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Karen Hughes Press Conference Casablanca, Morocco

Press Conference Following a Visit to the Solidarity Feminine Non-Governmental Organization

Karen Hughes, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs

Casablanca, Morocco
June 4, 2006

Question: What have you discovered today after your visit?

Under Secretary Hughes: Well I have to say I am inspired by the strength, joy and graciousness of Moroccan women. Here at this facility where women are helping other women, earlier this morning at a literacy training course where women were learning to read so they could share that knowledge with their families, and you could see that look on their faces, their pride, and I told them I was proud of them because they are learning a skill that will not only help them improve their own lives, but will help their children and their families lives and help make Morocco a stronger country. We are proud that America is working in partnership with the government of Morocco, with NGOs and private organizations here in Morocco to work on these programs that I think are so meaningful in the lives of the people of Morocco.

Question: Do you think that the USAID program works here in Morocco?

Under Secretary Hughes: Well I think judging from the women I saw this morning, they feel that the American program is helping, giving them new skills. That they mentioned being able to do homework with their children, and that is such a source of pride for those women that they can now help their child learn in school. I picked up a young girl there and said what her mother was doing and learning at this program is going to make that child's life better and going to make Morocco a stronger country so we are proud to be a partner in all of that.

Question: OK, thank you.

Under Secretary Hughes: Thank you so much.

(Question from new interviewer not captured on tape)

Under Secretary Hughes: Well my office does provide a great deal of assistance. We fund everything from exchange-programs to literacy training to English language training programs. We have increased funding, in fact, since I have been Under Secretary for programs like that. Yesterday I met with a group, this morning in fact, met with a group of young Moroccans from very low-income neighborhoods who will be coming to the United States this summer on one of the programs that my office funds. I think that kind of partnership is, that we need to have more young people from Morocco come to America and more young Americans come visit Morocco so we can better understand each other.

Question: And what are they looking for is going to bring them skills?

Under Secretary Hughes: Well, we think one of the important things, one of the most important things that I was talking to the young people about yesterday that can help them find jobs, is to learn English because increasingly English is the language of international business. So we are spending quite a bit of money to help young people here in Morocco learn to speak English because they want to speak English and it is a skill that gives them the ability to improve their own lives. Some of the young people I met yesterday were talking about the fact that because they could speak English they had been able to find jobs when some of their friends had not.

Question: Thank you.

Under Secretary Hughes: Thank you.


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