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Swearing-in Mark Dybul US Global AIDS Coordinator

Remarks at the Swearing-in Ceremony of the Honorable Mark Dybul as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
October 10, 2006

(10:30 a.m. EDT)


MR. MARTINEZ: Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: Good morning, my name is Raymond Martinez and I am the Deputy Chief of Protocol, and it is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the Benjamin Franklin Room of the State Department today for the swearing-in of Dr. Mark R. Dybul as the United States Global AIDS Coordinator with the rank of ambassador.

I would like to extend a special welcome to the First Lady. Mrs. Bush, it is an honor to have you with us here today. We are privileged to have the Secretary of State, the Honorable Condoleezza Rice, with us this morning to officiate our ceremony. We are very pleased to have a number of Ambassador Dybul's family members joining us on this auspicious occasion. They include: partner, Jason Claire; mother, Claire Dybul; father, Richard Dybul; and mother-in-law, Marilyn Claire. Please join me in extending a very warm welcome to all of our distinguished guests. (Applause.)

We will begin our ceremony this morning with remarks by Secretary Rice. This will be followed by the administration of the Oath of Office, remarks by the First Lady and remarks by Ambassador Dybul. Following the ceremony and the signing of the appointment papers, Ambassador Dybul would like to greet each of you and we will form a receiving line in front of the podium here for that purpose.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to present to you the Secretary of State. (Applause.)

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Thank you very much. I am truly honored and delighted to have the opportunity to swear in Mark Dybul as our next Global AIDS Coordinator. I am pleased to do that in the presence of Mark's parents, Claire and Richard; his partner, Jason; and his mother-in-law, Marilyn. You have wonderful family to support you, Mark, and I know that's always important to us. Welcome.

There are a number of other important dignitaries here, but none more important than our First Lady. I want to say that the First Lady, whom I'll introduce a little bit later, is of course a compassionate soul of America in so many ways. And thank you too for our commitment to our nation's fight against AIDS.

We are honored to be joined here by a number of members of the Diplomatic Corps. Some are partners with us in the President's Emergency Relief Plan for AIDS and I want to welcome you to this gathering. And I'd like to recognize in particular the contributions of Randy Tobias, who was of course the first Global AIDS Coordinator. Randy laid a great foundation working with Mark, on which Mark, I am certain, is going to build.

The fight to eradicate AIDS is really one of the great moral callings of our time. Mark is the right person to carry on this great program and this great cause. He brings of course a deep commitment to the role from his years in public service and in public health. He studied AIDS as a researcher and as a doctor and he's gained a full understanding of the virus.

But it's not enough for Mark to simply have been someone who understood this virus; he wanted to do something about it. And so he's been a policy maker who has confronted the disease's tragic effects on individuals and families and communities.

When we were standing out in the anteroom, Mark said that he misses being a physician and his contact with individual patients. But as the First Lady said to him, he is of course now having an extraordinarily broad impact on the lives of so many. Mark takes the helm at a time when the United States has dedicated enormous resources and enormous energy to combating the scourge of HIV/AIDS. It's not an easy path. It's a path that still in many ways needs to be plowed. But we're making headway through the President's Emergency Plan, and now in its third year PEPFAR is on pace to meet our five-year, $15 billion commitment for prevention, treatment and care. The Emergency Plan is the single largest international initiative by any country for any disease and we're making progress each step along the way; one more orphan, one more patient is taken care of or treated, and one more person can live with the disease.

I've often related that my personal understanding of this came at meeting in the Oval Office when the President was, as he often does, grilling his staff about what was really possible through the commitment to AIDS. And he was told by Dr. Tony Fauci, who has joined us here, that in fact we'd made a lot of progress -- not in being able to cure the disease but in being able to treat the disease so that people could live longer. And I remembered myself that my mother had succumbed to a much -- another difficult disease, breast cancer, first having it when I was 15 years old. But she had lived until I was 30 because of treatment, and what a difference that she got to see me grow up from a girl of 15 to a woman of 30. And throughout the world, we are now doing that for moms and for dads and for families so that people living with this disease are extending their lives and extending their time to nourish and bring up their families. What greater legacy.

We're not going to defeat this disease in a month or a year, maybe not even in a decade. But the commitment of the United States of America, the commitment of the President of the United States on behalf of the people of America, and the commitment of a strong team including now our Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul, means that when the history of this pandemic is written, America I think will stand out as having taken on the moral challenge and having met our responsibilities as a country to which much has been given and perhaps giving back a little bit to make the world a better place, perhaps a little bit freer of this terrible disease.

Mark, you have no stronger supporters of this mission, of course, than the President and myself and the men and women of the State Department will be your full partners as will the men and women of the United States Government, and I dare say the men and women of our partners around the world.

I'm delighted that you're going to take on this important assignment. I know that you will carry it out with skill and with dedication and with commitment, perhaps most importantly with compassion.

And so, Mark, I am now very pleased to swear you in. (Applause.)

(The Oath of Office was administered.)

SECRETARY RICE: And now I have the great pleasure to introduce our First Lady, Mrs. Laura Bush. Not only has she been an incredibly strong supporter of this program and a tireless advocate for it, visiting all over the world our many AIDS projects and saying to our partners how strong the commitment of the United States is; she's also, I know, a proud mom of two great daughters, but one of whom spent time working at Children's Hospital AIDS clinic in South Africa, perhaps showing the commitment that she learned from her parents on this cause.

First Lady Bush, you have been a wonderful supporter and a wonderful, compassionate role model for so many of us. Thank you for joining us here at the State Department for this important occasion.

(Applause.) 2006/902

Released on October 10, 2006

ENDS


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