Esther Brimmer
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Organization Affairs
Washington, DC
February 8, 2012

Hello, I’m Esther Brimmer, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations Affairs.

I am glad that I can join you by video for this important occasion as we celebrate the formal designation of the International Institute for Peace at Rutgers University as a UNESCO Category 2 Center in the United States.

I would like to thank UNESCO Director-General Bokova, Ambassador David Killion, our newest UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Forest Whitaker, and Rutgers Chancellor Yeagle (YAY-gull), for making this a reality.

Last summer I received a call from Forest Whitaker. He described his commitment to conflict resolution and the work of the Institute. His dedication and energy are impressive and very persuasive.

He described his inspired vision of an institute that would foster a culture of peace through education, research and practice. He explained his deeply held view that the principles of dialogue and peaceful conflict resolution could be taught and applied to bring peace to urban centers plagued by gang violence, as well as remote villages torn apart by civil conflict.

This vision – of bringing people together in peaceful dialogue with a goal of avoiding violent conflict – is a fundamental goal of our diplomatic work every day. This is why the United States is proud to have the International Institute of Peace at Rutgers University recognized by UNESCO.

This celebration salutes important goals: peace, conflict resolution, and tolerance. Just a few weeks ago, I was in Paris to celebrate the launch of another exciting UNESCO initiative – Teaching Respect for All. With support from the United States, Brazil, and other partners, UNESCO is building a comprehensive anti-racism educational curriculum for the 21st century. The goals of these initiatives – promoting tolerance and building peace – complement each other perfectly, and the important work of UNESCO brings us closer to achieving them.

So today, I am very pleased to celebrate the official launch of the partnership between UNESCO, the International Institute of Peace at Rutgers University, and the United States. I look forward to working together with all of you.