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Girl be Heard Perform at the Graduate Institute in Geneva

Opening Remarks by Ambassador Hamamoto at Girl Be Heard Performance

The Graduate Institute, Geneva
Thursday, November 19, 2015

Good evening!  Wow, what a great turnout!  Thank you all for coming to this special performance by the New York theater group Girl Be Heard!

A big thank you to our host, the Graduate Institute, and of course, to our performers.

Their ambition is simple yet powerful.  It is to empower young women to become brave, confident, and socially conscious leaders.

They have the ambition and the vision to create a world for young women to find strength, to realize their potential, and to rise above their circumstances and society’s expectations of them.

This is exactly what we at the U.S. Mission envisioned earlier this year when we launched a new, cross-cutting initiative called The Future She Deserves creating such a world.

And having you all here tonight is exactly what we envisioned when we started thinking about how through this initiative we could use what makes Geneva unique – its unique collection of diplomats, policy makers, specialists, business leaders, research institutes, and civil society – how to use what makes Geneva unique to foster innovative ways of collaborating that would unleash new opportunities for women and girls around the world.

That’s why we’re all here tonight.  For all the women who continue to face discrimination simply because of their gender.

And I’m happy to report that this International Geneva community is really coming together around these important gender issues.

In fact, inspired by the Future She Deserves, and in partnership with the US Mission, UNOG and Women@TheTable, just last month, almost 70 ambassadors and heads of international organizations signed on as Geneva Gender Champions, a new leadership network committed to promoting gender equality.

And already, these inaugural Gender Champions are driving real change in the way we engage on issues and in the support we provide to women in our organizations.

Maya Angelou — a famous civil rights activist and one of America’s most acclaimed poets – used to say that people will sometimes forget what you said or what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

I can guarantee that these young women will make you feel their vulnerabilities, the challenges they face, and even their despair.

But you will also feel their hope and dreams, their resilience and optimism, their energy and their power.

They’ve come together for different reasons and from different backgrounds.  And they represent different cultures, even if they are all uniquely American.

These young women are here to give a voice to all the women who too often are reduced to silence.

They are here to inspire us to break down barriers, to force us out of our comfort zone,to challenge us to re-double our efforts, and to motivate us to find solutions.

So sit back and listen closely, because these girls deserve to be heard!

Thank you and enjoy the performance!