AMBASSADOR GALT: Deputy Foreign Minister Battsetseg, distinguished guests, International Republican Institute and World Learning colleagues, LEAD fellows, and friends of the United States and Mongolia – welcome.
I am delighted to join Deputy Foreign Minister Battsetseg at this Leaders Advancing Democracy Alliance Summit to highlight the achievements of Mongolia’s best and brightest emerging leaders.
I am also excited to welcome their counterparts from Kyrgyzstan, Burma, and Bhutan.
This year we celebrate 30 years of U.S.-Mongolia bilateral relations.
Throughout the United States’ three decades of partnership with Mongolia, we have supported Mongolia’s development in a range of areas.
We have provided technical assistance through organizations like the International Republican Institute, which this year marks its 25thanniversary in Mongolia and has worked with the legislative and executive branches of government at the national and local levels, Mongolia’s wide range of political parties, and numerous civil society organizations.
We have expanded exchanges through the House Democracy Partnership and the Open World Leadership Center, which support engagement between legislatures.
We have also expanded academic and cultural exchanges, including through the Fulbright Program for advanced study in the United States and the Future Leaders Exchange Program for high school students, which is new this year.
We have worked to build people-to-people ties through programs like the Peace Corps, whose volunteers have worked across Mongolia teaching English, promoting public health, and building communities.
We have backed initiatives to advance human rights, combat domestic violence, halt child labor and trafficking in persons, empower women and girls, and improve health and education.
We have sought to spur economic growth and reduce poverty, expand our commercial ties, increase access to energy, and fight air pollution.
And we have worked to build military capabilities, enhance peacekeeping capacity, and strengthen disaster response and humanitarian assistance efforts.
In my view, to ensure Mongolia builds on its remarkable achievements and remains a leader among emerging democracies, it is important that the country’s young people and democracy advocates have a voice in the democratic process.
Through the LEAD-Mongolia program, the United States has strived to support young leaders’ efforts and build their capacity to participate effectively in Mongolia’s democracy while promoting Mongolia’s story of peaceful democratic transition.
Now, through this LEAD Alliance Summit, we seek to expand connections among opinion shapers and democratic decision makers across the Asia Pacific region.
Many of you are in a uniquely different position than the democracy advocates of the previous generation.
Many of you have lived most of your lives under a democratic form of government or experienced a democratic transition.
You have the advantage of that history and are now charged with upholding and sustaining the democratic tradition: to defend it, advance it, and make sure other young people are engaged in it.
In my work in Mongolia and in public service throughout the world, I have had the privilege of speaking with many young people who are dedicated to ensuring a bright future for their countries.
You are an incredibly motivated, patriotic, inspirational group of emerging leaders.
You represent different fields and different interests.
You represent different paths of life and different ideas.
Yet you share the resolve to push forward your country’s democratic future and the desire to see your country succeed.
As LEAD Alliance fellows, you form a unique group of emerging leaders who will continue to advance democracy in the coming years.
At the conclusion of this summit, you will be one step closer to having the skills, knowledge, and networks needed to engage constructively with your government and community organizations, as well as with other key institutions in your countries to bring about positive change.
I want to thank the International Republican Institute and World Learning for their commitment to the LEAD Alliance.
I am also thankful for the extraordinary partnership between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Embassy, as we commemorate 30 years of positive, productive relations – including through this summit.
I also want to share a personal message with the Mongolia LEAD Fellows whom I have had the pleasure to get to know over the past several months.
You are an amazing group who inspire me every day.
I know when I see you in action, when I hear you speak, and when I see you engage with other young leaders, that the future of Mongolia is in very good hands.
Thank you for LEADing the way.
I look forward to seeing the outcomes of this four-day event, and I very much look forward to engaging with you at our celebratory dinner on Friday evening.