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Secretary of State's Award for Corporate Excellence

Daniel Sullivan, Assistant Secretary for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs
Benjamin Franklin Diplomatic Reception Room
Washington, DC
November 6, 2008

Good Morning everyone. I’m Dan Sullivan, Assistant Secretary for Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs. I am pleased that all of you could join us today for this special 10th anniversary program of the Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence, which we call the ACE. It’s an event that we at the State Department look forward to each year because it’s a chance to showcase some of the truly good work that the American business community does daily all over the world.

In a few moments, we will announce this year’s winners, but first, I want to make a few remarks about the ACE award. The State Department established the ACE award in 1999 in order to recognize the critical role U.S. businesses play abroad in advancing good corporate citizenship and democratic principles – actions that help to create enabling environments where democracy and economic empowerment can flourish.

U.S. companies are nominated by American Ambassadors throughout the world. Nominations are based on achievements in areas such as employment practices, responsible environmental stewardship, and contributions to the overall growth and development of the local economy. Winners represent both multinational and small-to-medium-sized enterprises. We have representatives of ACE alumni here with us today.

This anniversary year, the interagency team evaluated more than 60 ACE nominations. I want to thank your embassies who did such great work as an interagency team—we take this award really seriously. Our eleven ACE finalists, who were announced in September, are U.S. companies operating throughout the world, including Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Every one of the nominees is doing important work in helping the people in their host countries achieve a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities. That’s because these companies know that operating abroad involves more than just investing in buildings and equipment – it means investing in a country’s greatest resource – its people.

The ACE award speaks to Secretary Rice’s vision of transformational diplomacy. It redefines how we can use America’s economic toolkit to create a safer world where hunger is replaced by hope and frustration with opportunity. ACE winners, past and present, promote positive change through the vitality of public/private partnerships. They remind us that the best type of foreign assistance is one that helps people help themselves. ACE winners promote growth and prosperity in communities around the globe, leaving behind a long-term legacy with their best practices and American optimism.

This morning, the Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs, Reuben Jeffery III, will be presenting today’s awards on behalf of Secretary Rice. It gives me great pleasure to introduce Under Secretary Jeffery, who is not only my boss but a good friend and a great servant to the United States.

With a background in both the public and private sector, Under Secretary Jeffery advises the Secretary of State on international economic policy; and leads the work of the Department on issues ranging from trade, agriculture, and aviation to bilateral relations with America's economic partners. He is also the State Department's Coordinator for International Energy Affairs. Under Secretary Jeffery also chairs the interagency ACE principals’ Selection Committee which is both a challenging and rewarding position due to the tremendous competition for the ACE.

Before joining the State Department, Reuben served as Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for International Economic Affairs at the National Security Council; and as the Representative and Executive Director of the Coalition Provisional Authority Office (CPA) at the Pentagon. Prior to his government service, Reuben had a long and distinguished career in the private sector.

I am also pleased today that we are linking with U.S. Embassies to honor this year's winners. Now it is my honor to present to you Under Secretary of State Reuben Jeffrey and turn the program over to him.

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