Albright, Madeleine K., Former Secretary of State

Name: Albright, Madeleine K.
Title: Former Secretary of State
Company/Organization/University: Department of State

Remarks By Secretary Of State Madeleine K. Albright To The Institute Of International Education

"Thank you, Allan. When Allan was Associate Dean of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, in the early 1980's, he helped recruit me to teach there. It's very interesting to be introduced by a really good friend. We taught together - we team taught - we did a lot of good things at Georgetown, and I am very grateful to Allan for, in fact, having recruited me to run this program, Women in the Foreign Service.

I always used to say it wasn't the foreign service, it was just the idea that women ought to have roles in international affairs. And I guess they should. I was speaking up in Maine yesterday and I was asked whether I could say anything on behalf of young women in international relations. I said, "Young and old, we ought to be there."

Allan was a great colleague, and when he invites me to dinner, I show up. But given this institution and this audience, it was an easy sell. Henry Kaufman and Garrick Utley and our distinguished co-chairs and honorees and guests and friends, I really am very, very pleased to be here.

I am, indeed, a long time fan of the IIE for many job related reasons. But I also have a personal one. When my family first came to America in 1948, my father, who had been a Czechoslovak diplomat, needed to find a new line of work. And Ben Carrington, who was one of the patron saints of IIE, was at the University of Denver and he is the one who brought my father out to Denver where my father and our family thrived. And so, for us, IIE has always been a synonym for opportunity.

Of course there are many other families around the world who have equally good cause to thank this institution. For eight decades the IIE has been the world's leader in promoting the exchange of people and the sharing of ideas. Founded in the aftermath of the war, I think so clearly to help prevent war, it is dedicated to the promise that people who understand and know each other better are less likely to hate and attack each other. And that requires a certain faith in human character, a faith without which no human progress could be achieved.

And speaking of faith, I just want to say to those who may have followed the recent, all too brief, debate on the comprehensive test ban treaty, that we will not give up. The treaty is in our national interest.

The President made very clear that the fight is far from over. And I hope that many of you had an opportunity to hear him today in his press conference because I think that he put a number of issues together - our lack of payment to the United Nations, the gutting of my foreign affairs budget, the reckless vote yesterday - as a sign of new isolationism. And if there ever was an organization that is fitted to fight the new isolationism, it is this international organization. And so I call on you for help in this era. As Winston Churchill is said to have said years ago, Americans can always be counted upon to do the right thing after all the other possibilities have been exhausted.

In the meantime with these nuclear tests, we will continue to refrain from nuclear explosive tests and encourage others to do so as well. The nuclear treaty aside, tonight's dinner comes at an exciting time for me as Secretary of State, and that's because at the beginning of this month the Department merged with the United States Information Agency. And this was no mere bureaucratic reshuffling. It reflects our understanding that in today's world, public diplomacy must be an integral part of our foreign policy from the moment our initiatives are conceived to the days that they are fully executed.

I'm pleased that tonight we are joined by our newly sworn in Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Evelyn Lieberman. I call your attention as well to the presence of Alice Ilchman, now chairman of the board of the Rockefeller Foundation and formerly Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.

As these leaders can attest, public diplomacy matters because in this day and age, we can't simply assume that American policies and intentions will be understood. Public diplomacy helps us to tell our side of the story, to clarify intentions, provide explanations and rebut lies. It also enables us to spread more broadly the good news of democracy. About the time that IIE was founded, British author H. G. Wells wrote that history is a race between education and catastrophe. Helping people to value democratic principles of tolerance and openness is a good way to aid us all in winning that race. And that's why our international scholarship, exchange and visitor programs are such a vital component of our public diplomacy. And for decades the IIE has successfully administered the best of these programs including the Fulbright and Humphrey Fellowships.

I have a deep commitment to these programs because I've seen them work. When I was at Georgetown I participated in seminars that included future prime ministers and presidents from Europe, Asia and Latin America. Allan Goodman did an incredible job of putting those leadership seminars together. And, just for example, among the people that were there is Jaswant Singh, the current Foreign Minister of India. So, networking was very much alive, thanks to various exchange programs.

This year Allan tells me that the IIE is training lawyers from Russia, economists from South Africa, public administrators from Eastern Europe and environmental professionals from India; that is an impressive amount of history in the making.

While these initiatives focus on specific areas of expertise, they also improve the climate for respecting basic human rights. In relatively closed societies, IIE programs provide a rare chance to establish outside contact and explore wonderfully dangerous ideas, such as freedom. In transitional countries they provide a means of educating future leaders about the nuts and bolts of democratic institutions. And in every nation they touch, they help open the door of opportunity to minorities and women.

The benefits to the United States are clear as well. These ventures improve our understanding of other cultures and make friends for us worldwide. In consequence I'm absolutely committed to preserving the integrity of these programs. They are by law, and by right, nonpolitical. They are not pork, they are pure gold, and we must manage them as the precious assets to American interests and values that they are.

The Institute of International Education is dedicated to the exchange of knowledge and the pursuit of truth. And tonight I want to say a few words in the context of American foreign policy about the closely related subjects of free press and free expression. It's especially appropriate to be do here in New York, the free speech capital of the world, where, to paraphrase Shakespeare, some are born with opinions, some develop opinions and all have opinions thrust upon them.

It is also appropriate because the IIE is a champion of free expression, training journalists in many key countries. But even more important, freedom of speech and expression are fundamental to the principles and values that America promotes around the world. The universal declaration on human rights provides that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and to impart and receive ideas through the media. The very importance of this right is what causes dictators to want to suppress it. For, to dictators, the truth is often inconvenient and sometimes a mortal threat. And that's why so often they try to grab the truth and leash it like a dog, ration it like bread or mold it like clay. Their goal is to create their own myths, conceal their own blunders, direct resentments elsewhere and instill in their people a dread of change.

Consider, for example, Serbia. For years Slobodan Milosevic, now an indicted war criminal, has fed his people lies while repressing and terrorizing those who sought the truth. Slavko Curuvija, a newspaper owner and critic of Milosevic, was murdered this spring after being harassed repeatedly by Serb authorities. Other independent voices, such as the opposition newspaper, Glas Javnosti, have also been fined or temporarily shut down.

In Cuba it is hard for an honest person to get on a soap box without having it yanked out from beneath. Numerous correspondents, including Raul Rivero and Manuel Gonzalez Castellanos, have been arrested or detained for directly or indirectly criticizing Fidel Castro.

In Belarus, the government closed down newspapers two weeks ago after one published a story about a cabinet minister's construction of a luxurious summer home.

In Syria the government arrested human rights journalist Nizar Nayyouf back in 1992. He is now near death after years of solitary confinement, torture and neglect.

Even in somewhat more open societies, criticizing the powers that be can be hazardous to your health and livelihood. For instance, in Zimbabwe, two journalists, Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto were arrested, tortured and are now on trial for reporting on an alleged Army plot to remove President Mugabe. In Croatia journalist Orlanda Obad is being prosecuted for writing about the financial holdings of President Tudjman's family. More than nine hundred other Croat journalists currently face civil or criminal charges. In Peru, television station owner Baruch Ivcher was stripped of his citizenship and forced into exile for reporting on allegations of government abuses including illegal wire tapping and torture.

Governments that respond to hostile or investigative reporting with threats and prosecutions betray their own insecurity and misuse of power. No society can advance very far unless its government is accountable and governments are not accountable unless journalists are able to do their job.

It is true that reporters and independent broadcasters are capable of abusing their rights, of poisoning the airwaves by inciting hate, spreading fear and telling lies. We have seen that happen this decade in, among other places, Rwanda. Press codes that establish standards of professionalism and accountability can be a vital safeguard and authorities should have the right to rebut, correct and argue with their critics. But they do not have the right to simply silence them.

This is a point we make to all countries including allies and friends. In Ukraine, for example, we're concerned by apparent efforts to hinder news coverage of opposition candidates in the current presidential campaign. Federal authorities have frozen the bank accounts of the television station STB which has a reputation for unbiased reporting, thereby forcing the station to curtail political and other programming. And earlier this year, in Turkey a journalist named Nadire Mater published a book of interviews with soldiers that was banned for allegedly insulting the military. The author faces a possible six-year prison sentence.

It must be emphasized, however, that there has been noteworthy progress on human rights in Turkey since Prime Minister Ecevit with whom I met recently in Washington came to power. For example, in August, the Turkish parliament suspended the sentences of some journalists convicted for speech related offenses. This is a step in the right direction and we will continue to encourage further progress.

Around the world Americans may be proud that our diplomats regularly stress the importance of free speech and a free press. Both publicly and privately we urge that the rights of journalists and other reporters be respected. One place where we've made a special effort is Kosovo. This is a region where past efforts to control and misuse information contributed to a terrible harvest in suffering and blood. And that's why creating a climate in which a free and independent media could operate with an authority for NATO and the UN in the aftermath of the conflict earlier this year.

Today, thanks in part to American assistance, Kosovo has six daily newspapers and more than twenty radio stations reflecting a wide range of editorial viewpoints. One influential publisher - Veton Surroi - has been particularly courageous in championing the cause of better relations between ethnic Albanians and Serbs.

As we scan the horizon we see the ongoing problems of intolerance in the Balkans and the obstacles to a free press created by organized crime in Russia. We see the clashes in Iran and China between those who favor greater openness and those who fear it and the tendency in so many countries still to censor ideas rather than debate them. We're reminded daily that the quest for free expression must confront many hurdles and remains a long distance race. But with H. G. Wells' aphorism in mind, we must and will continue to educate, advocate and insist that global norms be respected.

Before closing, I want to say just a word about resources. Public diplomacy, international exchanges and support for human rights all cost money. Unfortunately, over the past five years the funds we annually invest in international affairs have declined by roughly twenty percent from the prior five-year period. And what has been a very bad situation is now at the risk of becoming much worse.

Last week Congress voted to slash President Clinton's fiscal year 2000 budget requests for foreign affairs by two billion dollars. This doesn't include another 2.6 billion dollars in emergency needs that we've identified since the President's budget was prepared. The result is a clear and present danger to American interests and a potential short fall so large that it could become nearly impossible for me to do my job. The message we are sending back to Congress is that this simply is not acceptable. The President has vowed to veto the inadequate appropriations bill and we will insist that our international affairs programs, including public diplomacy, be treated fairly in the final budget negotiations this fall.

Many Americans, and I supposed even this audience, are surprised when I tell them the amount we allocate for foreign affairs is equal to only about one penny of every dollar the federal government spends. But in many situations diplomacy is our first line of defense in preventing war, defusing crises and building peace. And foreign policy is one of our government's most basic responsibilities. So I hope we will have your support in assuring that America has the resources required to lead.

Finally let me emphasize how strongly I feel about the issues I've discussed tonight. As Allan mentioned, when I was in graduate school I wrote my dissertation on the role of the Czechoslovak media during the Prague Spring. And in the 1980s as a professor I watched the freedoms progress by the Helsinki Accords inspire such writers as Andrei Sakharov and Vaclav Havel and help erode the foundations of Communism in Central Europe and the Soviet Union. And as UN Ambassador and Secretary of State I have come into contact with courageous men and women throughout the world who still strive at great cost and risk to report and broadcast the facts.

These heroes remind me of the old story about the wavering dissident in a repressive regime who tells his friend, "It is because I have children I dare not speak out." To which his friend replied, "It because I have children I dare not remain silent."

I am proud that throughout this century America has been the world's leading defender of every person's right everywhere to speak, write, publish and broadcast freely and without fear. I am proud that American pioneered the notion that public diplomacy should be based not on self-serving fictions but rather on openness and truth.

And finally I'm proud to count myself among the friends and many admirers of the Institute of International Education. In the year you were founded, Woodrow Wilson was President, the reigning World Series champions were the Boston Red Sox and the Secretary of State had a mustache. Since then, over eight decades the Institute of International Education has been a mighty instrument of information and an agent of understanding, fostering peace and reminding us all that what counts most are not the distinctions of culture, nationality and language that divide us, but rather the common humanity that binds us.

For all you have done I congratulate you, for all you are doing and will do, I salute you, and for your attention this evening, I thank you."

Albright, Madeleine K. Remarks By Secretary Of State Madeleine K. Albright To The Institute Of International Education, IIE