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 You are in: Bureaus/Offices Reporting Directly to the Secretary > Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator > Press Room > Remarks and Presentations > 2006

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

Secretary Condoleezza Rice, Mrs. Laura Bush, Ambassador Mark R. Dybul
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.


MRS. BUSH: Thank you very much, Dr. Rice. Congratulations, Ambassador Dybul. As Global AIDS Coordinator, Mark will oversee the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, like Condi said, a five-year, $15 billion initiative that reflects our country's commitment to ending HIV/AIDS.

Mark has already made a huge difference as Acting, Deputy, and Assistant Global AIDS Coordinator. I've seen the results of his work as I've visited PEPFAR projects around the world -- from a program in Russia that helps HIV-positive children lead healthy lives, to South Africa's Mothers to Mothers-to-Be program, which helps HIV-positive pregnant women deliver babies free of HIV.

Secretary Rice mentioned Mark's long career in health policy, and how he brings immense experience and expertise to his new position. Yet what distinguishes Dr. Dybul is his creativity. For PEPFAR to succeed, its resources must be used wisely. And from the initiative's very beginning, Mark's innovation has helped widen PEPFAR's reach. He's ensured that HIV prevention programs are integrated with treatment and orphan care. He works with other federal agencies to streamline our development efforts, combining AIDS relief with economic assistance, food aid, and the work of the President's Malaria Initiative.

PEPFAR works with partner governments and local relief programs to develop effective treatment and prevention. But the challenges presented by HIV and AIDS are too great for governments to address alone. Mark brings together people of all political persuasions, of many nations and backgrounds, from governments and the private sector, to address a challenge that faces all of us. He's committed to working with businesses, foundations and individual philanthropists who have a tremendous interest in aiding the developing world.

In fact, just this year, thanks to Mark's leadership, I've announced two PEPFAR-related public-private partnerships. In March, the federal government joined several pharmaceutical companies to help them improve access to pediatric AIDS medicines, and to develop HIV therapies that are safe for children. Last month, at the Clinton Global Initiative, I announced the PlayPumps alliance, an initiative that will use children's merry-go-rounds to pump clean drinking water for 10 million sub-Saharan Africans by 2010.

Ambassador Dybul's leadership comes at a crucial time. Around the world, nearly 40 million people are infected with HIV or AIDS. But to Mark, those 40 million people are more than a statistic. In addition to his public health expertise, his leadership skills, and his creative policy work, Mark is first and foremost a physician. To Dr. Dybul, these 40 million people are individual patients, each deserving comfort, compassion and care, and a chance to lead healthy and happy lives.

Thank you, Mark, for bringing your compassion and care to your work as Global AIDS Coordinator. Thank you for being so helpful and accessible to the people you work with, including my staff. I know you'll bring great skill and enthusiasm to the fight against AIDS. Congratulations, Ambassador. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

AMBASSADOR DYBUL: Thank you, Mrs. Bush, for that kind introduction. And thank you for your extraordinary leadership and personal commitment to the global HIV/AIDS effort. You have touched the lives of so many on your trips and site visits. I have been privileged to see the persistent glow on the faces of those you have met on your travels. Your personal touch has so clearly demonstrated the compassion and generosity of the American people.

Secretary Rice, thank you for your early and forceful support of the President’s decision to commit America’s heart and treasure to the global fight against HIV/AIDS. And thank you for your continuing and unwavering support for the rapid roll-out of that historic commitment. As National Security Advisor and now as Secretary of State, you have been a key factor in PEPFAR’s success.

Thanks to the many distinguished guests here today from all walks of life who are partnering to turn the tide against global HIV/AIDS. We are honored to have with us several Ambassadors representing the people of the countries in which PEPFAR is privileged to work, and our own Ambassadors to some of those countries. And many thanks to family and friends who joined us today.

It is humbling and inspiring to be sworn in to succeed Ambassador Randy Tobias as the second U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. Randy’s leadership, management capabilities and personal style put the pieces in place to get the initiative off to a rapid start.

But today is not about an individual who fills a position. Today is a time to reflect on the extraordinary fact that there is such a position as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator at all.

It was only a little more than 3 years ago that President Bush changed the world with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. When the history of global public health is written, the launch of the largest international health initiative in history dedicated to a single disease will be remembered as one of the boldest and most important actions – ever.

As Dr. Peter Piot of UNAIDS has said, the commitment of $15 billion across 5 years changed the global landscape from millions of dollars to billions of dollars. More important than the quantum increase in dollars was the insistence that those dollars achieve results – that we meet aggressive prevention, treatment and care goals in a defined period of time.

But the billions of dollars, and the specific goals, as important as they are, can mask the deeper impact of PEPFAR, which can be measured in units of hope and faith:

Hope for and faith in the dedicated and talented people of the many countries in which we are so privileged to work through bilateral programs and the Global Fund. People who commit their lives every day to the service of their countrymen and women – working in governments, non-governmental organizations including faith- and community-based organizations, the private sector, and just friends and neighbors serving as volunteers or lending a helping hand -- all giving of themselves for others.

Hope for and faith in the compassion and generosity of the American people who, through the leadership of President Bush and the strong bipartisan support of Congress, are standing shoulder to shoulder with our global sisters and brothers in the battle against HIV/AIDS.

Hope for and faith in a better tomorrow for the people living every day with the ravages of this pandemic – those living with HIV infection and those who care for and bury loved ones, those orphaned by HIV/AIDS –  the whole communities living under the pall of the disease.

And this hope for and faith in people was justified.

Individuals, communities and nations are taking ownership of their lives and are beginning to turn the tide against the epidemic. Young men and women are choosing behaviors that protect them against infection or reduce their risk of acquiring it. When accurate information is provided, personal responsibility is taking hold.

We are beginning to see social norms change – a church that taught polygamy now teaches monogamy, young men are teaching their peers that men must respect women.

Health facilities are expanding rapidly to provide medical interventions for prevention, counseling and testing and compassionate care and treatment.

And many lives are being saved.

But PEPFAR does not stand alone. It is part of a broader vision for development based on hope for and faith in people. President Bush has led a renaissance in development with a focus on Africa, a renaissance based not only in a massive commitment of treasure, but in a change of heart. PEPFAR joins other Presidential initiatives – debt relief, enhancing and promoting trade, the Millennium Challenge Account, the President’s Malaria Initiative and the Africa Education Initiative – in changing the paradigm for development. We are rejecting the old and flawed “donor – recipient” approach and replacing it with “partnership.”

Partnership is rooted in hope for and faith in people. Partnership means honest relationships between equals based in mutual respect, understanding and trust, with obligations and responsibilities for each partner. Partnership is the foundation of PEPFAR’s success -- and of what Secretary Rice has called transformational diplomacy.

While there has been much success, much remains to be done. As President Bush said when he launched the Emergency Plan, “Seldom has history offered a greater opportunity to do so much for so many.”

So let us here today rededicate ourselves to serving our global sisters and brothers in need. Let us rededicate ourselves to the proposition beautifully stated by President Bush: that where you live should not determine if you live or die from HIV/AIDS. Let us rededicate ourselves to transforming the world through the promise of partnerships. There is no higher calling or nobler goal.

Working together, nothing is impossible.

Thank you.

Released on October 10, 2006

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