Archive for May, 2012

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Danish Townterview, posted with vodpod

Townterview with Danish Youth Hosted by TV2 With Johannes Langkilde


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Copenhagen, Denmark
May 31, 2012

MR. LANGKILDE: Good morning, everyone, and welcome to this very, very exciting event here in Copenhagen, where we’re going to talk to one of the most active and impressive and inspiring, powerful, tough politicians of the world, a person who, around the clock, works to promote her ideas of how to make this world a better place.

I know that you’re all extremely excited and eager to ask all your questions, and I can tell you I am too, so please give a very warm welcome to the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am delighted to have this opportunity for this conversation with all of you, and I want to begin by thanking Johannes for being willing to moderate this event for us, and also to the Black Diamond, which I saw as I was taking a short boat trip and went by and marveled at it. And I’m looking forward to this opportunity.

Now someone asked me, why, if you’re here in Denmark and then you’re going on to Norway and Sweden and then later in the month you’ll be in Finland – why would you take time to have this discussion with young Danes? And I think the answer is very obvious to me, and that is because, as Johannes just said, I spend all of my time trying to figure out how we’re going to give to you, to my daughter, to the young people that I work with every day, the opportunity for the best kind of future possible.

And it’s always different wherever I am in the world. I can speak with young people in Indonesia, or in February, I was in Tunisia, today here in Copenhagen. But there’s a common theme, and it perhaps is more pronounced because of the connectivity of the world that we are all living in that didn’t exist, certainly, when I was your age, or even a decade ago to the extent it does today. So there are commonalities that young people themselves are feeling and seeing that might never have been apparent in the past.

But it’s especially important for me, as I start here in Denmark and then go on to the north, to say thank you, because the governments and people of your country and the other three that I would be visiting have been such extraordinary stalwart advocates for democracy, for economic opportunity, for inclusive growth. You are among the world’s most generous people, and I have seen the results of that generosity firsthand. I’ve also seen the extraordinary skill of the Danish military over the skies in Libya, on the ground in Afghanistan. I watched with great admiration your leadership on climate change and clean energy, and later today, I’ll have a chance with your prime minister to announce a new partnership where the United States and Denmark will try to do even more to promote green technology.

But I also have a personal relationship because in Washington, I live across the street from the Danish Embassy and ambassador’s residence. And I can attest from my daily experience that Danes are terrific neighbors – (laughter) – and that no matter what the season might be, I see the young Danes who work at the embassy riding their bicycles uphill. (Laughter.) I’ve seen it in snowstorms. I’ve seen it in driving rainstorms. It always makes me embarrassed that I’m not out there with you. (Laughter.) So it’s truly a sight to behold, but it also is a reminder of the energy that emanates from this important, albeit small, country.

So what could we think of, and as we move into this conversation, how can we better use technology today to make sure that you and people like you, whether they’re in advanced economies in the west, whether they’re in rising economies or in emerging ones, have an opportunity to fulfill your own potential? Expectations seem to be rising at a time when opportunities are dwindling. When I met in Tunisia with a group of young people, I was struck by how much they expected now that they were free. And I knew how difficult it would be. And can we get opportunity moving at the same pace as rising expectations?

There is, as you probably know, a youth bulge, as it’s called by demographers, in the world today. In many developing countries, 60 percent of the people are under the age of 30. And the obvious question is: Where will jobs come from? In Europe, of course, populations are getting older, not younger. But this dynamic creates its own challenges, particularly for young people, because will you have the kind of safety net that has been available to your parents or not?

So whether you lived in the developing or the developed world, the question I hear over and over again from young people is: What’s my future going to look like, and what role can you, who are in government today, or we, who are on our way into our lives, do to ensure the right answers? I think there are a couple of things.

First, we need to recognize that youth empowerment is a concept that has arrived, if there were ever any doubt about it. Years ago in the 1960s, which I know sounds like ancient history, I can well remember our own efforts to try to change the direction of a war, to change the direction of a society. And today, what I see is that young people need a chance to be more involved in and more empowered to be involved in the decisions that affect them.

Secondly, I think we have distinct challenges that have to be addressed as to how we come up with the economic and political pathways that will translate this concept of empowerment into a reality. That does require a level of participation.

One of the most distressing meetings that I’ve had over the last year was with a group of the young revolutionaries who led the revolution in Egypt, who started in Tahrir Square what became an extraordinary historic change. And I sat at a table with about 20 of the leaders, and I asked them, “Now that you have a chance to make the decisions about what your political system will look like, what do you intend to do to become organized politically?” And their answers were “We don’t do politics. We do revolutions.” And I said, “Excuse me?” Maybe I’m showing my age or maybe I’m of a different era, but I know that if you don’t become involved in the political life of your country, all that energy, all those hopes can dissipate.

And now, as we look at the outcome of a free and fair election by all accounts in Egypt, I’m hearing the voices of some of the same people I met with who are saying, “How did this happen? What happened to our candidates? What happened to the people who were at the forefront of the revolution?” One of our famous American politicians, Mario Cuomo, once said you campaign in poetry but you govern in prose. Well, that means to me that if you expect to see the changes that can come to provide that sense of empowerment and participation, there has to be participation politically.

And third, we have to look at what works. And here in Denmark, historically, you have made it a priority to expand economic opportunity to people on the sidelines. And you have, according to all of the analysis, the least income inequality in the world. That is quite astonishing as I watch my own country grow in income inequality, and it is an important goal that all of us should be moving toward to prevent inequality from distorting society, from distorting politics. And Denmark is not immune from the changes in the world economy, but you have certainly navigated them more successfully than many.

And let me just close by saying a few words about the current crisis in Europe. Obviously, it is for Europeans to determine the way forward. Whether you are in the EU and/or in the Eurozone, the European project deserves support, in our view. And I know that in hard times, people can be led to hunker down or even build walls to go back to the old divisions that so – for so long, bedeviled Europe.

But the values underlying the European project are still true today. The belief that a country’s and a people’s strength depends in part on whether your neighbors are strong and prosperous, that the best way for people to get ahead is through partnership with one another, rather than at each other’s expense. Whether you are Danish or Italian, Latvian or Spanish, there should be a place for you in the European community. And the dream of a Europe in which all people from all backgrounds live and work in dignity and peace is what inspired generations that came before you to persist in the European project.

So I know that there are some challenges that we all face. I’m certainly aware of the ones that my country is facing. But I am confident that the values that we have in common and the aspirations that are shared not only by Danes and Americans, but increasingly by people everywhere can be given the reality that we all deserve, but only if there is a level of political participation by young people.

So I say the same thing whether I’m in Cairo or Copenhagen; get in the game, dare to compete, be part of charting the new future that is waiting to be born, and the United States will be very proud and happy to make that journey with you. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

MR. LANGKILDE: Thank you so much, Madam Secretary. Once again, welcome to Denmark. I hope really that you’re enjoying your stay here so far.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I am, and this is my fourth time to Denmark, and I always feel, as I was saying to you in the hallway, that I want to stay longer and see more. So I’m looking forward to coming back as a private citizen because I’ve always been here on an official visit and that is not quite as free. Now, my husband, who was here about a week ago, who is now, as he likes to say, retired – (laughter) – had the most marvelous time walking the city, going to Tivoli Gardens, going out to dinner, and I must say I’m a little jealous. (Laughter.) So we promised each other we’ll come back when we’re both retired.

MR. LANGKILDE: I hope that you’re comfortable in this chair. Actually, I just want to tell you a short story about it. You might recognize it. It’s the same chair that John F. Kennedy sat in in the memorable TV debate in 1960 when he was debating with Vice President Nixon.


MR. LANGKILDE: So it’s kind of iconic for Danish design, and – (laughter) – I would (inaudible) – (laughter).

SECRETARY CLINTON: Danish design is one of my favorites. So now that I’m sitting in the same chair John F. Kennedy sat in, it’s great. (Laughter.)

MR. LANGKILDE: A great chair for a great person. I would like to start out by asking you a question about Denmark actually. When you travel around the globe as a Dane, you’re often met with, “Oh, Denmark. Isn’t that the capital of Norway?” Or – (laughter) – we have polar bears walking around. It’s just I know that you know our country. You’ve been here. But honestly, Madam Secretary, what do you think when you see Denmark?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think progress, strength, accomplishment because I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it over several decades now. And the leadership that Denmark has shown in humanitarian and security and technology and design and social organization and political stability and democratic sustainability, it’s very admirable, and it’s something that I really look to, because of course you’re a small country, but if you add up all that Denmark has contributed, it’s quite a remarkable history.

MR. LANGKILDE: I would like to ask you: As the U.S. Secretary of State, what’s your greatest concern right now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, they are interlocking. Always the greatest concern when you’re in a position like this is the fear that there can be nuclear proliferation and – either by a rogue state or by a non-state actor. We know that a lot of the extremist terrorism groups keep seeking weapons of mass destruction; not only nuclear and radiological material, but chemical and biological, and that is deeply distressing. At the same time, we see old fashioned, conventional military means being used against innocent people as we just saw horrifically again in Syria.

So it’s both the new threat that are part of our modern age and the age-old problems of dictatorships and brutality and human rights abuses. And in the world we find ourselves in because of technology, we now know what’s happening everywhere. I don’t think we have the capacity to act everywhere, which makes it very challenging. Because when you know that people are being murdered in the Eastern Congo or Syria or being – having their human rights abused anywhere in the world, there is the natural tendency of wanting to do something. So we have to be as effective as we can against the threats that we see.

MR. LANGKILDE: Before opening up for questions from the – you guys – I just want to ask you one more question. You mentioned Syria.


MR. LANGKILDE: And recently, we saw some horrific pictures coming out of the city of Houla, more than 100 persons brutally slaughtered, and when is the U.S. going to say enough is enough; now we really have to use some military force to stop these killings?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, one of our great dilemmas is that the action that we took part in in Libya, that Denmark was a key partner in, had United Nations support. So thereby, you had the international support. And we do not yet have that. We have very strong opposition from Russia and China, but it’s primarily Russia. And that makes it harder to put together an international coalition. I’ve not, by any means, given up on it, because I think every day that goes by makes the case stronger, and I talked with Special Envoy Kofi Annan yesterday actually on the flight over, because he is working hard to expand his mandate to be able to do more to push the Assad regime. In order to accomplish that, we have to bring the Russians on board, because the dangers we face are terrible.

The continuing slaughter of innocent people both by the military and by militias supported by the government, and then increasingly by the opposition, which is understandably trying to defend itself and kill those who are trying to kill them, which could morph into a civil war in a country that would be riven by sectarian divides which could then morph into a proxy war in the region, because remember you have Iran deeply embedded in Syria. Their military are coaching the Syrian military. Their so-called Qods Force, which is a branch of the military, is helping them set up these militias, these sectarian militias. And you have Russia continuing to supply them arms, and you have Turkey very worried on the border, and you have Jordanian – or Jordan and Jordanian Government worried.

So we know it could actually get must worse than it is, and we’re trying to prevent that. And my argument to the Russians is – they keep telling me they don’t want to see a civil war, and I have been telling them their policy is going to help contribute to a civil war. So it’s not a satisfactory answer yet, but we’re trying to keep pushing all the pieces together to support Kofi Annan as an independent voice, because the Syrians are not going to listen to us. They will listen maybe to the Russians. So we have to keep pushing them.

MR. LANGKILDE: Okay, guys. Now, it’s your turn. Maybe you want to ask some additional questions about Syria, something else – they can ask about anything, right, Madam Secretary?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, they can. (Laughter.)

MR. LANGKILDE: So we have four mikes. (Inaudible) we have a question over there (inaudible).

QUESTION: Hi. Thank you, Madam Secretary. My name is Cheyenne Ellis, and I’m an American here living in Copenhagen. Prior to moving to Denmark, I worked in Washington, D.C. at the Department of State along with Ambassador Susan Jacobs on parental child abduction cases. However, today my question is on gender balance in the workplace. Recently, the EU has proposed to initiate mandatory quotas to ensure more women are represented in top management positions in European businesses. Do you feel a quota system is necessary to increase more female CEOs? Or do you feel like this is a self-regulating issue which needs no policy managing?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Cheyenne, that’s a question I’ve wrestled with for a long time. I don’t think that there is a right answer to that question, because there does seem to be a glass ceiling in nearly every society, not all of them. I think that you now have a woman prime minister; you have a woman head of state. I’ll be going to Norway and Sweden and Finland, all of whom have had women in the very top positions in government. But even in those four countries, there’s not that level of representation on a sustained basis in the corporate world. So is there some intervention that could encourage businesses to look more broadly to recruit women? I’m sure that there could be. Whether it’s quotas or whether quotas are the right answer, I will leave that debate to the Europeans to decide whether it’s right for them. But certainly, it’s been our experience that it still is more difficult for women to make it to the top in either politics or business in our country. The United States would never go for quotas, but I think there has to be a recognition that, in the absence of a much more self-conscious outreach, for women to be on corporate boards, in the pipeline for corporate leadership positions, it’s not likely to change.

So I’m hoping that as we experiment with this in different parts of the world, we will learn more. And if the EU adopts quotas, I will be very interested in seeing how that works or whether it is unsuccessful because people just flat out resisted. I hope though that we can finally get over what has been a historic gender imbalance in both politics and business because I think in the 21st century, women’s empowerment is one of the most important goals for the world to aim toward. (Applause.)

MR. LANGKILDE: (Inaudible) front left of Ingrid, please.

QUESTION: Hi, my name is (inaudible). I wanted to ask, for a student of international affairs and global politics, whether you believe a future in these areas lie for us whether in the UN or (inaudible) NGOs – that question’s also, which institutions do you think the future of political – global politics will shape?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m glad you’re interested in these areas and I think there are futures in all three of what you said. I think the multilateral organizations are in great need of reform, and young people need to be committed not only to a career but to a reform agenda within the institutions, because I think that they haven’t kept up with the times. I don’t think that they operate as efficiently as they could; they get too bureaucratic, too weighted down by internal process instead of external results.

I think NGOs are a lean, mean way of often intervening, of making your voices heard. One of my goals is to work on civil society in places that have never known civil society and to make it legitimate, to convince governments that having people who advocate for the environment or for children with disabilities or for the arts or for electorate reform is an essential part of the democratic process.

And then government, obviously, I believe strongly that if we’re lucky enough to live in a vibrant democratic society, you can either be totally apathetic, which then leaves the decision-making to people who may disagree with you completely, or you can be an active citizen participating – participant in politics, or you could even go so far as being active in a political party and running for office. It’s hard; I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s not easy being in politics anywhere in the world today in any democracies, but I certainly hope that a lot of young people like yourself look at that third alternative as much as the first two.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, if you were 18 again – (laughter) – living in the world as of today with (inaudible) what would you choose to do over?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s a great question. (Laughter.) Well, I became a lawyer and I practiced law and I did a lot of work on behalf of family and parental rights lawyers UT organizations, defending children, abused and neglected children, and working for legislative change on behalf of children, and I always find myself attracted to trying to work on behalf of those who are marginalized or left out. So I would probably do the same thing whether – I mean, I’ve started NGOs, I’ve served on the boards of large NGOs and helped to direct them.

I think there will always be a voice, even in privileged societies like ours, for those who are voiceless. And so I like feeling that maybe I can help make a difference in someone’s life. And then the work around the world is a full agenda, particularly on behalf of women and children. So I think I’d probably be doing something in that area, which is what I was doing before I got into politics.

MR. LANGKILDE: Let’s go to row three here, please.

QUESTION: First of all, it’s a huge honor, Madam Secretary. My name is Anna and I’m a PhD fellow in American studies, and I have a question about Syria. Of course, one of the reasons why the operation in Libya was (inaudible) was because you had the support of other Arab countries. Which role (inaudible) Arab countries will play in the solution of the Syrian problem? And also, you say that the Russians are the main problem why there’s not a sort of solution at international community at this point. Are there other sort of regional and national differences between Syria and Libya that makes it difficult to repeat?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s a great, great question. There are certainly significant differences. Syria’s much larger, it’s a much more diverse society, so that different groups within Syria are worried about what comes after Assad and are not unified in the way that Libya became. There is a professional military; there was not in Libya. Qadhafi relied on a very small group of military personnel augmented by mercenaries. There was an opposition in Libya that did represent the country. That’s not yet been possible in Syria. We’ve all been working to try to promote that. There was a safe haven that could be operated out of – that Benghazi became – and then you could move west. The air defenses in Syria are significantly tougher than Libya. The Arab League called for action by the Security Council. The Arab League has supported the Kofi Annan mission; they haven’t been united to call for military action yet. And most importantly, the Security Council, in the case of the Libya, was willing to act and then NATO could put together a coalition that was augmented by Arab countries willing to fly the no-fly zone, even carry out strikes. So really, those conditions do not exist with respect to Syria as of yet.

There’s also a lot of regional difficulty or complexity that has to be dealt with. I mean, Jordan is right on the border of Syria; they have to worry about their own territorial integrity and safety. Turkey has that long border. They worry about whether they make themselves more vulnerable to the Kurdish terrorist threat that they are so focused on. You go down the line; it’s quite a difficult set of factors to balance. It’s next door to Lebanon, which as you know, fought a brutal civil war all those years. And the demographics of the population are not so dissimilar except in terms of numbers, but the basic demographics are quite similar between the two countries. We’ve already seen the conflict wash over into Lebanon.

And a lot of people are trying to figure out what could be an effective intervention that wouldn’t cause more death and suffering. And in Libya, partly because it was a small population in a vast expanse, much of it not particularly populated, there was a theater for intervention that was quite successful in avoiding civilian casualties. That seems much more difficult, if not impossible.

Now we’re thinking about all of this. There’s all kinds of civilian and humanitarian and military planning going on. But the factors are just not there.

MR. LANGKILDE: You ask very good questions guys. So thanks for doing my job so well. (Laughter.) Let’s go to the far back left.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) studying financial management and I have recently applied for an internship at New York and that made me research a bit about the American education system. We have a really good one here, but don’t you find that if you (inaudible) caught up in the American youth on the ground that they can’t afford or their parents can’t afford to give them an education?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it’s one of our biggest domestic challenges. Historically, our public education system worked well enough for the vast majority of Americans. And a relatively small percentage of Americans went to college. But by the end of the 20th century, and certainly now in the 21st century, the disparities in education between our most privileged young people and our poorest has gotten much broader. And the cost of going to college has skyrocketed. So we have increasing numbers of young people who are coming out of college with huge debt.

And it’s really regrettable and there has to be a reckoning about this because we’re not, in my view, providing the best education we should for children who are not in the best of circumstances, and we make post-high school education very expensive, and we don’t have enough of the right sort of skills training, because one of the great ironies in our current economic situation is you can see job postings for thousands of jobs, but we don’t have the people in the places with the skills to take the jobs. So we have to close that gap, and it’s something that I care deeply about. I know President Obama does as well, and we’re going to see what more we can do from the federal government.

Although the final thing I would say on this is much of education starts with the family and requires a combination of encouragement and discipline that families have to provide. And then our education system in public schools is run by local and state government. So our complicated federal system makes change more challenging, but we have to figure out how we’re going to do it.

MR. LANGKILDE: Okay. Let’s go to the front row (inaudible) please. Be careful. We don’t want you to break a leg. (Laughter.)


QUESTION: Hi. My name is Senu , and I study law at Copenhagen University. My question is about the International Criminal Court. Your husband, Bill Clinton, he signed the Rome Statute in 2000 and – but the Bush Administration later unsigned it. You seem to have a very positive approach to the ICC. So my question is whether you plan to sign it – re-sign it and ratify the Rome Statute during your time as Secretary of State.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I do think that the ICC is an important tribunal. And I thank you for noticing that we have, in the last three and a half years, increased our involvement with the ICC. The head of our legal department at the State Department is a renowned international lawyer, the former dean of Yale Law School. And we have promoted more exchanges, more discussions, but at this point we know that there would be no appetite in our Congress under current circumstances to ratify America’s membership. So short of that, we’re going to continue to do what we can to support the important work that the ICC does.

MR. LANGKILDE: Madam Secretary, I would like to squeeze in a little question that we also got from a lot of our viewers. We asked on Facebook that they could ask you questions. And thousands of people around the globe, especially women, see you as a role model because you have had a remarkable career from the First Lady, then Senator from New York, and now you’re the Secretary of State. And can you tell us a little bit about how has this journey been for you personally?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, personally, it’s been a surprise because when I was sitting where you would be sitting, I never imagined that I would marry someone who would become a president or that I would be a senator from New York or that I would be a secretary of state. So my journey has been not only surprising, but very gratifying to me. And people ask me all the time if I can give advice. And it’s hard to put yourself in anyone else’s shoes, but I think for both young men and young women, to go back to the previous question, education remains such a passport to any option that you might decide to choose. And it doesn’t always have to be conventional education. I know very successful people – Bill Gates, obviously, dropped out of Harvard, but he was always learning, and he was always alert, and he was always taking in what he was interested in and was able to channel his passion into creative innovation.

So staying involved and aware of what’s going on around you. I also always hope that people develop some sense of social responsibility, that if you’re fortunate enough to be educated, healthy, living in a democracy, having more control over your own life – although it probably doesn’t seem like it from time to time – than the vast majority of people who ever lived in the history of the world have had, then what can you do to give back as well as get ahead?

And for young women, I think that the historic questions remain. How can you have a life and make a living? How can you have relationships? How can you have children and be active in whatever you choose? And it just takes a lot of focus and a decision that you’re going to live your life in a way that meets your aspirations to the best of your ability. And then life happens.

I mean, in my case, I walk across the lounge of Yale Law School and here’s some guy saying, “Not only that, but we grow the biggest watermelons in the world.” And I said, “Who is that?” (Laughter.) And a friend I was with said, “Well, that’s Bill Clinton. He’s from Arkansas, that’s all he ever talks about.” (Laughter.) And I’d never been to Arkansas. Obviously, this was all new to me. And so I took a leap of faith. And I think it worked out pretty well, but it’s – (laughter) – it has been because of choices I made. I tried to be the lead actor, if you will, in my own life and not to be a bit player and not to let things happen to me, but to try to decide how I was going to respond to whatever happened. And you just keep moving forward every single day.

MR. LANGKILDE: Later, I’m going to ask (inaudible) too. (Laughter.) And row four, please (inaudible).

QUESTION: Hello, (inaudible). It’s been really motivating for me to listen (inaudible), and you look so passionate about what you do about your work. My question to you is: Like all in your daily work, what motivates you the most in your daily work?


QUESTION: What motivates you?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Motivates me? The hope that I can help somebody solve a problem or alleviate suffering or find a way to a better life. I mean, I get just as motivated by trying to connect up somebody after the earthquake in Haiti with their relatives who were looking for them, and we put together a cell phone network to be able to reconnect people as I do trying to push forward on solving issues arising out of the Arab Awakening or the violence in Central America or all the other issues that I work on every day.

So it’s both the big picture issues that we work on and try to make progress on, but what you need when you’re working on what often are intractable problems are some of the day-to-day successes that will never make headlines, but which are gratifying. And you know because of the position you’re in, you can make things happen. So that’s very motivating to me.

MR. LANGKILDE: Let’s go over here, please.

QUESTION: My name is Zena. I have a question about being a woman in the highest level of foreign policy. Did you believe that it changes foreign policy outcomes when there are more women around the negotiating tables? And if so, how?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’ve thought a lot about that. And I don’t know that there’s any empirical evidence that would prove that, but I certainly feel it. Most of the time, I’m the only woman at the negotiating table. And I do try to raise issues and I always talk about women’s rights and I always tell every audience and every male leader I’m with, “Well, you knew I was going to say this, but what is this going to mean for women and for children?”

And when I work with other high-level women in the international affairs, like the High Representative of the European Union Cathy Ashton, there’s a shorthand, in a way, as to what we’re trying to achieve and how we can perhaps work together to do that.

I also am a very strong believer that the women I know who have achieved the head of state or head of government generally, not always, but generally will be more responsive to a lot of the human needs. When my friend Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became president of Liberia and inherited a country ruined by horrific civil war and warlordism, she was elected because the market women in the country, Christian and Muslim alike, said enough of war and literally forced the men to the negotiating table. And there’s a wonderful documentary about this called Pray the Devil Back to Hell, if you can pull it up on the internet, because it was perfect example of women saying enough.

Or when there was a recent negotiation over how to end the long conflict in Darfur, the men in the room spent days arguing over who would get territory around a certain river. And a woman outside the door said, “That river’s been dry for years,” because it wasn’t men that went looking for water, it was women. And so there are so many insights that I view as coming from practical, everyday experience, that men bring their own, but women bring ours. And I don’t see how we can make the best decisions unless there is literally a meeting of the minds, which is why I really welcome more women involved in these discussions. And I think the substance is more likely to reflect the everyday needs of the people who are most at risk in the resolution of any kind of dispute.

MR. LANGKILDE: Yeah. Let’s go to the left back, please.

QUESTION: Hello, Madam. I am Judy, student from (inaudible) University. My question is right in this conversation right now. You started by acknowledging and complimenting a lot of the strengths here in Denmark and our society here. When you recently – it was a few years ago, the last time you were here, there was a Danish female minister of foreign affairs, and I guess representatives from Canada, Russia, and Denmark states, and had a discussion about the Arctic area. This lady in this situation made a decision to prioritize family versus that meeting. I’m sure people in your positions are always having to make difficult choices, and I wanted to ask you does the work life balance exist on your level of leadership or, I mean, as a role model for future generations, is it something you should just say that okay, throw out the baby with the bathwater, if you want to be at that level, your husband has to be your wife or – (laughter) – can you say anything about them making those kind of difficult situations and – yes.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. Well, I – look, there’s a double standard for women in the public eye. That’s just a fact. And it’s something that’s getting somewhat better because people are more conscious of it. But it is certainly a challenge for young women with small children or with teenagers, which sometimes feel like the same. (Laughter.) So when you are trying to really balance your family obligations with any work, but particularly work in the public eye, particularly at a very high level of stress and involvement, it takes enormous amounts of organization; it takes very supportive family members, in particular your spouse, to work out what the scheduling and all of that will be.

But I would hate to see any young woman who wants to have a family decide she could not do that because she also wants to have a career. I think that would be a terrible mistake. That’s just me, personally. If you don’t want to, that’s your choice, and I fully support it. But if you want to and you think you can’t do it or you can’t manage it because you also want a career, you have to accept the fact you’re going to have to make some kind of accommodation if you wish to be the best mother you can be as well as fulfill the obligations of your profession.

And I will be very honest with you. I mean, when my daughter was young, my husband was the governor of Arkansas, and I practiced law, but nothing at the level or intensity of what I did after she was older. And that was my choice. I have a lot of women whom I know who are the most superb balancers in the world and they manage everything. But I knew that for me focusing on my daughter during those early years was something I wanted to do and that I believed was my first priority. So as she got older, unfortunately, I’m not as needed. (Laughter.) I used to sit around the White House waiting for a sighting. (Laughter.) I did have a lot more time and a lot more freedom and could run for the Senate, could run for the presidency, could be a Secretary of State.

That is one of the advantages of being a woman in the 21st century is if you take care of yourself you have a lot of options that our mothers and grandmothers could never have dreamed of. So I think you’ve got to figure out your own balance, but don’t make a decision that you can’t do one or the other until you try to see if you can find that balance.

MR. LANGKILDE: Now that you mention it, Madam Secretary, that you ran for President.


MR. LANGKILDE: Yeah. (Laughter.) And that leads me to my – (applause.) I think if we ran a quick vote in here you would be elected. (Laughter.) But my question is you said in January that you’re not going to continue as a Secretary of State, even though President Obama would get a second term. And that leads to two (inaudible). What are you going to do then? And can you rule out the possibility that you could run for President in 2016?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. I said that many times. I’m really looking forward to pursuing other interests that I have. I’ve been so honored to serve with President Obama and feel incredibly privileged that I served at a time with so much change. The chapter has yet to be written about what the conclusions of all this change will turn out to be. But I also think that, for me, I’ve been at the highest levels of American political life for 20 years, and I would like to be able to just take a long walk. (Laughter.) I’d like to be able to just travel without having a lot of official meetings associated with it. I’m just looking forward to exhaling and seeing what else lies ahead.

And I’ve always been actively involved in philanthropic work, not-for-profit work. I want to continue doing that with an emphasis on obviously women and children. For me, do some writing, do some speaking. I’m looking forward to it. And who knows what I’ll end up doing, but I’m excited for the possibilities.

MR. LANGKILDE: And when you come back to Denmark as a private citizen we will all be happy to give you a holiday that —

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s nice. Would you please (inaudible?) (Laughter.)


SECRETARY CLINTON: Because I look at the map, and there’s so many interesting places that you all are from. I was talking to the foreign minister about that earlier. And I have the great honor of being received by Her Majesty, the Queen. And this is just, to me, a fascinating country, so I am going to come back at some point, incognito. (Laughter.) If you see me on the street don’t – I won’t look at you. (Laughter.)

MR. LANGKILDE: We’re running a little close to the end, Madam Secretary, but if you’re up for it, one more question.


MR. LANGKILDE: Let’s go – let’s try, if it’s physically possible, to go to row two then.

QUESTION: Hello, Madam Secretary. Thanks so much for doing this. My name’s (inaudible). My question is regarding female reproductive health in the American healthcare system. I know you’re very passionate about healthcare, but this is a more personal question. Recently there has been a lot of debate about female reproductive healthcare, not just on the presidential election level but also inside of congressional hearings. It’s been pretty shocking, especially seeing as Roe v. Wade was so long ago, and it’s seen as a war we’ve already fought and then it feels like we’re fighting it again. Do you think that these debates being held diminishes America’s right to position itself as a leader of civil rights and to be seen as such?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you’re right. There has been, and continues to be, a debate over abortion coming out of the Roe v. Wade decision – of course preceding that, but most intensely since then. And there has been a very concerted effort to undermine what we call a woman’s right to choose, which I have always supported.

But it – the debate has now taken another turn, which is to make contraception debatable. And that, to me, is really a regrettable development. The debate is over whether the comprehensive healthcare reform that President Obama championed and that was passed by Congress will include insurance for women’s reproductive health, including contraception. And the evidence on the benefits for contraception is overwhelmingly clear in the way that it does protect women’s health, it does prevent unwanted pregnancies, and also enables women who shouldn’t – for physical or mental reasons – become pregnant avoid doing so. It shouldn’t be debatable, but the debate is over whether taxpayer dollars should go to subsidized health plans that provide contraception. And it is a political debate.
I don’t think it should or does affect our strong reputation and support for civil rights, but it is something that we’re going to have to continue to contest within our political system. And it is troubling to me because it seems so focused on poor women, because middle class and upper income women will provide for their own healthcare. But if you’re a young student, if you’re a working mother, if you are someone who doesn’t have the financial means to afford contraception, the first thing is to be covered by healthcare insurance – which is the Democratic party position – that covers everyone and then to have what you need at every state in your life included. So it’s reflective of an ongoing debate within our political system, and we’re going to have to, as you have debates within your political system, keep working it out. And in a democracy hopefully people will make the right decision.

MR. LANGKILDE: That’s it, guys. Thanks for all of your – (applause). I actually – I forgot. We have two more minutes left, only two. Make it one minute and 58 seconds. (Laughter.) And I want to thank you for all your great questions. And I want to thank The Black Diamond for hosting us. And I want to say thank you to all our viewers on TV2 News and also our international viewers. And I then I want use the honor and the privilege of asking the last question. And I want to thank you so much for making this possible, for making this visit possible, and for being here.

And as mentioned, the chairs – an iconic man once sat in this chair – well, not this chair, but a similar chair – (laughter) – and a man with a great legacy. What would you, Madam Secretary, want your legacy to be?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I would hope I’d have a few more years to keep working on it. But —

MR. LANGKILDE: Professional legacy.

SECRETARY CLINTON: My professional legacy that I tried in every way I could and every role that I had to serve my country and humanity. I mean, that is what I believe in. And I’m absolutely convinced that one person can make a difference inside or outside of government and that I certainly have had the honor of trying and hope I’ve succeed to some extent.

MR. LANGKILDE: I think many people think you have. Thank you so much, Madam Secretary, for being here, and I wish you the best of luck and a very successful stay in Denmark, and I would love to see you back.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. (Applause.)

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As Hillary Clinton commences her long, complex, and busy months of departure from the State Department where she has distinguished herself well beyond the expectations of some, others of us pause today in remembrance of the shameful anniversary we mark on this date. Over the past year or so this blog has taken on the character of a relatively tightly controlled chronicle of  Hillary Clinton’s work as Secretary of State, straying infrequently into the realm of opinion. That has been but a phase in a long evolution here  that has been fashioned partially by history and events and partially by feedback from readers and friends.

Originally, this was a PUMA blog, and a grand majority of  followers in the United States identify themselves as PUMAs – whether they remain registered Democrats or have converted, as it were.  It began in August 2008 hosted by Blogger and was migrated to WordPress a few months later.  (A Blogger counterpart remains.)   If you are a PUMA,  you are well aware of the significance of today’s date in the history of the Democratic Party.  So, even while our intrepid, indefatigable SOS busies herself and us with another ambitious whirlwind tour, we take a moment here to remember our roots.

PUMA – Party Unity My A$$  –  can trace its inception to this date in 2008,  the date of an infamous decision by the party’s Rules and Bylaws Committee that effectively disenfranchised many thousands of voters in state primaries who had cast their ballots for Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Whether you were one of those voters or not, if you became a PUMA on that day,  Still4Hill the blog would like to provide you with a moment of remembrance.  If we do not remember, we risk repeating the past.  We should always remember.

Even if you have not visited in awhile, you might want to take a peek at what some of the original PUMA bloggers have to say about this anniversary.

From No Quarter:

Current Article

P.U.M.A. Day 2012 – Some of Us Will Never Forget – OPEN THREAD

By Steve_in_KC on May 31, 2012 at 1:30 AM in Current Affairs

Four years ago today, Barack Obama was running for the office of President of the United States.  The difference four years ago was that he had an opponent who was also seeking to be the nominee for the Democratic Party in the general election.  Of course, that opponent was then-Senator Hillary Clinton, who is now the U.S. Secretary of State and one of the most popular public figures in American politics.

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From myiq2xu (whom many will remember from The Confluence) now blogging at The Crawdad Hole:

It’s RBC Day

Posted on May 31, 2012 by myiq2xu

Today is the day we mourn the death of democracy in the Democratic party. On this day in 2008 the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee effectively stole the nomination from Hillary Clinton and gave it to Barack Obama.

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Finally, our dear friend Uppity Woman!

You know what died on this day. It’s embedded in your mind.

Posted on May 31, 2012 by Uppity Woman

……..and look how well it’s all worked out for us wimminz.

Hell, look how well it’s all worked out for our entire country…

May 31, 2008

Democrats on this forum all know what this day means.

This is an open thread. Let it rip.

Tell them We Have Not Forgotten and Never Will

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I will end this with a favorite quote from Borges:

“The past is indestructible. Sooner or later things turn up. One of the things that turns up is a plan to destroy the past.” -Jorge Luis Borges

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Remarks With Danish Foreign Minister Villy Sovndal


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Eigtveds Pakhus
Copenhagen, Denmark
May 31, 2012

FOREIGN MINISTER SOVNDAL: Yes. Hello and welcome. First of all, I would like to welcome you to Copenhagen. It’s been a pleasure. I’m very happy to be able to return hospitality and generosity you showed when I was in Washington just before Christmas. Thank you very much for that.

And it’s a great pleasure to receive Secretary of State Hillary Clinton here in Copenhagen. One important thing for Secretary Clinton’s visit here will be green growth and the potential for a green transition of our economies. I believe that Denmark has a lot to offer in that regard, and the importance of the United States is hard to overrate. This theme means a lot to both of us.

We had a very fruitful meeting where we discussed a wide range of shared policy priorities. I would like to briefly mention a few of the main items we discussed.

First of all, we had a very frank discussion about Afghanistan. Following up on the NATO Summit, which the United States successfully hosted in Chicago just a few weeks ago, I believe I speak on behalf of both of us when I say that there is a need of realism regarding the prospects for Afghanistan. Transition in Afghanistan is a bumpy road; that’s no secret. But the transition is moving forward, and it will complete by the end of 2014. It is vital that we enable the Afghans to take over full responsibility for their security. I’m therefore very encouraged to note that we have already secured substantial long-term contribution for the Afghan National Security Force, and that was not least a result of the very close cooperation we had between our two countries leading up to Chicago.

We also had an excellent discussion regarding our mutual efforts to help stabilize the Horn of Africa, Libya, and the Sahel region. We agreed on strengthening the U.S.-Danish partnership to prevent and counter terrorism in East Africa. A key focus area will be to prevent the financing of terrorism. We also agreed on the need to strengthen respect for human rights and the rule of law in our effort to counter terrorism. We will launch a joint project focusing on states moving towards democratic governance, including the countries in North Africa. Moreover, we will also jointly provide support for an observation mission to monitor the upcoming elections in Libya. We stand committed to assisting the Libyans in their efforts towards securing a peaceful and democratic future for their elections.

Finally, we discussed the potential for stronger cooperation on promoting green growth. The backdrop of our discussion was the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development, which is just a few weeks ahead. Later today, a strong bilateral green partnership will be kicked off here in Copenhagen. I hope this can also be a driver for an increased investment in trade.

Secretary of State, we must – we meet frequently in different locations around the world. I’m therefore very pleased to be able to receive you here in Copenhagen, so to say, on home ground. I very much appreciate our sincere, frank cooperation, and I hope you’ll enjoy not only this visit, but don’t be shy to come back here once again if you want.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Minister Sovndal, thank you so much for your warm welcome. It is indeed a pleasure to be back here in Copenhagen. This is my first stop on a trip that will take me to several European countries over the next week to underscore America’s commitment to our transatlantic allies and our shared values. You are, after all, our partners of first resort. And together, we are facing the challenges of a complex, dangerous, and fast-moving world. And I’m particularly grateful for Denmark’s leadership in the area of humanitarian and development assistance as well as the staunch contributions to our shared security.

The friendship between our two countries dates back more than two centuries and the bonds between our people have endured over that time. Our commitment to democracy, to human rights, to human dignity is core to all of us. And this morning I had the great privilege of speaking with a group of Danish young people about the kind of future that we hope awaits them.

We had a very productive lunch, talked through a range of issues as the minister has said, because after all we are working together on matters ranging from nuclear proliferation in Iran to global food security.

Regarding Afghanistan I thanked the foreign minister for the leadership of the Danish Government and the sacrifices made by the Danish people, in particular your extraordinary soldiers. Danish soldiers have fought valiantly alongside American and allied forces. And as we prepare for the transition in 2014, when the Afghans themselves will take full responsibility for their own security, Denmark has responded by generously committing to supporting the Afghan National Security Forces after the transition and calling on other nations to do the same through its Coalition of Committed Contributors initiative.

As we look toward the donors’ summit in Tokyo in July, Denmark will continue to play a leading role in helping the Afghan people make progress in governance, on education, healthcare, and other indices of development. Denmark’s commitment to new democracies extends far beyond Afghanistan and into the Middle East and North Africa, where it has pledged money in assistance and working to spark economic growth, especially in the private sector. And I expressed our gratitude for the leadership once again that Denmark is showing, because it is essential that democracies, especially these very young democracies, deliver tangible results for people.

We of course discussed Denmark’s leadership on climate change and the environment. As an Arctic nation, Denmark knows very well how pressing these issues are. And as climate change progresses, its impact will affect the livelihoods of millions of people who are dependent on this region’s natural resources. Denmark is a strong voice for taking aggressive action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and by leading the charge with your own domestic goal of cutting emissions by 40 percent by 2020. And I want to applaud Denmark’s decision to join the Climate and Clean Air Coalition that will help us reduce the short-lived climate pollutants as well as CO2. That’s an important complement to what is being done with respect to carbon emissions.

For our part, the United States has continued to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We’ve established new fuel efficiency standards that will be among the most aggressive in the world. We have invested more than $90 billion in clean energy and energy efficiency. We’ve more than doubled our installed capacity of wind and solar in four years. So I’m looking forward to this afternoon’s Green Partnership for Growth event with the prime minister, and I applaud Denmark’s leadership in creating the Global Green Growth Forum, an innovative platform that encourages leaders across governments, the private sector, and civil society to work together.

And finally, let me say a word about Syria. The world looked on last week at the massacre in Houla with horror, and those responsible must be held to account. We and the world have joined in condemning the brutality of the Assad regime. I spoke with Special Envoy Kofi Annan yesterday about his recent visit to Damascus. We are working with Denmark and others to make sure the international community speaks with a unified voice to increase pressure on Assad from both inside and outside. We have to peel away the regime’s continued support within Syria while bolstering our assistance to the opposition and by isolating the regime diplomatically and economically.

So we have a lot of work ahead of us, Minister, and I want to conclude by thanking you again as well as the people of Denmark for your invaluable partnership and leadership. I look forward to our continuing coordination and collaboration, and it is a great pleasure for me to have this opportunity to be here once again. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We will now take a few questions. (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Thank you. Madam Secretary, as you have stated, Denmark has played an important role in different missions around the world – in Iraq, Afghanistan, and recently in Libya. Right now, the situation in Syria is on top of the agenda. If – and that’s my question – if an international coalition could – can be formed, could you then see Denmark take play in such a coalition?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we have to take stock of where we are and what is possible. I see Denmark as a contributor to any mission anywhere be it security, be it development, be it humanitarian, because the track record of Danish participation is exemplary. So of course, if there were such an international coalition to do anything to try to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people, we would certainly reach out as broadly as possible and be consulting closely with the Danish Government.

Right now, we continue to support Kofi Annan and his efforts. And we do so fully aware that thus far Assad has not implemented any of the six points that are part of the Kofi Annan plan. But we also know that the UN observers have performed two important functions. In many of the areas where they are present, violence has gone down. And they serve as independent observers – the eyes of the world, if you will – in reporting back when terrible events like the recent massacres occur to try to cut through the clutter and disinformation coming from the Syrian Government.

We’re also aware that there is still a fear among many elements of the Syrian society and the Syrian Government that as bad as the Assad regime is, it could get worse. And we therefore continue to call upon the business leadership, the religious leadership, the military leadership, those voices within the government that know what is going on is leading to the very outcome they fear most, which is a sectarian civil war, to stand up now and call a halt to further support for this regime.

So we’re nowhere near putting together any kind of coalition other than to alleviate the suffering, which we are all contributing to, but we are working very hard to focus the efforts of those, who like Denmark and the United States, are appalled by what we see going on, to perhaps win over those who still support the regime inside and outside of Syria to see what options are available to us.

QUESTION: Jim Mannion from Agence France Presse. Madam Secretary, again on Syria, at this point with the Russians refusing a budge on Syria and with the country appearing to tip towards civil war, is it now a live option to move beyond the requirement of an explicit UN mandate to some sort of action outside of the UN? Is that something the U.S. is considering? Is that a possibility at this point?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Jim, we consider all contingencies at all time. I mean, we plan against everything in order to be prepared in the event that action is called for. But I can tell you that right now, we are focused on supporting Kofi Annan, reaching out both inside and outside of Syria, bringing together those who are most directly affected, particularly in the region. In the last several days, I’ve had numerous conversations – I will have many more over the next few days – with particular attention paid on – to the Russians. Because the Russians keep telling us they want to do everything they can to avoid a civil war because they believe that the violence would be catastrophic. They often, in their conversations with me, liken it to the equivalent of a very large Lebanese civil war, and they are just vociferous in their claim that they are providing a stabilizing influence.

I reject that. I think they are, in effect, propping up the regime at a time when we should be working on a political transition. So I look forward to working with Kofi Annan, with likeminded nations like Denmark and many others, and with the Russians to see if we can’t get a way forward.


QUESTION: Oliver Skov with the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. The Danes are very curious and interested in the – in U.S. politics and the upcoming elections. (Laughter.) I was hoping you would comment on the upcoming elections and, on a more personal level, your own role after the elections in November.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am, as Secretary of State, out of politics. And that’s a rule that we have in our system, that because I have international responsibilities, I cannot participate in the political process. So for the first time in my adult life, I will not be actively engaged in this election.

Clearly, I anticipate and expect the President to be reelected, and the policies that have been pursued in this Administration to continue. But the voters, as in any democracy, will have the final word on the outcome. But I’m looking forward to working as hard as I can until the end of my tenure as Secretary of State, and then will look forward to some time to collect myself and spend it doing just ordinary things that I very much am looking forward to again, like taking a walk without a lot of company – not that I don’t love seeing you all – but just having the time to set my own schedule and pursue a lot of the interests that I have pursued my entire life, particularly on behalf of women and children.

QUESTION: No politics?


MODERATOR: One final question. Brad.

QUESTION: Yes, Brad Klapper from Associated Press. Madam Secretary, there’s been increasing talk in Israel, including yesterday from the defense minister, about unilateral action or interim solution in the West Bank in lieu of progress in the peace process. Would you encourage or discourage unilateral withdrawal by Israel from some land, even if it’s not all the Palestinians seek? And what would the unilateral aspect of such a move mean for the chances of establishing a long-lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Brad, the United States believes there is no substitute for direct talks between the parties. It is the only route to achieving what has long been not only a Palestinian goal and an American goal, but an Israeli goal, which are two states living side by side in peace and security. We have discouraged unilateral action from both sides, and in fact, we think that this new coalition government in Israel provides the best opportunity in several years to reach such a negotiated agreement. In fact, when the coalition was formed, there were four pillars of agreement, and one of them was pursuing the two-state solution.

So we very much want to encourage the Israelis and the Palestinians to do that, and in fact, they have recently exchanged letters, from President Abbas to President – to Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Prime Minister Netanyahu to President Abbas that have outlined the conditions for dialogue. And in recent weeks, I’ve called both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas urging them to take this opportunity, to use this new opening that has come about because of the broad coalition that now exists that has pledged itself to pursuing a negotiated resolution. And we’re going to continue to urge them to do so.

We greatly appreciate the role that Jordan has played. King Abdullah of Jordan has been extraordinarily forceful in urging the parties to come to the negotiating table. I spoke with Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh over the weekend about the status of the discussions. So we believe that there is an opportunity for direct negotiations, and we hope it was enhanced by the release of bodies today by the Israelis of Palestinians whom they had either killed or who had been suicide bombers going back many years as a sign of confidence building. But they need to get to the table and start dealing with all the very hard issues we know have to be resolved.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much. We’re out of time.



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Public Schedule for May 31, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
May 31, 2012


Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Copenhagen, Denmark. The Secretary is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Gordon, Counselor and Chief of Staff Mills, Director Sullivan, VADM Harry B. Harris, Jr., JCS, and Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for European Affairs Liz Sherwood Randall. Please click here for more information.

10:30 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton has an audience with Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

11:05 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a townterview hosted by TV2 with Danish youth, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

12:20 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends a working lunch with Danish Foreign Minister Villy Sovndal, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

1:35 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a joint press availability with Danish Foreign Minister Villy Sovndal, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

4:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

5:05 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends a green partnership for growth event with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

5:45 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with the staff and families of Embassy Copenhagen, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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Our girl has safely arrived.  There are no pictures to go with this, but it is from VOA, and that is enough authority for me.

Clinton in Scandinavia for Talks on Syria, Afghanistan, Iran

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (file photo)

May 30, 2012

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Denmark at the start of a week-long trip to Europe that is expected to focus on Syria, Afghanistan and Iran.

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Public Schedule for May 30, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
May 30, 2012



Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey through June 7. The Secretary is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Gordon, Counselor and Chief of Staff Mills, Director Sullivan, VADM Harry B. Harris, Jr., JCS, and Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for European Affairs Liz Sherwood Randall. Please click here for more information.

Candles – should you want to light one.

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International Day of UN Peacekeepers

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 29, 2012

I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the men and women who serve in United Nations peacekeeping operations around the world and to honor the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. I would also like to recognize the many American personnel who have participated in UN peacekeeping operations, including most recently, U.S. Army Brigadier General Hugh Van Roosen who will be the new Chief of Staff of the UN Mission in Liberia.

Since the first UN peacekeeping mission which was created on this day sixty-four years ago, civilian and military personnel have served under the UN flag in 67 operations around the world. Because of their work, the world is safer and more secure. The United States is committed to UN peacekeeping operations, and to a more peaceful world.

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Public Schedule for May 29, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC


TUESDAY, MAY 29, 2012


9:15 a.m. Secretary Clinton meets with the assistant secretaries, at the Department of State.

10:00 a.m. Secretary Clinton holds a flag ceremony for Assistant Secretary Feltman, at the Department of State.

10:15 a.m. Secretary Clinton meets with visiting Middle East democracy activists, at the Department of State.

2:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with Judy Gross.

2:45 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with President Obama, at the White House.

PM Secretary Clinton attends President Obama’s presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, at the White House.

5:45 p.m. Secretary Clinton attends a meeting at the White House.

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Well, as yet there is no public schedule posted, but that is not to imply that Mme. Secretary is not working! Here she is.

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Meeting With Visiting Middle East Democracy Activists


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
May 29, 2012


SECRETARY CLINTON: Welcome. Welcome. We are so pleased to have you here, and I know many of you were able to come to the Civil Society Dialogue.


SECRETARY CLINTON: And we just want to continue encouraging you, supporting you where we can in your efforts to stand up for democracy – real democracy – and the human rights of every human being, and to help advance the cause of progress and freedom every way that you are already doing so. And we’re very proud of what you are doing. And we know it’s not an easy path to be on, but history has, I think, shown time and time again that you are on the right side of history. So thank you, all.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Lots of pictures and cameras. (Laughter.) That’s it? Good.

Well, I know too that you have been meeting with a lot of people. Has it been a good experience for you?

PARTICIPANT: Yes, it was a very good – yeah.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good. And I hope that as part of your dialogue with all of our team, you’ll give us your very honest assessments about what we can do, what we should not do, what the best ways to try to support you are, what works, what doesn’t work, because we admire greatly not only what you’re doing, but what your countries are trying to do. And I often remind my own fellow Americans that it took us a long time to try to make sure we dealt with all of the issues – our Constitution enshrined slavery and we had to overcome that; it eliminated the right for women to vote and we had to overcome that.

So it’s not like we are telling you that it’s easy for us, because it’s been challenging. But we have the luxury of doing it during 200 years of history where the whole world was not watching everything you did and said. I mean, you are, in a way, in a much more challenging environment because of the media and technology that now has an opinion about everything and can be used for the betterment of human society or for the undermining of progress.

So we know how hard this is, just on the merits because of our own experience. And we know that it is even more challenging in today’s world. So we want to learn from you. We think we have some ideas to offer, some help to provide, but we really want to learn from you. So please take that invitation. Don’t be shy about that.

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