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Remarks With Chilean Foreign Minister Alejandro Foxley

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Santiago, Chile
March 14, 2008

FOREIGN MINISTER FOXLEY: (Via interpreter.) Well, I’d like to thank your attendance, the presence of the media on the occasion of the visit of the U.S. Secretary of State, Mrs. Condoleezza Rice. First and foremost, I would like to thank the presence of Secretary Rice in Chile. She has had a very busy working day and travelling, uninterruptedly in the past five or six weeks. She has been in Africa, Asia, Middle East, and we sincerely appreciate her coming to Chile, especially to move forward a very positive, innovative agenda that I think will bring about tremendous hope of improving opportunities for Chile – for people in Chile, but also for Latin America.

Today, we’ve held several meetings, one bilateral meeting with Secretary Rice. It has been most fruitful. We have gone over our bilateral relationship. Also, we have shared views and made an analysis of what is happening in Latin America and how we can strengthen the joint work in the region so as to strengthen a democracy with strong, robust institutions and particularly to generate more dynamic pathway to development – more all-inclusive, including marginal sectors with social protection. As you know, it is a key objective of the administration of President Bachelet.

We’ve concurred with the need of promoting cooperation initiatives in the region. Chile, in spite of being a small country, I must say that we have practically 100 programs of cooperation, 100 cooperation programs in Latin America, mainly in the least developed areas and where there is people living in poverty conditions. This is done by Chile and Central American, Caribbean countries, also in some neighboring countries. And we want to continue having a very significant presence in the region. We want the region to feel as close to each and everyone because in the end – at the end of the day, the purpose of the foreign policy of President Bachelet is to work in the region, with the region so as to have greater integration and to be more successful in distributing correctly and well distributing the benefits of development.

I’d like to say that we have agreed with the Government of the United States on a program that I believe is going to be most attractive and innovative. We will partner with the state of California in what we have called partnership for the 21st century. Why California? Well, California is a part of the United States that has conditions – it has a situation that’s very similar to Chile insofar as it’s a physical space, geography, natural resources of weather and it’s a coastline in the Pacific. California is the eighth economy in the world insofar as per capita GDP; it’s equivalent to France.

But especially, if we compare this internationally, it is the center of greatest innovation, creativity so as to generate new technologies and find pioneers, solutions and cooperation modalities between government, states, industries and talents that are in the research center. Chile had a partnership experience with California in the ‘60s. Now we want to renew it, but vis-à-vis the 21st century. And hopefully, we hope to bring together associations, nongovernmental institutions of Chile and California.

We’ve just held a very interesting meeting with the presidents of universities of Chile and also individuals from the private sector, businessmen who have been most successful in promoting and creating innovation areas and also foundations that have accompanied Chile along this process. Well, the idea is that they get actively involved in this program, the government of the United States and of Chile will be the catalysts solely for this effort.

Governor Schwarzenegger has sent us – yesterday sent a letter to Secretary Rice and to me – that is, to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile – not only expressing the willingness and readiness to move this program ahead, but already with some specific exchange ideas. We will advise the Governor to come to Chile with a group of businessmen and scientists and hopefully, we will visit California at some point, for this program to be a true example of what must be done or should be done in countries that are in an intermediate level of development and have and want innovation so as to give a leap ahead insofar as generating more knowledge-based economy and intelligence-based society.

And with this, I conclude. The basis for this collaboration with the Government of the United States and California is to open up opportunity, especially to the youth, to the talented youth in this country that maybe, historically, they’ve been discriminated against due to their socioeconomic origin, because they were born in a remote area, because they don’t master the English or the – any other language and however, they do have a talent. We would like them to feel that based on this program, on this equal opportunities program that is already underway for a hundred young persons who will have their Ph.D.’s in the United States, we want this program to open up a big, broad channel to tell them, look, the -- your professional development has no ceiling, no limit, and you will be able to interact with the best scientists of the United States, with the best universities and the most creative companies.

I’d like to conclude, Condi, by expressing very personal and special recognition and appreciation to the interest, the enthusiasm, the shared vision we’ve had with – of Secretary Rice when we mentioned this to her last year. Condoleezza Rice is a person of outstanding talent. She faces the world as a world class figure in world policy. However, when we gave this message of going back to your roots, to your education, education for human development, I must say that Condoleezza Rice right away, immediately said this is a way forward and this is something very concrete, the materialization of that.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you so much, Minister Foxley -- Alejandro. Thank you so much for welcoming me here in this wonderful country. We have indeed today had a great opportunity to review two initiatives that you brought to me in a meeting that we had in the United States, I think less than a year ago. And what is quite remarkable is that very often there are good ideas that just remain good ideas. And this time, we have good ideas that are actually becoming a reality.

I'm very pleased that the equal opportunity fellowships program that you and I began, which is a program to reach out to perhaps marginalized students here in Chile, who are clearly smart and are clearly trying to do the best that they can, but perhaps don't have access to English language training and, therefore, there's quickly a barrier as to how far they can go perhaps in studying in some of the best universities in the United States. To give them that language training now and to give them an opportunity to be admitted to great international education is something that's very special, because when you have opportunity for education the horizons are limitless. I'm a great believer myself that the most wonderful thing that a democracy can do is to provide equal educational opportunity to its children. Not equality as an outcome, nobody can ensure an outcome. But what you can do is to make certain that it really only matters where you're going, not where you came from.

And so I'm very proud of this program and I look forward to many years of its operation. And I want to thank everyone in the Chilean Government and the U.S. Government, but also in the private sector here in non-governmental organizations and in the United States that have been working to put this program in place. And I understand that there are 70 or so young students who are already taking advantage.

It is equally exciting to talk about the Chile-California partnership, because not only is California now my home state, but it is a state that is well known for its innovation and for its educational institutions and for its economic strength. I said to the Minister and to those who were assembled, that one of the great strengths of the United States is actually -- nothing much really does happen in Washington when it comes to what makes the country go -- that it really is the great states that have been the drivers of innovation and of economic growth. And so seeing a partnership between Chile and California is very exciting.

And I was really -- it was quite remarkable to sit in this room with these university heads and captains of industry and of non-governmental organizations, many of whom -- this generation that is now leading in Chile -- have been beneficiaries of the last time that California and Chile partnered to -- largely in the agricultural sector, to produce the kind of innovation and know-how that was the take-off point for Chile's great agricultural successes. And so it only is fitting that there would be another opportunity for Chile and California to cooperate and collaborate in that way.

We've also had a chance to talk about the bilateral agenda and the regional agenda. But what's really exciting about being in Chile is that this is a country where the embrace of the entrepreneur of free markets, of open markets, of free trade is really having benefit now. And you see it in the growth in the Chilean economy, but that isn't enough. And what is really great about the program of President Bachelet, with whom I'll meet later, is that Chile is also determined that those economic benefits are going to be there for people across the economic sector, that social inclusion, social justice is a very big part of what the President wants to do for this country.

And I know, perhaps as well as anyone, that democracy is great. But democracies can only succeed if all of their people really believe that they are included in democracy. And it takes work. It takes work beyond the ballot box. It takes work beyond political inclusion. It takes work beyond the political voice to make real opportunity possible for each and every citizen. And that's why it's exciting to be here in Chile, because you are embracing the same values and the same beliefs that we hold in the United States, the same devotion to upward mobility and social inclusion. And it's just great to be your partner in all of that. (Applause.)


Released on March 15, 2008

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