2021 Speeches

Speeches Shim

Last updated: January 20, 2022

January 26, 2022

Ken devoted decades of his life to public service; yet when we came calling, he decided he still had more left to give, and agreed to step in as interim Counselor. Ken’s colleagues have been awed by how much time and energy he gives to his family, so we know, to give up time he could be spending with his grandchildren is no small favor. I asked Ken to take on this role not only because of his years of institutional knowledge and indispensable experience, but because every person I spoke with celebrated his leadership, character, and warmth.

January 25, 2022

As many have said today, human trafficking—the second largest criminal industry in the world, after the drug trade—affects 25 million people each year. But today I want to start by talking about one person, who has given us permission to share his story: Saiful Islam. 

January 24, 2022

When COVID-19 struck during Ryan’s last post as Mission Director in Indonesia, he naturally had to usher in rapid, destabilizing changes: a dramatic shift to telework, painful ordered departures for family members, and a reinvigorated push on public health. During that time, Ryan held regular town halls to update Mission staff on the response to the pandemic. And he kept spirits up, sharing inspirational videos and checking in to see how staff were coping. Due in no small part to Ryan’s persistence, even in the midst of the pandemic, in July of 2020 the Government of Indonesia agreed to a major framework with USAID to strengthen democracy, reduce poverty, and fuel economic growth. One of his colleagues sums it up best: “Ryan led the mission through the threat of a government shutdown, through budget cuts and dramatic priority shifts, and we always came out on top and, in fact, stronger.”

January 22, 2022

Today, Bosnia and Herzegovina finds itself at yet another crossroads. And the durability of its 26 years of peace are being called into question. Investigative journalists I met with yesterday spoke about the fear people across Bosnia and Herzegovina are feeling about the potential for increasing division and instability. I also spoke with a group of survivors of wartime detention camps, all from different ethnic backgrounds, all incredibly resilient and dedicated to reconciliation, but deeply concerned by the current political crisis. Deeply concerned about divisive rhetoric and believing that their experiences and their telling of their experiences, particularly the young people, offer a reminder that this country can never go back. Young leaders, public servants I spoke with yesterday also expressed how much they love their country, but openly worried for its future, and they described the cynicism that so many people have about politicians.

January 21, 2022

I would like to thank both Minister Djapo and Minister Gašić for their leadership, for their welcome of me to their country, and for their close collaboration with USAID and the dedication that they bring to growing tourism in this country everyday. I would also like to thank Justin Reid and Tripadvisor for their partnership with USAID’s Turizam project, and their commitment to promoting the beauty of Bosnia and Herzegovina.