Reta Jo Lewis
Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs
Silicon Valley, CA
October 25, 2011

Thank you Vish for that very kind introduction. I also would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Karl Mehta and Kiran Malhotra and TiE Silicon Valley for their assistance in support of my visit to Silicon Valley. Thanks to their efforts, this has been an outstanding experience which I feel certain will result in future cooperative ventures.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to visit Silicon Valley, a leading hub for high-tech innovation and development. President Obama by his mere presence here today recognizes the importance of this dynamic region as he is returning to the Bay Area this week for a second visit in just one month.

I would like to take a moment to thank TiE. Not just for hosting this evening’s event, but for your commitment to the advancement of entrepreneurship across the globe. Through mentoring, networking and educating, TiE, and indeed each and every one of the members here this evening, provides a platform on which people with an entrepreneurial spirit can come together to share ideas.

Also, as I have learned that you started what has become 57 chapters in 14 countries, it is my hope to explore with you strategies for using modern technology to build state and local capacities in India, Asia, Africa, Latin American and the emerging economies around the world. I serve a unique position as one of Secretary Clinton’s Special Representatives. The Secretary has made clear that foreign policy and diplomacy goes beyond nation to nation, and that the time has come to engage U.S. state and local elected leaders with their subnational counterparts abroad. That is why the Secretary created the Office of Global Intergovernmental Affairs early in 2010.

In creating this office, it has been my mandate to reach out to governors, mayors, and county officials in our pursuit to develop the capacities of these countries and to search for low-cost, innovative solutions for sharing best practices that can improve growing global networks between elected state and local officials in the United States and their foreign counterparts, as well as for their peers who seek to develop and strengthen economic ties. We seek to sustain and maintain these linkages.

You no doubt fully understand how the world of the 21st century is changing rapidly. We are increasingly linked and transformed by new technologies, rapid increases in trade and financial flows, and the rapid proliferation of innovation and competitive companies. All of these changes generate tremendous opportunities for expanded trade and investment and job creation here in the United States and around the world.

Secretary Clinton, if any of you are following, recently delivered a major speech at the Economic Club of New York on what she called “economic statecraft”– how we use our diplomacy to strengthen our economy at home and how we use economic tools to strengthen our diplomacy abroad. The Secretary has sent formal instructions to every American diplomatic post around the world, highlighting the need to elevate the role of economics and business in everything we do. She underscored that “America’s economic strength and our global leadership are fundamentally a package deal.”

The challenges of remaining competitive, as a business or a nation, in a more decentralized global economy seem to grow by the day – but so too do the 21st century opportunities they afford. In seeking measures to ensure economic strength at home and abroad, Secretary Clinton relies heavily on 21st Century Statecraft, which is a strategy for creating partnerships for achieving modern diplomatic goals.

These trends point to the necessity that nation states, and indeed the United States must aggressively cultivate subnational partnerships if we are to learn how to manage this rapid growth, and learn how to sustain collaborative political, social and economic networks – if we are to make the most out of that growth.

Interestingly, the process of globalization and decentralization, seem to influence and impact one another, basically skyrocketing the critical need for engagement at the state-to-state and city-to-city level. Faster and cheaper international communications have allowed local experiences to be heard around the world, which means local decision-makers are able to use experiences from varying regions to shape their own local policies.

By President Obama and Secretary Clinton making subnational engagements a priority of this Administration, these agreements have been a catalyst not only for our states and our cities to engage but also with governors and mayors all over the world.

These efforts, while principal pillars of 21st century American diplomacy, are not about imposing the will of one country onto another, nor is it about boasting particular nations and their cities, as the pioneers of global best practices in urban management. We know that the next chapters of economic growth will include cities in America, China, Brazil or India and the 10,000 others on the rise.

As a recent Economist entry stated, “cities rather than states are becoming the islands of governance on which the future world order will be built.” Which is why the clarion call of subnational engagement that Secretary Clinton has had me lead, stems from the fact that it can empower us to help each other with trade, investment, the creation of jobs, the education of our children, and solving the problems we all share. This new world is not – and will not be – one global village, so much as a network of different ones.

These trends are precisely why the United States has launched partnerships with subnational entities in China, India, Brazil, and the BRIC countries to enhance our global competitiveness, to gain more of an exchange of cultural understandings, and to adapt to the globalizing decentralization that has accelerated growth in places like China, India, and Brazil.

Just last week, my office facilitated, in conjunction with Embassy Beijing, the reciprocal visit to China of a delegation of six U.S. governors. The National Governors Association and the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries co-hosted this successful event which brought together U.S. governors, six Chinese governors, two Chinese Party Secretaries, and the Mayor of Beijing to discuss topics of mutual interest, including trade and investment, job creation, and economic development. The U.S. China Governors Forum, which was established by a U.S.-China Memorandum of Understanding signed during Chinese President Hu’s state visit to the United States in January, serves to strengthen cooperation at the subnational level.

And, that is why it was so important that as a follow-up to Secretary Clinton’s participation in the 2011 U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, which was another country Secretary Clinton wanted to focus in addition to China and South Africa, I traveled throughout India this summer to promote U.S.-India state-to-state partnerships. We visited New Delhi and several other Indian cities within the Indian states of Assam, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Maharashtra to meet with local government, business and academic leaders to discuss U.S. trade and investment, infrastructure, education, science, and technology. I plan to return to Andhra Pradesh, Mumbai, Pune and New Delhi in November with Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley who is leading a trade mission to India.

The further we broaden and deepen these relationships, the more we need to engage and bring into play the skills and energies of partners beyond our central and federal governments.

We need to build upon these subnational agreements; building greater understandings than we are even able to conceive now; and to force a nexus of community and business – development and technology – to be the intersection where we begin paying attention, start learning from, and start investing in.

I am certain each of you have in-depth knowledge of your community and the culture in which you work. You have greater latitude to experiment with different approaches, and the flexibility and adaptability to try out these different approaches. We know that the challenges we face cannot be solved with a one-size-fits-all approach.

By combining our strengths, governments, philanthropic organizations, and business entrepreneurs, we can more than double our impact, to assist our subnational leaders to this end. And the multiplier effect continues if we add businesses, NGOs, universities, unions, faith communities, and individuals. That is the power of partnership at its best – allowing us to achieve so much more together than we could apart.

So in that spirit, that is why I am here today. We are eager to engage in dialogue with you on the use of high technology innovation and development on a new generation of public-private partnerships. We are eager to harness the rich talent in this region to expand the Department’s existing partnerships.

When Secretary Clinton became Secretary of State, she recognized that the traditional architecture of our statecraft, the way in which we organized ourselves to fight the Cold War, for example, no longer applies in the 21st century. And what she has done is to bring in a team of innovators to help her steward her vision for maximizing the potential of technology in pursuing our diplomatic goals.

The Department of State has adapted our statecraft by reshaping our development and diplomatic agendas to meet old challenges in new ways and deploying America’s great asset – which is innovation. This is truly 21st Century Statecraft: complementing traditional foreign policy tools with newly innovated and adapted instruments of Statecraft that fully leverage the networks, technologies and demographics of our interconnected world. And, Silicon Valley is indeed a unique place that builds and creates these new networks and methods on which we rely.

Following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Secretary Clinton utilized mobile phones to help deliver emergency aid and relief to victims of the tragedy. Through the Text Haiti efforts, the State Department created the largest mobile donation that the United States had seen at that time.

Partners for a New Beginning is yet another example of a successful public-private partnership. Announced in April 2010, Partners for a New Beginning is a partnership between the State Department and a coalition of private sector and civil society leaders who have answered President Obama’s call to join our outreach to Muslim communities around the world. This initiative focuses on building partnerships to promote economic opportunity, foster advances in science and technology, enhance education opportunities, and catalyze exchanges. These types of programs tap into the dynamism and innovation of U.S. industry in multiple ways, often with the use of modern technologies.

As a final example, through Secretary Clinton’s Civil Society 2.0 initiative, the State Department builds the capacity of civil society organizations around the world. Civil Society 2.0 programs assist non-governmental and civil society organizations to use new digital tools and technologies to increase the reach and impact of their work.

We believe that more can be done. I am eager to hear your ideas on possible partnerships on how to utilize the technologies for which this region is so renowned and how to work with state and local leaders and their counterparts abroad to build a sustainable platform that lasts beyond our time.

And with that, I am happy to take your questions.

[This is a mobile copy of Remarks to TiE Silicon Valley]

Short URL: