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 You are in: Bureaus/Offices Reporting Directly to the Secretary > Policy Planning Staff > Secretary's Open Forum > Proceedings > 2003

Vital Voices of Hope at a Time of Global Challenge

Bill Keppler, Chairman, Open Forum
Washington, DC
May 22, 2003

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Distinguished guests, foreign affairs colleagues, ladies and gentlemen: Good morning, and welcome to the Secretary's Open Forum here at the State Department. My name is Bill Keppler, and I am the chairman. I want to begin by apologizing to everybody for the delay in getting you in. We are under Alert Orange security condition, which has complicated our logistic arrangements here. Nevertheless, your time and effort in getting here will be well awarded. Today's program is "Vital Voices of Hope at a Time of Global Challenge."

We are very proud to have with us today six individuals who have distinguished themselves in their areas of expertise and dedication. And while each one of them is different in terms of the area where they worked, the one thing they all do have in common is that they have distinguished themselves, and they have made a vital difference; we are very honored to have them with us today.

This program is being brought to you not only by the Open Forum but co-sponsored by the organization called Vital Voices, which is an organization dedicated to promoting women's roles in building strong democracies and vibrant economies around the world. And, also, this program is being supported today by our own Office of Civil Rights.

Now I'd like to tell you who our distinguished guests are today. We are very pleased to have with us today the State Department's own Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs, the Honorable Elizabeth Cheney. Also joining us is former Congresswoman Constance Morella. And we are very pleased to have with us the president of Vital Voices, Theresa Loar, who will be today's panel moderator. Joining Theresa on the panel will be three distinguished guests: Dr. Saisuree Chutikul from Thailand, Ms. Arije Al-Amad from Jordan, and Ms. Anabella de Leon from Guatemala.

And now, without further ado, I would like to introduce our first distinguished guest speaker, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs, the Honorable Elizabeth Cheney. (Applause.)


Released on June 2, 2003

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