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Karen Hughes Friendship Between the US and Morocco

Honoring the Longstanding Friendship Between the U.S. and Morocco

Karen Hughes, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
Ibn Batouta Secondary School
Temara, Morocco
June 5, 2006

Under Secretary Hughes: I was a member of the PTA in my home community in Texas. It is wonderful to see so many parents involved in the lives of your children. I was very pleased to see the young people involved in debate. It is very important as you grow up to learn to speak out for your beliefs and to express your opinions even if you disagree with each other in a respectful way. The Unites States is proud to have been a partner in working with you in constructing this facility. I know our military is very proud of this project and we are very proud of them. We are also very delighted to be here and this is a celebration of the important partnership between the America and Morocco. Our countries have a unique partnership that dates back to 1777 when Morocco was the very first country to recognize the United States of America. The year after our treaty was signed, the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which I want boys and girls to know is now the longest unbroken treaty in the history of my country.

[garbled] is to foster friendship and understanding between the people of America and the people of Morocco and so I encourage, when I travel in America, our young people to visit other countries and I hope they will come to Morocco and see your beautiful country and I want to invite the boys and girls here -- we have a lot of scholarship opportunities and I hope when you grow up you will consider visiting us in America. In honor of our friendship, I am happy to present on behalf of the embassy and the ambassador of special programs some new books to your library collection. Appropriately, one is [about] the American presidents, of which this president is George Bush, our current president and my good friend. And this is a book about soccer! Which I think because we are getting ready to start the World Cup and we have invited some young boys and girls from Morocco who are coming to the United States to play soccer and then later this month I am going to take them to Germany to see a World Cup game.

Question: What are your plans about this type of operation? Does it reinforce the relationship between Morocco and the United States?

Under Secretary Hughes: Absolutely it does. One of the things I try to work on, in Public Diplomacy, which is my job, is really about people-to-people connections and it is about getting our people to meet each other because I talked with some young students who are getting ready to come to America in July and they met some Americans who were here in Morocco last summer and they were telling me how their attitudes had changed once they actually met people from each other's countries and so I think it is really important that we get to know each other. Places like this or a venue where young people can come and learn and get to know and read books from America and have an opportunity to debate; it is important they learn how to express themselves and so it is an exciting program.

Question: In this changing world do you think this can help spread the peace, love, and happiness?

Under Secretary Hughes: Absolutely, I think the road to peace is for us all to learn more about each other, to learn that parents everywhere want a better life for our children. We all want our children to grow up in peace and security whether we are American parents or Moroccan parents. So I find the more we learn about each other, the more we have in common.

Question: That is great, thank you.

Under Secretary Hughes: Thank you so much.

ENDS

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