Opening of the Lincoln Corner Kuala LumpurKaren Hughes,
Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
Mr. Sariffuddin Bin Ibrahim, Director of Administration, Kuala Lumpur City Council
Kuala Lumpur City Library
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
October 23, 2005
MR. SIMON D'CRUZ (Master of Ceremonies): The Honorable Ambassador Karen Hughes, Under Secretary for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy; the Honorable Ambassador Christopher LaFleur, U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia; Encik Sariffuddin Ibrahim, Director of Administration, Dewan Bandaraya; Puan Rosidah Ismail, Chief Librarian, Perpustakaan Kuala Lumpur; members of the press; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. A very good morning to you, and welcome to the official opening of the Lincoln Corner in Kuala Lumpur.
To begin our program this morning, we’d like to invite Encik Sariffuddin Ibrahim, Director of Administration of Dewan Bandaraya, to say a few words. (Applause)
MR. SARIFFUDDIN: Bismillahnirahmanirahim Assalamualaikum wabarakatuh. Your Excellency, Under Secretary Ms. Karen Hughes; your Excellency, Ambassador Christopher LaFleur, Tuan-Tuan; Datuk-Datuk; Datin-Datin; ladies and gentlemen.
On behalf of the mayor of Kuala Lumpur, I wish everybody a very good morning and a warm welcome to all of you. As you know, the mayor is not in town today. He is in Mecca, performing the pilgrimage – this is the Ramadan month. It is a great pleasure for me to be here this morning to jointly officiate the opening ceremony of Lincoln’s Corner Kuala Lumpur. Dewan City Library, Perpustakaan Kuala Lumpur, or Kuala Lumpur Library, is geared towards the creation of a knowledge-based society. We are trying as much as possible to accommodate the need for information for all walks of life, and the cooperation of Kuala Lumpur Library and Lincoln’s Resource Center is one way to accommodate the needs.
One should be fascinated by the enthusiasm and efforts of the former President Abraham Lincoln in his searching for education, and how his reading habit had enabled him to change his life and that of others as well. We hope the people of Kuala Lumpur will incorporate Lincoln’s spirit in their journey to fulfilling their quest for knowledge.
Lincoln’s Corner is a place where a special collection of information from the United States of America are made available to all state libraries in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur Library had been the fourth library to cooperate with Lincoln’s Resource center after Melacca, Sabah, Sarawak, and I was told that Terengganu and Kelantan was already in the list. Kuala Lumpur Library has about 905 titles in book form, 40 titles of magazines and journals, and about 23 videotapes. I’m sure the collection will grow bigger in the years to come. Lincoln’s Corner Kuala Lumpur is also furnished with an electronic database, a computer, a webcam, and a television as a setup and a means of getting the latest information from the United States almost immediately.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to urge the people of Kuala Lumpur, especially the library and patrons, to fully utilize this invaluable information, resources, as a step to expose themselves to new knowledge and opportunities … to be enlightened with newer perspectives of the world.
Lastly, I would like to thank the American Embassy for their effort and contribution in initiating Lincoln’s Corner Kuala Lumpur in Kuala Lumpur Library. I hope this cooperation will continue for many years to come. Your Excellency, Ambassador Karen Hughes, thank you very much for coming despite your tight schedule. I hope you have had a very fruitful discussion with various counterparts and organization that you have had and yet to make during your short visit to Malaysia.
Last but not least, to all librarians and staff of Kuala Lumpur Library and Lincoln’s Resource Center for their efforts in making this event possible. Let us all hope that Lincoln’s Corner Kuala Lumpur will be a window for all Kuala Lumpur people for the future of a great civilization and human achievement, and where understanding, care and tolerance will prevail.
I thank you all. Wassalamualaikum warahmatullah and thank you very much. (Applause)
MR. D’CRUZ: Thank you, Encik Sariffuddin. Ladies and gentlemen, before I call upon our special U.S. guest to deliver her remarks, a brief introduction. Ambassador Karen Hughes is Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the U.S. State Department. She was nominated by President George W. Bush on the 29th of June, 2005 to serve in this portfolio. As Under Secretary, Ambassador Hughes leads efforts to improve America’s dialogue with the rest of the world. She participates in policy development and oversees three bureaus at the State Department, namely Educational and Cultural Affairs, Public Affairs, and International Information Programs. Under Secretary Karen Hughes, once again, welcome to Kuala Lumpur, welcome to Malaysia. It’s an honor to have you here with us. Now we’d like to invite you to say a few words.
UNDER SECRETARY HUGHES: Selamat pagi. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Sariffuddin for your warm welcome this morning. Mr. Ambassador, thank you for giving me the honor of opening this Lincoln Corner. I can’t really think of a better place to open a Lincoln Corner than in a public library. Americans love our public libraries; obviously Malaysians are very proud of yours, and this is a beautiful facility. President and Mrs. Bush are especially fond of libraries, because Mrs. Bush was a public school librarian when the President met and married her, and so he hears from her a lot about the importance of libraries and learning.
One of the many things that Americans and Malaysians share is a love for books and learning and education. Education and access to books are so important to opening minds and to helping people understand each other and to live together in a spirit of mutual tolerance and cooperation and respect.
We now have six Lincoln Centers operating throughout Malaysia, and we’re delighted to open one here in the capital city. Lincoln Corners bring a little piece of America to the people of Malaysia. They offer the opportunity – so far, we’ve donated more than 1,000 books in total, and other library materials – if you look around, you’ll see a computer and DVD and digital video teleconferencing. And I have brought with me today an additional gift for the people of Malaysia. It’s a special collection called “The Library of America”. It’s more than 100 books and tapes, which includes some of America’s best writings, bound in volumes that will last for a long period of time. These feature America’s foremost novelists, historians, poets, essayists, philosophers, and statesmen - and of course, front and center, one of our most-loved and greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln.
I thought it would be appropriate for me to quote from him. He was, as you mentioned, a great lover of books and a prolific writer, and some of his writings are in this book right up front. And one of the things he said is that a capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. It is the key, or one of the keys, to already-solved problems, and gives a relish and facility for successfully pursuing the yet-unsolved ones.
So I hope that this Lincoln Corner can become a bridge of better understanding between the people of America and the people of Malaysia, and that it can help future leaders of both of our countries work in friendship to solve the unsolved problems that face the world today.
So, thank you all so much for being here on a Sunday morning and joining us, and thank you for being here for this great occasion, on behalf of both of our countries. Thank you so much. (Applause)
Released on November 2, 2005