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Programs and Events 2010

Secretary Clinton Speaks with Bahraini Youth

Secretary Clinton with Bahraini Youth (courtesy of Bahrain News Agency)

During her visit to Bahrain on December 2-3, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton participated in a discussion with approximately 300 Bahraini youth at a "town hall" event at the Bahrain National Museum.  Bahraini students, young civil society activists and government leaders, members of youth societies, alumni of academic exchange programs to the U.S., and others spent an hour asking the Secretary questions on issues ranging from democratic political development, women's empowerment, internet and press freedom, and U.S. foreign policy in the Gulf.

When asked about her impressions of Bahrain, Secretary Clinton said, "I am very impressed by the progress that Bahrain is making on all fronts - economically, politically, socially.  There is a very comprehensive vision of where the people and the government of Bahrain are headed. I know that there are still challenges as there are in any society.  I come from a country that has made a lot of changes over the course of our existence, and we have continued to push the boundaries of opportunity to include more and more people."

"I know when you're in the midst of societies that are as dynamic as Bahrain is, with so many changes happening, that it's easy to be very focused internally and see the glass as half empty.  I see the glass as half full.  I think the changes that are happening in Bahrain are much greater than what I see in many other countries in the region and beyond." 

 In response to a question about where she sees Bahrain in the next 20 years, Secretary Clinton responded, "I hope that you are as positive and optimistic and results-oriented as I see you are today.  I hope you have made even more progress on the path of democracy.  I hope you are in a region where your neighbors all get along with each other and that there is a commitment to a peaceful future for everyone.  I hope that the brain power that resides here in Bahrain is put to work on solving scientific and research problems and creating new job opportunities so that everyone here has a chance to make a contribution.  I hope that parliament is among the best in the world and people are actually solving problems and not just engaging in politics and rhetoric, but really coming together to figure out what to do with each other.  And I hope that the United States and Bahrain remain, as we have been for decades now, close friends and partners."

In addition to the town hall event with youth, Secretary Clinton attended a luncheon hosted by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and met Crown Prince Shaikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.  Secretary Clinton also met with Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and discussed regional security issues and other matters of mutual interest with an important partner and friend in the Gulf.  Lastly, Secretary Clinton participated in the seventh annual Manama Dialogue hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).  She delivered a special address to a crowd of more than 600 delegates, and reaffirmed the U.S. government's commitment to advancing security and cooperation in the Gulf region.