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A lesson on class and leadership from First Lady Michelle Obama

Listen to First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, July 25, 2016

[8 yrs ago, sending my girls to school from the White House, all I could think was:] “What have we done?”

“Our motto is: ‘When they go low; we go high.'”

“That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.

And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.

So, look, so don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on earth!”

Read Obama’s remarks as delivered below:

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE) Thank you all. Thank you so much. You know, it’s hard to believe that it has been eight years since I first came to this convention to talk with you about why I thought my husband should be president.


Remember how I told you about his character and convictions, his decency and his grace, the traits that we’ve seen every day that he’s served our country in the White House?


I also told you about our daughters, how they are the heart of our hearts, the center of our world. And during our time in the White House, we’ve had the joy of watching them grow from bubbly little girls into poised young women, a journey that started soon after we arrived in Washington.

OBAMA: When they set off for their first day at their new school, I will never forget that winter morning as I watched our girls, just 7 and 10 years old, pile into those black SUVs with all those big men with guns.


And I saw their little faces pressed up against the window, and the only thing I could think was, what have we done?


See, because at that moment I realized that our time in the White House would form the foundation for who they would become and how well we managed this experience could truly make or break them. That is what Barack and I think about every day as we try to guide and protect our girls through the challenges of this unusual life in the spotlight, how we urge them to ignore those who question their father’s citizenship or faith.


How we insist that the hateful language they hear from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country.


How we explain that when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.


With every word we utter, with every action we take, we know our kids are watching us. We as parents are their most important role models. And let me tell you, Barack and I take that same approach to our jobs as president and first lady because we know that our words and actions matter, not just to our girls, but the children across this country, kids who tell us I saw you on TV, I wrote a report on you for school.

Kids like the little black boy who looked up at my husband, his eyes wide with hope and he wondered, is my hair like yours?

And make no mistake about it, this November when we go to the polls that is what we’re deciding, not Democrat or Republican, not left or right. No, in this election and every election is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives.


And I am here tonight because in this election there is only one person who I trust with that responsibility, only one person who I believe is truly qualified to be president of the United States, and that is our friend Hillary Clinton.


That’s right.


See, I trust Hillary to lead this country because I’ve seen her lifelong devotion to our nation’s children, not just her own daughter, who she has raised to perfection…


…but every child who needs a champion, kids who take the long way to school to avoid the gangs, kids who wonder how they’ll ever afford college, kids whose parents don’t speak a word of English, but dream of a better life, kids who look to us to determine who and what they can be.

You see, Hillary has spent decades doing the relentless, thankless work to actually make a difference in their lives…


…advocating for kids with disabilities as a young lawyer, fighting for children’s health care as first lady, and for quality child care in the Senate.

And when she didn’t win the nomination eight years ago, she didn’t get angry or disillusioned.


Hillary did not pack up and go home, because as a true public servant Hillary knows that this is so much bigger than her own desires and disappointments.


So she proudly stepped up to serve our country once again as secretary of state, traveling the globe to keep our kids safe.

And look, there were plenty of moments when Hillary could have decided that this work was too hard, that the price of public service was too high, that she was tired of being picked apart for how she looks or how she talks or even how she laughs. But here’s the thing. What I admire most about Hillary is that she never buckles under pressure. She never takes the easy way out. And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life.


And when I think about the kind of president that I want for my girls and all our children, that’s what I want.

OBAMA: I want someone with the proven strength to persevere, someone who knows this job and takes it seriously, someone who understands that the issues a president faces are not black and white and cannot be boiled down to 140 characters.


Because when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military in your command, you can’t make snap decisions. You can’t have a thin skin or a tendency to lash out. You need to be steady and measured and well-informed.


I want a president with a record of public service, someone whose life’s work shows our children that we don’t chase form and fortune for ourselves, we fight to give everyone a chance to succeed.


And we give back even when we’re struggling ourselves because we know that there is always someone worse off. And there but for the grace of God go I.

I want a president who will teach our children that everyone in this country matters, a president who truly believes in the vision that our Founders put forth all those years ago that we are all created equal, each a beloved part of the great American story.


And when crisis hits, we don’t turn against each other. No, we listen to each other, we lean on each other, because we are always stronger together.


And I am here tonight because I know that that is the kind of president that Hillary Clinton will be. And that’s why in this election I’m with her.


You see, Hillary understands that the president is about one thing and one thing only, it’s about leaving something better for our kids. That’s how we’ve always moved this country forward, by all of us coming together on behalf of our children, folks who volunteer to coach that team, to teach that Sunday school class, because they know it takes a village.


Heroes of every color and creed who wear the uniform and risk their lives to keep passing down those blessings of liberty, police officers and the protesters in Dallas who all desperately want to keep our children safe.


People who lined up in Orlando to donate blood because it could have been their son, their daughter in that club.


Leaders like Tim Kaine…


…who show our kids what decency and devotion look like.

Leaders like Hillary Clinton who has the guts and the grace to keep coming back and putting those cracks in that highest and hardest glass ceiling until she finally breaks through, lifting all of us along with her.


That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.


And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.


And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.


So, look, so don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on earth!

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE) And as my daughters prepare to set out into the world, I want a leader who is worthy of that truth, a leader who is worthy of my girls’ promise and all our kids’ promise, a leader who will be guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children.

So in this election, we cannot sit back and hope that everything works out for the best. We cannot afford to be tired or frustrated or cynical. No, hear me. Between now and November, we need to do what we did eight years ago and four years ago.


We need to knock on every door, we need to get out every vote, we need to pour every last ounce of our passion and our strength and our love for this country into electing Hillary Clinton as president of the United States of America!


So let’s get to work. Thank you all and God bless.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)wp-1469550300415.jpg


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Joint Statement from the Fourth U.S.-Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue

Joint Statement from the Fourth U.S.-Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 24, 2012

Below is the text of a joint statement issued following the fourth meeting of the U.S.-Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue.

Begin text:

On October 24, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Minister of External Relations Antonio de Aguiar Patriota conducted the fourth meeting of the United States – Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue (GPD) in Washington, D.C. The GPD was first established in 2010 and elevated to the presidential level by President Barack Obama and President Dilma Rousseff in March 2011. This meeting was preceded by senior-level regional consultations on Africa, Asia and Pacific, South Asia, and the Middle East.

Secretary Clinton and Minister Patriota stressed the important role the GPD has played in strengthening cooperation between our two countries, and reaffirmed the joint commitment to form a U.S.-Brazil Partnership for the 21st Century between the governments and peoples of the two nations. The GPD provides a forum through which our countries work together to promote cooperation and dialogue on a broad range of bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues.

The participants expressed satisfaction with the progress under the GPD since the last ministerial on April 16, 2012 in Brasilia. Consultations have been held on the Middle East and Asia that complement dialogues on Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean; economic and commercial issues; science, technology, innovation, and the environment; internet communication and cyber-related issues; and education, culture, and social inclusion. These consultations will continue to facilitate understanding and cooperation between our two countries.

Noting the interdependence among peace, security, and development, Secretary Clinton and Minister Patriota reaffirmed their desire to build a just and inclusive world order that promotes democracy, open government, human rights, and social justice.

The two participants concurred that just as other international organizations have had to change to be more responsive to the challenges of the 21st century, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) also needs to be reformed, and expressed their support for a modest expansion of the Security Council that improves its effectiveness and efficiency, as well as its representativeness. Secretary Clinton reaffirmed the United States’ appreciation for Brazil’s aspiration to become a permanent member of the Security Council and acknowledged its assumption of global responsibilities. The participants agreed they would continue discussions on United Nations Security Council reform.

The participants underlined the political, institutional, humanitarian, and security-related achievements of Haiti and expressed their appreciation for the critical contribution of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). They stressed the integrated nature of MINUSTAH’s mandate. Brazil and the United States encouraged the Government of Haiti to work toward strengthening governance and the rule of law and, in this context, further encouraged Haiti to continue to pursue the development of the Haitian National Police.

Minister Patriota and Secretary Clinton underscored the importance of strengthening bilateral trade and investment and their positive contribution to their respective economies and to create job opportunities. They praised the successful completion of the first meeting of the U.S.-Brazil Investment Dialogue and the VII U.S.-Brazil Economic Partnership Dialogue (EPD) and welcomed the arrival of a Transportation Security Administration Representative to Brazil to promote cooperation on civil aviation issues.

Participants reviewed progress in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding on the Aviation Partnership and the first meeting of its Coordinating Committee in Brasilia on October 10, 2012. Public and private sector participants in the meeting identified thirteen activities to be carried out over the next year, such as workshops on airport service quality and safety practices during construction; specialized training for aviation safety inspectors and air traffic controllers; capacity building; support for the creation of internships in fields such as aviation engineering; strengthening of industry supply chains; and certification for aircraft parts and components.

Both governments underscored their commitment to work together as partners to promote development, food security and nutrition, and agreed to further strengthen the partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Brazilian Cooperation Agency, as formalized in the 2010 Memorandum of Understanding for the Implementation of Technical Cooperation Activities in Third Countries and the 2012 Memorandum of Understanding for the Implementation of Technical Cooperation Activities in Third Countries to Improve Food Security. The U.S. and Brazil are currently working together to improve agricultural productivity and agriculture research in Mozambique, and are now planning joint projects to increase agriculture production, decrease malnutrition, and promote renewable energy in Haiti and Honduras. Both governments will seek to finalize a separate Memorandum of Understanding that will promote trilateral cooperation in agriculture technology and will continue to explore opportunities for bilateral and regional cooperation in disaster risk management and response.

Minister Patriota and Secretary Clinton praised the Domestic Finance for Development (DF4D) Workshop that was held in Brasilia and co-hosted by the United States and Brazil on October 9-10, which set the stage for follow-on collaboration with participating countries to encourage fiscal transparency and discourage corruption while making tax administration and budget execution more efficient and effective.

The participants noted the continued increase in travel between our two countries and expressed satisfaction at the significant progress by the Department of State to reduce U.S. visa appointment wait times in Brazil. Secretary Clinton and Minister Patriota appreciated the many actions taken to facilitate the travel of U.S. and Brazilian citizens, including the extension of visas from five to 10 years, the opening of a 10th Brazilian Consulate in the United States, in Hartford, Connecticut, the planned opening of new U.S. consulates in Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre, the latest U.S.-Brazil Consular Dialogue on October 4 in Brasilia, and the first meeting of the Working Group on Visa Issues in Washington, D.C. on October 22. They agreed to continue to strengthen the dialogue in this area.

Recognizing the growing opportunities, threats, and challenges in cyberspace, participants welcomed the first meeting in July 2012 of the Internet and Information Communication Technology (ICT) Working Group, during which interagency representatives from both governments exchanged views and best practices on a broad range of cyber issues. Both sides affirmed the value of open discussion of Internet and ICT issues and pledged to continue these efforts, including consultations on positions in multilateral fora.

The participants reaffirmed the shared commitment to remove barriers to access economic opportunity, education, health, and justice for historically marginalized groups, including people of African descent through the ongoing implementation of the U.S.–Brazil Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality, and lauded the successful Joint Action Plan technical meeting and seminar on Equity in Education, both held in Brasilia in August 2012. The participants further agreed that empowering and protecting women and girls requires strong, coordinated action by the international community. As examples of our shared commitment, our two countries are collaborating with Haiti on efforts to combat gender-based violence. The U.S.-Brazil Steering Group to Advance Women in Science was established in August as a direct result of the U.S.-Brazil Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation hosted in Brasilia in March 2012. The Steering Group will provide recommendations to enhance international cooperation among women and establish a network of U.S. and Brazilian female scientists.

Participants welcomed continued implementation of the Action Plan on Education, and our joint efforts to support the U.S. “100,000 Strong in the Americas” initiative and Brazil’s “Scientific Mobility Program” (also known as “Science Without Borders”). They lauded the Department of Commerce-led Education Trade Mission that visited Brazil in September 2012. The mission comprised representatives from 66 U.S. institutions of higher education, making this the largest ever such mission. Participants emphasized the importance of the private sector and research centers in promoting academic mobility between Brazil and the United States, in particular by means of internship offers.

Participants welcomed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Concerning Labor Cooperation signed on May 17 by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Brazilian Ministry of Labor and Employment, and the first meeting of the U.S.-Brazil Labor and Employment Dialogue on October 23 in Brasilia. This initiative will further strengthen efforts under the 2011 MOU for the Implementation of Technical Cooperation Activities in Third Countries in the Field of Decent Work, through which the United States and Brazil have jointly supported a $1.29 million dollar trilateral program to combat and prevent child labor in Haiti, and provided complementary funding of close to $10 million dollars to combat child labor in South American countries and Lusophone Africa.

The participants stressed the need to mobilize innovation and investment around critical global challenges and to introduce businesses, investors, entrepreneurs, and universities to new market opportunities that accelerate economic development and promote sustainable economies. Both parties noted the new “Accelerating Market-Driven Partnerships” (AMP) initiative as an important mechanism for cross-sectoral collaboration to catalyze innovative solutions. Participants also observed with pleasure the successful visit of an Innovation Delegation comprised of entrepreneurs, educators, and technology leaders to Brazil in August 2012, as Secretary Clinton announced in the April 2012 GPD. They also welcomed the ongoing preparations for the first meeting of the Brazil-U.S. Working Group on Innovation, due to take place in the next few months, in fulfillment of the commitments made at the third meeting of the Joint Commission on Science and Technological Cooperation held last March.

Participants also agreed on the importance of identifying areas of cooperation on sports, including through initiatives encouraging the promotion of social inclusion, investment, innovation, education, and women’s advancement related to sports programs.

Secretary Clinton and Minister Patriota reinforced their commitment to Rio+20 outcomes and highlighted the success of the conference in advancing the common vision of the global community on sustainable development. They emphasized the importance of continuing to advance key global priorities, in particular the elaboration of Sustainable Development Goals, strengthening of the institutional framework for sustainable development, and the promotion of sensible approaches to improve the management of our vital natural resources. It is also crucial to integrate the expertise, energy, and commitment of civil society and the private sector in the implementation of sustainable development.

Secretary Clinton and Minister Patriota reaffirmed the importance of both sub-regional and regional processes and noted their important contribution to promoting democracy, peace, cooperation, security, development, and stability in the region. The participants agreed they would continue discussions on these topics.

Participants emphasized the importance of continued high-level consultations, including the upcoming Strategic Energy Dialogue, which will highlight bilateral cooperation across a range of energy technologies, and the Economic and Financial Dialogue, underscoring the importance of private sector engagement, as well as meetings of the Defense Cooperation Dialogue, Defense Bilateral Working Group, Joint Staff Talks, Space Security Dialogue, Political-Military Dialogue, and the Disarmament and Nonproliferation Dialogue.

Noting the need for deeper cooperation on counternarcotics efforts and combating transnational organized crime, the participants agreed to establish a working group that will promote increased dialogue and cooperation between both governments on these matters.

The two sides look forward to continuing regular consultations on a broad range of bilateral, regional, and global issues. The next meeting of the United States-Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue will take place in Brasilia in 2013.

PRN: 2012/1694


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Joint Action Plan: Brazil and U.S.A. To Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination…

Joint Action Plan Between the Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Government of the United States of America To Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality

Washington, DC
March 13, 2008

The Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil and The Government of the United States of America (hereinafter referred to as the “Participants”),

Recognizing the democratic, multi-ethnic and multi-racial nature of Brazilian and U.S. societies, which strengthens the ties of friendship between both countries;

Recognizing further their governments’ commitment to racial equality and equal opportunity and the historic friendship between their nations;

Pledging their ever deepening and ongoing cooperation in eliminating racial and ethnic discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity for all people;

Recalling the political commitments made by the two governments in the Memorandum of Understanding on Education, signed in Washington on March 30, 2007, concerning the Partnership in this area; and

Aware of the importance of cooperating in promoting human rights in order to maintain an environment of peace, democracy and prosperity in the Americas and throughout the world,

Hereby announce the following Joint Action Plan:

1. The Participants are to work collaboratively to promote cooperation, understanding and exchange of information (including best practices) to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination and promote equality of opportunity for all.

2. To advance these common objectives, a Steering Group to Promote Equality of Opportunity (“Steering Group”) is hereby created to promote equality of opportunity and to discuss and consider with a view to developing specific areas and types of cooperation to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination.

a) The Steering Group’s purpose is to share perspectives and information, including information on best practices, both in the subject areas listed in paragraphs (3) and (4) and in other subjects as the Steering Group may decide.

b) The Steering Group should meet alternately in Brazil and the United States. In its initial year of operation, the Steering Group should hold two sessions. Thereafter, it should decide on the frequency and timing of its sessions.

c) Each Participant is to designate its respective members of the Steering Group.

d) The Steering Group is to report on its findings and recommendations anytime the Steering Group meets, under conditions that are mutually acceptable to the Participants.

e) The Steering Group should report on its discussions under Article 3 and on the activities proposed and conducted under Article 5 to its respective governments through the Ministry of External Relations, the Special Secretariat for the Promotion of Racial Equality Policies and the Department of State.

3. Subjects for consideration by the Steering Group are to include the areas of:

a) Education at the elementary, secondary, vocational, college, and graduate levels; a particular emphasis on democracy education and its positive association with increased levels of tolerance, equality, and liberty should be explored;

b) Culture and communication, including cultural media, museums and exhibits, among others;

c) Labor and employment;

d) Housing and public accommodation;

e) Equal protection of law and access to the legal system;

f) Domestic enforcement of relevant anti-discrimination laws and policy;

g) Sports and recreation;

h) Health, including promoting the study of disease prevalent in racial and ethnic minorities;

i) Social, historical, and cultural considerations that may be related to racial or ethnic prejudice; and

j) Access to credit and opportunities for training.

4. Special emphasis on education: The Steering Group should as a first priority discuss and consider the special role that education plays in the respective countries, including the equal access to quality education and how education can counter ethnic and racial discrimination. (See Annex)

5. The Steering Group may discuss and consider techniques and initiatives for promotion of equality and methods of eliminating discrimination based on race or ethnicity including, but not limited to:

a) Training programs;

b) Regional initiatives to promote equality of opportunity, through the strengthening of democratic institutions;

c) Public-private partnerships with enterprises and non-governmental organizations;

d) Holding of workshops and seminars;

e) Exchanges of technical experts;

f) Scholarships and fellowships;

g) Cooperation between institutions of higher education, regional and international organizations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and civil society, including in the field of sports;

h) Programs in third countries, including in Africa; and

i) Other activities as may be proposed to and accepted by members of the Steering Group in the future.

6. This plan of action does not create rights or obligations under international or domestic law.

Done at Brasília, this 13th day of March, 2008, in duplicate, in the Portuguese and English languages.


Edson Santos de Souza
Secretary for the Promotion of Racial Equality Condoleeza Rice
Secretary of State

Education is proposed here as an initial step in implementing the goals of this Joint Action Plan towards ensuring equality and eliminating racial and ethnic discrimination as well as a means for improving conditions for all. Areas and methods to be considered may include:

1. Enhancing and expanding community college exchange programs between Brazilian technical centers and U.S. community colleges;

2. Increasing and targeting recruitment of all students to strengthen the existing youth exchange programs;

3. Broadening and augmenting linkages, relationships, and higher education exchanges with consortia and various universities in Brazil and the United States, including Historically Black institutions, to provide financial assistance and opportunities for study abroad to benefit undergraduate and graduate students, faculty staff and researchers, emphasizing topics related to combating ethnic and racial discrimination;

4. Developing a program for journalists to focus on issues relating to racial and ethnic discrimination;

5. Establishing programs in Brazil to support English in public schools by providing training for English teachers as well as programs in the United States to support the teaching of Portuguese;

6. Working with Bi-National Centers and Brazil’s State Secretaries of Education to provide greater access to English as a Foreign Language (EFL) to traditionally underserved secondary school students in Brazil;

7. Expanding expert exchanges and Digital Video Conferences focused on issues related to ethnic and racial discrimination, public policies, and other Joint Action Plan themes to facilitate discussion between Brazilian and U.S. academics, NGOs, researchers, and educational officials;

8. Expanding support for Brazilian and U.S. experts to present comparative studies on the African Diaspora, cultural diversity, and racial and ethnic discrimination at educational forums and public venues; and

9. Sharing best practices on educational materials, such as software and distance learning, to promote awareness and focus on combating and eliminating racial and ethnic discrimination.