Remarks
Melanne Verveer
Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues
Micronesian Women's Regional Summit, Palau
Washington, DC
August 3, 2012


Welcome! I am delighted to be able to send greetings to each of you.

This inaugural Micronesian Women’s Regional Summit in Palau is an exciting opportunity for you to connect with one another and share strategies to advance the rights of Micronesian women.

I am pleased that our Ambassador to Palau, Helen Reed-Rowe, is with you today, as well as Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Tony Babauta who is leading the U.S. delegation. I recently sat next to Tony at a luncheon in Washington, DC to celebrate the work of women in the Pacific and I know how committed he is to supporting women’s programs in the region.

This important conference takes place after the Micronesian Chief Executives adopted a resolution regarding women issues this past March—a resolution sponsored by the President of Palau.

It is so fitting that the conference is titled “Strengthening Micronesian Women through Culture, Tradition and Knowledge to Meet Today’s Challenges” – as we know that women across the region are critical to advancing social, political and economic progress. For if women thrive, everyone thrives.

As the first ever Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues for the United States, I have met with women and girls around the world including in the Pacific, and have heard about the immense challenges they face, as well as the opportunities that they have seized.

As you gather together to share good practices on a wide range of issues – from education to the economy, from health to women’s leadership – I hope you will take the opportunity to highlight the successes you’ve achieved, and the challenges that remain that you also will address.

As Secretary Clinton has said, investing in women is not only the right thing to do, it is the smartest investment we can make. Women can be powerful agents of change, and through forums like this, you are focusing on creative and innovative ways to harness your power across the Pacific to be a big part of the solution.

I hope this dialogue provides an opportunity to learn about what is working and how to build on successful policies and programs to advance women’s progress so that women can better their societies.

I wish you much success and I know in the months ahead we will see the blossoming of results from the seeds that you are planting at this regional forum in Palau.

All the best to each and every one of you.