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“Diplomacy in Action” Welcome from United States Secretary of State, John Kerry

“Diplomacy in Action” Welcome from United States Secretary of State, John Kerry


Hello everyone. I’m John Kerry. It’s my great
privilege to serve as Secretary of State, and my distinct honor to welcome you to this
special conference hosted by the Smithsonian, the National Park Service, and the State Department.
We are so glad you are exploring “Diplomacy in Action.” I lead a group of hard-working Americans stationed
all over the globe who put diplomacy into action every day. The men and women of the
State Department help us to see eye-to-eye with our partners, and to understand the hopes
and aspirations of people all over the world. Through promoting education, development,
and cultural exchange, these dedicated men and women help us to build a prosperous future
for our nation, for the world, and for the next generation. While I travel around the globe frequently
to lead these efforts and conduct diplomacy, much of it actually happens right here in
the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the U.S. Department of State. These 42 rooms are used by the President,
Vice President, me and other key officials to engage with leaders from around the world.
In these rooms — decorated in ways that commemorate our states and different phases of our country
– we negotiate peace, promote commercial and cultural ties between nations, and work to
create prosperity for all nations. These rooms tell a story about our nation’s
rich history of diplomacy. Through their extraordinary collection of more than 5,000 items, they
bring that history to life and remind us of our own obligations. Items in our diplomatic
rooms include the porcelain used by George Washington to celebrate the first American
ship to arrive in China, and the Treaty of Paris Desk, where Benjamin Franklin himself
was among those who signed the document that ended our Revolutionary War and secured America’s
independence. We are pleased to be partnering with the Smithsonian
Institution and the National Park Service to create a digital badge on diplomacy that
you can earn by listening to this conference and completing a series of quests. We are
proud to be part of this Inter-Agency Initiative because we believe that all people should
be able to learn about our country’s great history and American Diplomacy through these
federal collections. You will hear from the Curator of the Diplomatic
Reception Rooms, and a senior historian at the Department of State. We will show you
first-hand how our nation’s diplomacy and history is symbolized by the objects in these
rooms. Then our colleagues at the National Park Service and the Smithsonian will share
locations and objects in their care. This conference brings our world to your world.
It shares with you ways we build global communities and ways you can use diplomacy in your own
communities. So this conference is only the beginning of your journey. As you earn your
badge today, I hope you build a better understanding of how “Diplomacy in Action” is a part of
your future and journey in the world.

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