Key Excerpts from Secretary Kerry’s First Week

Washington, D.C.

Secretary Kerry and Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird delivered remarks before press at the State Department.

Secretary Kerry and Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird delivered remarks before press at the State Department.

I am proud to take on this job because I want to work for peace – (applause) – and because the values and the ideals of our nation are really what represents the best of the possibilities of life here on Earth

“We get to try to make peace in the world, a world where there is far too much conflict and far too much killing. There are alternatives. We get to lift people out of poverty. We get to try to cure disease. We get to try to empower people with human rights. We get to speak to those who have no voice. We get to talk about empowering people through our ideals, and through those ideals hopefully they can change their lives.”
- Welcome Remarks to State Department Employees, Secretary of State John Kerry

“When it comes to America’s role in world affairs, I know we agree that it is critical that the United States remain fully engaged, that we project not only the power of our military strength when necessary but the wisdom of our democratic ideals as we adjust to the new threats and new demands we will inevitably face.” – Statement Before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

“Or the things we’ve done to help people to be educated somewhere so they can aspire, like you do, to be able to live in a democracy, understand what it means to be free, and be able to make a difference in the lives of other people.”- Remarks to a Foreign Policy Classroom

“The ability to be able to help people to make peaceful transitions and to move their economies to open, accountable economies that engage with the rest of the world makes a world of difference to the lives of people in that country and everybody around them.”- Remarks to a Foreign Policy Classroom

“And so all of this work of democracy takes time. In a world of multiple technologies, multiple religions, huge religious extremism, in a world of terrorists, extremism linked to, in many cases, exploited religion, we face a challenge unlike any that we have faced in our history.”- Remarks to a Foreign Policy Classroom

“I tell you, it’s an extraordinary thing. One of the things I’ve learned – I’m chauvinistic about it but I’m not arrogant about it – and that’s the virtue of the system that we have in our country that allows us to make these kinds of choices, to have unparalleled freedom, and to take our values out and be proud of them, and let other people decide whether they want to embrace them and live by them and be empowered by them, or whether they want to reject them and go a different direction.”- Remarks to a Foreign Policy Classroom

“No nation has more opportunity to advance the cause of democracy. No nation is as committed to the cause of human rights as we are.” – Statement Before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

“And I believe it’s a time for us, with our values and with what we know about how you develop, to help these folks be able to find the kind of opportunity that you have and that a lot of other people strive for in different parts of the world. Our challenge is not to retreat and go inwards and say, “Oh, let them fight it out, it doesn’t make a difference.” It does make all the difference in the world, as we saw in Afghanistan, where if you leave people to their own devices, a lot of extremists will just organize themselves and make life miserable for people somewhere.” - Remarks to a Foreign Policy Classroom, February 7, 2013

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