Melanne Verveer
Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues
Washington, DC
March 10, 2012

Congratulations to Girl Up and all of you gathered for this leadership summit. I wish I could be there with you.

There is a saying that, it all starts with a girl and when a girl can go to school safely, can study and be free from abuse, when she can access health care and have the chance to full fill her God-given potential, she will not only have a head start but she will contribute to her families and communities. The connections that you are making and the work that you are doing in places as diverse as Ethiopia and Guatemala and Malawi and Liberia could not be more important.

As Secretary Clinton has said, “Talent is universal, but opportunity is not.” Enabling girls to have opportunity is an important contribution we can all make, whether we are in government or in the private sector, or part of Girl up.

I remember being interviewed by a Girl Up high schooler who was participating in the opening session of the United Nation’s General Assembly a couple of years ago. She was bursting with enthusiasm as she was telling me about the meetings and events she attended, how she was learning about global challenges and discussing the issues with people she had met. I saw how her Girl up experience had sparked her interests and helped her grow in the understanding of how she too could make an even bigger difference. I’m sure you all have similar kinds of Girl Up experiences.

I want to thank and commend those of you who are advisors, club leaders and BFFs and supporters of Girl Up. nd I want to challenge all of you fabulous girls. Think big and know that you really can make a difference. You must be the change that you want to see in the world. Engage your schools and communities, grow a Girls Up Club and share what you learn in this summit with others. Know that there’s no limit to the good that you can do. I know with your talents, energy, compassion and commitment, you will help girls around the world to be all that they can be too. The world needs your talents and contributions. Have a terrific Summit. And remember when Girls are Up, the world is a better place.