Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
December 13, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good evening, everyone, and welcome again to the Benjamin Franklin Room, here in the State Department. It’s wonderful to see so many of you in our diplomatic corps together at one time without a crisis or a conference, and I’d like to welcome each and every one of you, not only the diplomatic corps, but also spouses or family members, several former chiefs of protocol – they know how much work goes into organizing any event like this – members of the State Department team who are here, many of whom you know, and, of course, all of our distinguished visitors.

I also want to say a special word of thanks for our entertainment, the Georgetown Chimes, the oldest all-male a capella group at Georgetown University. Actually, the Chimes have been entertaining presidents in Washington and delighting crowds around the world since 1946, although they don’t look a day over 21 to me. We also heard from the West Potomac High School Chamber Singers, from nearby Alexandria. These high school students study music from different periods, different cultures; we thank them for being with us. And as always, I have a special thank you to the Air Force and Army musicians from the military district of Washington, who never fail to make every one of our events very special. Thank you so much.

I thank you for all the hard work of this past year. It’s been quite a year. When you think back on everything that the world has experienced and seen, and I’m greatly appreciative to so many of you who have worked closely with us on every imaginable issue, but it was a landmark year. I think historians will look back and say that this was a year of great change in terms of international cooperation, democratic aspirations, the human search for dignity and rights that every human being deserves. We’ve worked on behalf of responding to devastating natural disasters, we’ve worked to address threats to our shared security, to make people’s lives better by reducing poverty and fighting disease, improving opportunities for education and health and entrepreneurship, and by fostering tolerance and understanding among people in every part of the world. So I thank you for being part of this historic time here in Washington.

One thing, however, has not changed, and that is that we need dedicated public officials like each of you representing your countries, coming to our capital to share your views, to engage in conversation and dialogue, to make sure that we are each doing what we can to leave the world a more peaceful place than what we found. So we’re committed to our partnerships, we’re looking forward to the work ahead in 2012, and let me again thank you, and I wish each and every one of you a peaceful and joyful holiday season. And I know you join me in hoping the same for our world. Thank you all very much.

PRN: 2011/2133