they do when they join is they raise their own standards of doing business. They agree to certain levels of transparency. Now, we now have a transparency agreement with you, with Mongolia. It’s been dragging on and not being implemented, but I just talked to the foreign minister who assured me that in July they plan to move forward with the implementation of the transparency agreement. You all should be demanding that, make sure that that agreement gets put in place. Because that agreement will provide the assurance that a private business wants to know as to how the business practices will be implemented.
And as I said to you, it’s very competitive out there in the global marketplace. Lots of countries have infrastructure they want developed. Lots of countries want their people put to work in a new technology company or in an energy – energy company or a water-treatment facility or whatever it is – to attract the capital to invest and provide those jobs. The people who possess that capital want to know that the money isn’t going to be stolen, that they’re not going to run into a whole lot of barriers with ministries so they can’t get approvals and they can’t build a building, they can’t hire people, and all of a sudden the investment goes down the drain.
So the faster decisions can be made – and this is not true just of you. I have these arguments at home in America. In Massachusetts – I represented Massachusetts in the Senate for 28 years, and we have incredible companies in Massachusetts and a huge technology base. But we’ve had to work very hard to make sure that taxes aren’t too high, that rules and regulations aren’t so horrible that you get driven out of the state. It’s the same thing in a country. You need to make sure you’re open for business. Make it easy for people to do business.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have rules. It doesn’t mean they don’t have to live up to an environmental standard or to a health standard. It just means it’s clear what they are and they don’t change every week, and one person in one ministry can’t apply it one way and a person in another ministry says, “No, no, no, it’s another way.” So getting clarity is one of the most important things that you can do. And if you do that, one of the best things you can do is start preparing to join the TPP and make a list of all the things that you need to change in order to meet the standard, and that will help you. By the way, that will help you with everything you do, including visa approvals and other things. It streamlines the process.
So I urge you to keep pushing for the full application of all the accountability and transparency measures you can get, and don’t let your ministries become blockades to progress. That’s very important.
MR BATSAIKHAN: That’s it. Oh, okay. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Hello. My name is Bolorsaikhan (ph). I would like to – a small question. As a (inaudible) to realize the human rights to everyone. However, now we are facing some obstacles, including human rights violation, gender-based violence, hate speech, and hate-rooted aggression, including xenophobia and homophobia. For this instance, would you mind to share your own practice and individual experience to overcome these obstacles?
SECRETARY KERRY: Sure. What I have learned through the years is that one of the most important ingredients, one of the most important requisites, requirements, for application of the law and for good laws, is leadership. If you have bad leadership and leaders are not committed to human rights, civil rights, personal rights, it – you – it can be very difficult to get protections that you need. But if leaders set an example and make it clear what lines they’re going to draw so that people know the law will be applied, that people will be protected, rights will be upheld, then you build a – an assurance within your society that you’re safe and that it’s okay to push back and to enforce the law. But if your leaders turn the other way and police or law enforcement or military or whoever it is find a way to abuse one way or the other and nobody holds them accountable, you got a real problem. That’s when things start to run away – muck – amuck, so to speak.
In our country – I’ll give you an example. When I was a student in college – 1960s – we became very involved through leadership of people in the Civil Rights Movement in America. Still in America, blacks, African Americans, were not able to fully register and vote in a lot of parts of our country, and we had real prejudice against certain people and certain things. We still do in certain things; everybody does everywhere. But the president of the United States, President John Kennedy, and his brother, the attorney general, sent American National Guard troops down to these universities to let these people register to got to university and enforce the law with respect to voting rights. And in 1965 with President Lyndon Johnson, with mass movements we marched. People were arrested. People were sent to jail. But we marched and demanded the rights of people to be able to vote, and eventually, the Congress passed the law, the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act that changed the law with respect to voting.
So no country is without these kinds of fights. You have to push a little bit. And there are plenty of other examples like that. Now in America we’ve made huge advances in human rights. We’re still – we’re not perfect. We have abuses. You’ve seen them on television probably or you follow them in the press, where some young person gets unfortunately killed in an incident with a clash with the police or something happens. But we talk about it. We don’t cover it up. We air it openly and everybody talks about it, and we work at trying to improve it and prevent it from happening.
So you have to do the same thing. You have to raise awareness. You have to get your leaders to stand up and say we will be – we will be guided by rule of law, and our laws will not allow people to be abused, and we have to have a legal system where you know that if somebody is arrested, they will have the rights to have a lawyer, to be represented, to know what they’re accused of, and to be able to defend themselves, and then you have a system that works. That’s the key.
And those are fights that we still are engaged in all around the world. There are places where people don’t have those rights, where they get thrown in jail. And it’s very important to make sure that you’re very clear with your leaders about the importance of enforcing human rights.
MR BATSAIKHAN: That’s a great – great answer. So let’s take the next question. So go ahead.
QUESTION: Hello. My name is Bulgantuya (ph). Thank you for taking time off of your hectic schedule to meet us. I just wanted --
SECRETARY KERRY: This isn’t time off. This is my hectic schedule. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: (Inaudible.) We will not be picking your brain for too long.
SECRETARY KERRY: No, no, I’m happy. I’m – honestly, I’d rather do this than a lot of things I do. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: That’s great. So as you probably know, President Elbegdorj has initiated neutrality policy in Mongolia. There’s even talk that it was going to go into parliament this current session. What is U.S. view on Mongolia’s neutrality policy – number one and number two and our third neighbor policy?
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, it depends what “neutrality” means. I mean, it depends what – what you’re neutral about. I don’t want you to be neutral about human rights. I don’t want you to be neutral about democracy. But if you’re going to be neutral about a particular struggle between a couple of other countries – you don’t have to get dragged into some kind of proxy representation – depending on what it is, it can be okay. But it depends on what it is. I think it was – who was it? Was it Dante who wrote that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality. Right? Now, you may not believe in hell, you may not believe in heaven, you may not believe in whatever, but the thought is clear that on moral issues you need a moral compass. And if you lose your moral compass, you’re at great risk of losing your country, losing your rights, losing your freedoms. So be careful where the neutrality – what the definition is of that neutrality is what I would say.
MR BATSAIKHAN: Next question. Okay.
SECRETARY KERRY: Another example I’ll just tell you quickly. I don’t think any country should be neutral about what Assad is doing to his people in Syria. That’s another example. I don’t think you can be neutral about genocide. You can’t be neutral about children soldiers. You can’t be neutral about trafficking in persons. That’s what I meant about the moral compass. You cannot push a moral compass away and just go down a road in life that doesn’t comment on things that demand by matter of human conscience that you’re going to have a feeling about those things.
QUESTION: Thank you. Thank you, Secretary Kerry, for meeting with us, meeting with the youth. And I’m a journalist at Mongol TV, local broadcast in Mongolia. And even people who promote democracy around the world are now admitting that it’s in decline, and we’re probably the only country, the last beacon of hope, as (inaudible) put it. And how do you think – do you think democracy is wearing out? And what do you think is the next lifeblood of this form of governance and where do you think it will begin?
SECRETARY KERRY: No, I disagree with the premise. I don’t believe democracy is waning. It’s growing. There are more democracies in our Hemisphere today than any time in our history. I think there were 33 new democracies added to the numbers of countries that are democracies in the last 10 years or so. So we’re growing democracies, not losing democracies.
Now, there are some countries where they are, quote, “democratic” and they’ve slid and they’ve moved away from that. There are a number of African countries right now, particularly in East Africa, where no leader has lost an election in the last whatever, 30 years, 40 years or something. And you – when you’re winning with 87 percent of the vote, something’s wrong. It’s not – that’s not a functioning democracy in reality. So in that sense we’ve seen some challenges to democracy. And even in Eastern Europe right now we see some challenges where people are becoming more authoritarian.
But here’s my – here’s my – I have a simple belief about this, folks. Where you have total authoritarianism and totalitarianism, you do not have the full blossoming of the power of the people to put their creativity and their personal energy to work to advance even that country. Do people go to work? Yeah. Do they work hard? Yeah. Do they try to protect their families? Yes. But are they feeling great about it every day? Are they getting up with the feeling that, wow, if I got a new idea, I can go take that idea somewhere and I can make it work just like that? No. And if they speak out at any moment against what the government’s doing or saying, they could be thrown in jail and there’s a repression. If that kind of repression exists, I guarantee you that country will never be able to function fully among the community of nations. It just will not be able to. And it will lose investment and lose economic capacity over time. Because people who are – who support the freedom to invest and they have a new, creative idea are going to go to places where there is no repression and where there’s no restraint on the ability to do things.
So I think – the mere fact that you don’t have a functioning democracy does not automatically mean that another country is somehow working a lot better. It just doesn’t. And you have to examine very carefully how some things are working in some of those other countries.
I mean, in Russia, for instance, there’s not a lot of investment taking place in the energy sector, in new technologies. There’s been a real slowdown in their economy because of their adventures and the sanctions and their adventures in Ukraine, and so they may be able to flex their muscle and show that they can bomb some people and fly some airplanes and shoot a missile from the Caspian Sea, but that’s not going to put a lot of people to work. That’s not going to create strength in the long term to the fiber of your country, and it’s not going to do what you need to do to compete in the modern global marketplace.
So I think that – I don’t agree. I think democracies are challenged right now, as every government is challenged, but in the end, I believe more people will choose the freedom to govern their lives in a way that is free from oppression and repression and a limitation on who they can be as a people.
MR BATSAIKHAN: That’s a great answer. So let’s take questions from this side. Okay, there.
QUESTION: Hi, my name is Bat-Erdene and I’m founder and director of Smart Growth Mongolia. It’s an urban planning organization, nonprofit.
SECRETARY KERRY: Founder of what?
QUESTION: Smart Growth Mongolia.
SECRETARY KERRY: What’s that do?
QUESTION: We do – we think about how we can grow smarter. Basically, it’s a concept between transportation planning and urban planning – how we can connect these two very effectively.
So I came back from States back to Mongolia, all this knowledge of this urban planning. And I came and realized that --
SECRETARY KERRY: Where did you study in the States?
QUESTION: SUNY Albany.
SECRETARY KERRY: Okay.
QUESTION: And what I realized was that the urban-planning process in Mongolia is basically quite outdated and does not allow much of citizen participation. So what I understood was that we need to do something about that citizen participation. We need to do plans for the living environments for our citizens. And at that point, I got stuck. And those who approved those laws and regulations are also kind of like quite behind, and so I guess my question is: What should we do at this point --
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, you’re --
QUESTION: -- and what are you thinking?
SECRETARY KERRY: Yeah. That – you’re a very valuable asset, frankly, and any of you who have come with these kinds of ideas. I mean, have you ever sat – have you ever asked to sit with the environment minister? Is there an environment minister?
SECRETARY KERRY: Have you ever asked to sit with the environment minister?
QUESTION: No, unfortunately not.
SECRETARY KERRY: Would the environment minister meet with you? He would not?
QUESTION: No, I think the environment minister wouldn’t meet with anybody who, like, wants to meet the high (inaudible) official.
SECRETARY KERRY: Will not meet.
QUESTION: Oh, I’m sorry. I think I missed that question.
SECRETARY KERRY: I’m asking you if you and a group wanted to go meet with your environment minister, could you arrange a meeting and go meet?
QUESTION: Absolutely, of course, yes.
SECRETARY KERRY: Okay. So if you went to your environment minister and you had a plan and you said, “Look, here’s a way we can develop smarter and we could make more money and protect the environment here and you’ll be a better minister and people will love what you’re doing,” couldn’t you perhaps work with the minister as an outside group?
QUESTION: Absolutely, that’d be great.
SECRETARY KERRY: But that’s democracy. That’s how we do it.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) we don’t have that process. Like, we don’t have the system in place yet.
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, you’re going to put it in place.
QUESTION: How we create that?
SECRETARY KERRY: What?
QUESTION: How can we create that?
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, you just – how many people are in your group?
QUESTION: We have about five people.
SECRETARY KERRY: How’d you get them?
QUESTION: They’re all urban planners. They’re all – did some work --
SECRETARY KERRY: But how did you meet?
QUESTION: How did we meet? Functions like this.
SECRETARY KERRY: Okay. So you go to a function like this and you say, “Hey, guys. Let’s get organized.” And you get everybody’s name and address and telephone number --
QUESTION: But unfortunately, you cannot do that with the minister.
SECRETARY KERRY: But wait. Then you – then you – then you put your idea together, a plan.
SECRETARY KERRY: And then you say, “Mr. Minister” – you write the minister, you knock on the door, you walk in and say, “We want to meet with the minister.” And our ambassador will help you meet with the minister. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: I think that’s a very great idea. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY KERRY: And you sit down and you actually say, “We have a good idea. We’re here to help. Don’t be threatened. We’re here to help you.”
SECRETARY KERRY: And then you say, “Here’s how we’re going to put in place some good ideas.” And maybe you’ll become the advisory urban planning group to the minister of environment.
QUESTION: That sounds very great.
SECRETARY KERRY: Okay?
QUESTION: Great point, thanks.
SECRETARY KERRY: All right.
MR BATSAIKHAN: So we have time for one last question. So --
SECRETARY KERRY: Last question, okay.
MR BATSAIKHAN: This better be good. Okay. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Thank you. My name is Nomingerel (ph). I’m from civil society. And my question is about – I’d like to go back to the question about the democracy. I also agree with you that democracy is not declining, it’s growing. But you also said that democracy has challenges. So what is your idea about challenges in terms of challenges to democracy in terms of countries like Mongolia or like your country?
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, democracy – yeah, it’s a great question. It’s a wonderful question. I mean, I’ll just talk about my democracy at home. We have to get the money out of our politics. We have too much money in American politics and I hate it. And when I ran for office, I tried to get the money out. I actually limited myself in the money that I could raise and spend until we got some reforms in place. But I – that’s not true everywhere in the world. In some places, there’s not a lot of money. When Great Britain has an election in England, they call the election six weeks beforehand. You’re not allowed to raise money until then. It takes about six weeks, and bang, they have the election. Free television, by the way. A certain amount of television is available and so forth.
So we need to improve how we do our elections. We really do. How people register, how they vote, how many days they get to vote, what – we could make it so much simpler. And the problem is we do have some people who don’t want to make it simpler. So we have fights just like other people have fights about these things, and we’re still trying to fix it up.
We also need – we need to – I mean, there are other things we could do to improve our democracy, but nothing more than making it easier and more attractive for people to be able to vote and not have to spend as much time raising money; more time being able to work on problems and fix the problems and so forth. That would be one of the best that we could do in our democracy, frankly.
Now, other democracies have other challenges. There’s some places where you’re limited in your ability to actually go out and speak out and it’s very difficult. I mean, these are fights everywhere. But these are fights that have gone on for as long as human beings have been on Earth. How do we organize ourselves? How are we going to – how do you function? I mean, we – I think every single form of government that could be imagined has been tried somewhere: emperors, dictatorships, pure parliamentary democracy, pure constitutional, monarchy – kings, queens, mixed parliament, constitutional monarchy, full democracy, parliamentary democracy, presidential democracy – you name it – criminal enterprise.
And in the end, people want to be able to be free and function. And more and more, as the world is in touch with itself, you can’t shut that down. There’s no way to be a growing economy, a growing country, a more vital country with your people satisfied and able to pursue their hopes and dreams – there’s no way to do that in this modern world we’re in by shutting yourself off from the world. Nobody can do that now. No politician has the power to put the internet and technology back into the bottle and say we’re going back 100 years and that’s how we’re going to live. Never going to happen.
So what you need to do is learn how to tame – control – the worst parts of the excesses of capitalism or the excesses of democracy or the failures of democracy, whatever it is. It always needs to be tweaked. We had Robber Baron capitalism in America in the 1800s, early 1900s, until we finally got really good rules in place. And we had to fight for years. We had to fight organized crime in America too right up until recent years. I was a prosecutor. I took on organized crime in the 1970s and ’80s, and Rudy Giuliani took it on in New York and we’ve had a lot of fights. Now we’ve cleaned it up pretty well. There’s still some vestiges, but it’s not polluting our society so much that we can’t function. And it’s been reduced in the impact that it has, the negative impact.
That’s what you have to do with all of these kinds excesses that exist. And it’s tough work. I hate to say it, but sometimes it’s dangerous work. And reporters who have written about crime in government have disappeared or been imprisoned. And there’s a great unfortunate trail of abuse of people who are fighting for their rights and for freedom. But everybody has to sort of choose their own path. But in my judgment, there’s no turning back from this global understanding people are getting now about how life can be. And with smartphones, everybody in the world, even in the poorest places, are in touch with everybody else in the world instantaneously. So you can expose things you could never expose before. You can instantly communicate in ways we never could before, and so you can’t hide things. Something that happens in one country in the world can’t be hidden in another part. It travels instantaneously. And you go to YouTube or somewhere and you can find out what’s going on.
That’s why you have a lot – you have a certain amount of turmoil today, because this change – it’s happening. Change is happening. But what I would say to you is that in most places a lot of good things are happening – unbelievable cures of diseases. Life expectancy is longer today. If you’re a girl, a woman, you’re much more likely to be able to go to school today and be able to have a career of your choosing. And infant mortality is down. Starvation is down. Poverty is down for the first time in our history – in human history, extreme poverty is under 10 percent. Hundreds of millions of people have been brought out into the middle class in China, in Mongolia, in India, in Russia and various places. And countries that 10 and 15 years ago were receiving economic aid are now giving economic aid to other countries. South Korea is an example.
So things are moving. In the 20th century, millions of people were killed in two world wars and in other conflicts. And most of those conflicts were state against state. Now, our biggest problem is non-state actors – Daesh/ISIL, Jaysh al-Islam, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram. But they’re not states and we will never let them be states. And what we have to do now is win the battle for young people to be able to have the jobs they need and for people to get the education that they need, and we need to win the battle against the fear and the ignorance that drives people to do really bad things. But what you’re seeing – Daesh/ISIL is a reflection of bad governance in certain places, and that I think is going to be the challenge that you all are going to face in your lives, is how do you manage this transformation towards fuller participation by people, more opportunity for people, but less state-to-state conflict hopefully – hopefully. And I think it’s a very exciting time. I think you ought to be very excited about the possibilities. Just get together with the urban planner here and organize. (Laughter.)
Thank you all very much. (Applause.)
MR BATSAIKHAN: Thank you so much.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)