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Remarks at Stand for Africa Event Honoring Malaria No More

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
March 12, 2008

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very, very much. And I want to thank my friend, the incomparable Rima Al-Sabah for that kind introduction. You and Ambassador Al-Sabah are just really wonderful and gracious hosts in this terrific room. You make us all feel like family, so thank you for that. And you contribute so much to the strong relationship that our two nations enjoy. I want to thank you, too, for your leadership and our shared efforts to ensure that a life of health and opportunity is open to all people.

Members of the diplomatic corps, members of Congress, fellow cabinet members, ladies and gentlemen, I’m really honored to join you here this evening for such a worthy cause, to support the global effort to defeat malaria and to support the good work that is being done to that end by Malaria No More. I want to thank John Bridgeland and his organization for their work and to say that John with whom I worked at the White House for a while is a really wonderful person. He’s a person of skill, of integrity, but most importantly of compassion. And so John, thank you for your work. (Applause.)

During President Bush’s term, the U.S. Government is doing more than ever to lead the global fight against malaria. And in that fight we’ve had no better trooper than our First Lady. Thank you so much, First Lady. (Applause.) I’ve seen your passion and I’ve seen your conviction, and you’ve brought this to this cause and you’ve worked tirelessly to mobilize the resources and the goodwill of the American people. And I’ve been proud to work with you, Mrs. Bush. I’m – more importantly, I’m proud to call you my friend.

Now, in that work, the First Lady has, of course, been an ideal partner for those of us in the diplomatic corps who are working to spread the compassion of America. But, because behind every great woman, there’s a great man -- (laughter) -- and I’m very proud that President Bush was able to join us earlier. And let me just say that I’m also honored to serve an American leader who is really mobilizing the – not just the power of America, but the compassion of America for such noble purposes.

It was the President’s vision that led to a $1.2 billion Malaria Initiative, which is being led by Admiral Tim Ziemer, who is joining us here tonight. So often, the most monumental and wonderful actions begin with simple questions and that is the story behind this Malaria Initiative. The President asked, at a time of such growing prosperity and such global good fortune, why are millions and millions of our fellow human beings dying from a disease that can be prevented with something as simple as a well-covered place to sleep. The President has spoken about this program. And the many people whose lives it is touching, some of whom, as the First Lady mentioned, we had an opportunity to meet on our visit to Africa last month.

What I would like to do is to offer a few thoughts to you as to why we are engaged in this fight against malaria. We in the United States realize the stakes that we have and the success of the peoples and the nations of our world. We’ve seen the devastation that diseases, like malaria, can sow across entire continents. We’ve seen how this killer can rob children of their parents, parents of their children, and countries of their future. We’ve seen the interests that American people have in building an international community where no nation, no matter how large or how small, how wealthy or how poor, is hollowed out and destabilized by disease. And so we understand that eradicating malaria is in the interest of all responsible nations in the 21st century.

But we lead the fight against this disease for a more compelling reason and that’s because it’s the right thing to do and because as America we can. In the face of such cruel and needless suffering, we are blessed with power and plenty and we have a moral responsibility to act. We will not be able to help save every life, but we will save some lives, and that will mean everything for that one extra child who will grow up with a mother or a father, or the parents who will see their sons or daughters live to start families of their own.

We seek to defeat this disease because we believe in a revolutionary idea that is neither American nor Western, but universal, that the life of the child suffering from malaria in Africa is equal in worth and dignity to the life of all human beings, regardless of race or religion, class or culture, whether they are a citizen of the United States, the President of the United States, or a child in Africa.

This effort unites the civilized nations of the world. It unites the public sphere and the private sector, and that is why I’m so glad to join you here tonight in your support for Malaria No More. And for all of you who are working to prevail against this disease, to make it possible that perhaps no child would ever die of this disease, I want to thank you for your compassion. I want to thank you for your commitment and I want to say to all of you that if we work together for however long it takes, it is a dream that is realizable, a world in which malaria is truly no more.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)


Released on March 13, 2008

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