George P. Shultz Receives George C. Marshall AwardHenrietta H. Fore, Acting Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and Acting USAID Administrator
Remarks at Fourth Annual George C. Marshall Awards Ceremony
San Francisco, California
September 17, 2007
Thank you all so much for such a warm welcome. It might be helpful for me to begin by briefly describing the origins of the United States Agency for International Development or USAID as so many know us throughout the developing world. It is an agency that I lead and its mission is a simple one:
USAID is the U.S. Government's lead foreign assistance agency promoting peace and stability, economic growth, health, education, nurturing democracy and freedom, and providing humanitarian assistance in developing countries. These efforts improve the lives of millions of people around the world. They represent our nation's values and advance our interests by building a safer, more stabile and prosperous world.
Now, the ancestry of USAID goes back to the Marshall Plan and its reconstruction of a devastated Europe after World War II. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed the Foreign Service Act into law and formally created USAID by executive order. Tonight we honor a great American who has done a tremendous amount to help America's strategic interests around the world.
I am pleased to present the Honorable George P. Shultz with the Agency's highest honor, the George C. Marshall Lecture Series Award on International Development.
Each year, USAID presents this award to individuals whose ideals most closely embody those of General George C. Marshall and who have made outstanding contributions to international peace, stability, and development. George P. Shultz joins the list of past honorees which includes such luminaries as
Dr. Norman Borlaug, Dr. Amartya Sen, and Congressman Jim Kolbe, as well as this year's co-recipient, the Honorable Lawrence Eagleburger, who received his award in a ceremony in Washington D.C. in August.
As a war-time General, George C. Marshall helped lead this country and the Allied Nations to victory over Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
Marshall the Diplomat was the architect of the $16.2-billion Economic Recovery Program for a war-devastated Europe, known as the Marshall Plan. This was the first time in history that victors in war set out to rebuild the vanquished and engage their former enemies as friends and allies.
The Marshall Plan changed the course of history for mankind. In rebuilding Europe, it enabled Western democracies to face down a new totalitarian threat and became the foundation for the current unification of the continent. USAID traces its origins to General Marshall and this historic moment.
Now let us turn to this historic moment. George Shultz, as this year's recipient, has had a remarkable career of public service.
He served as President Richard Nixon's Secretary of Labor from 1969 to 1970, after which he was Director of the Office of Management and Budget. He then became Secretary of the Treasury from May 1972 to May 1974. On July 16, 1982, he re-entered government service when he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the 60th U.S. Secretary of State. He has distinguished himself as a scholar, a business leader, and a statesman of the highest order.
It is thanks to men like George C. Marshall and George P. Shultz that Europe today stands whole and free.
If George C. Marshall was the architect behind this amazing transformation, George P. Shultz was the statesman that helped bring this work to conclusion.
President Ronald Reagan reminded us all of the value of freedom, as well as its fragility. With its blessings come responsibilities. He said: "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."
George P. Shultz is such a freedom fighter. In the decade when he was Secretary of State, the number of countries that were classified as 'free' or 'mostly free' increased by about 50%. The fact that democracy is more firmly anchored in today's world is thanks to leaders like this year's honoree, George P. Shultz.
Before concluding, I want to make it clear that George P. Shultz's service to his country did not end with his tenure as Secretary of State. He is currently a distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institute where he writes on cutting-edge issues facing the country and the world. And we continue to profit from his wisdom, experience and counsel.
On a personal note, he has been our counselor during this Administration for the President's Management Council, of which I am a part. And he has left us a legacy in the George Shultz Foreign Service Institute. And Secretary Shultz will be glad to know we have been focusing on "Distance Learning" so our people can be learning in Mongolia or Mozambique, in Afghanistan or Argentina.
Just last week, Secretary Shultz addressed the nation in a syndicated editorial on ways that the United States can forge a strategic consensus on climate change. He speaks of our responsibility as global citizens and our responsibility as Americans to reduce our dependency on imported oil.
Few have had as distinguished a career as Secretary of State George C. Marshall, but George P. Shultz is one of them. Today we salute their spirit and legacy.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my distinct honor to welcome Secretary George P. Shultz to the podium to be conferred the USAID's 2007 George C. Marshall Lecture Series Award on International Development.