Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks this morning at the United States Institute of Peace headquarters groundbreaking ceremony. President Bush and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also spoke at the ceremony. Below are the Speaker's remarks, as prepared:
“I am honored to join with you today as we break ground for the permanent home for the United States Institute of Peace.
“In looking over this event's program, you may have read that this land was quarried for the rock that formed the foundation of both the United States Capitol and the White House.
“From this land, the foundations of democracy and freedom can be strengthened once again--when it becomes home to the U.S. Institute of Peace.
“We know this will be the case due to leadership of President Richard Solomon and Chairman J. Robinson West.
“Over the years, I have worked with Dr. Solomon. I know firsthand of his knowledge of America's leadership role in the world and how to work for peace.
“Robin West is an experienced executive and public servant who deserves our thanks and appreciation of his leadership of the USIP Board and for helping bring to fruition the dream of a permanent home for the Institute.
“I also want to express my appreciation to former Secretary of State George Shultz and Father Hesburgh for leading the building campaign.
“We thank Secretary Shultz for his long and distinguished service to our nation--from the United States Marine Corps all the way to the State Department.
“Father Hesburgh has been an untiring voice for peace and justice at home and abroad. As civil rights leader Andrew Young once said, ‘If Father Hesburgh was for you, you didn't care who was against you.'
“A warm June day such as today is reminiscent of one 45 years ago, when President John F. Kennedy delivered the commencement address at American University.
“In the last summer of a life that was much too short, President Kennedy spoke that day of the need to seek peace, even in the midst of the bitter Cold War.
“‘The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war,' Kennedy told the crowd assembled. ‘We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just.'
“Kennedy's words that day summarized his foreign policy. His mission, to build a world ‘where the weak are safe and the strong are just,' carries on today at the United States Institute of Peace.
“We can be confident that President Kennedy would look kindly upon the dedication of this new building and the work of those who will labor here.
“This institution's founding in 1984 followed along the same path that President Kennedy set with the Peace Corps, the Agency for International Development, Food for Peace, and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
“The Institute of Peace has played a key role in helping to find peaceful solutions from South Africa to Rwanda to Kosovo to Sudan. The Institute of Peace represents the best of what the American people can offer to the world.
“As a former member of the House Appropriations Committee, I am proud to have supported funding for the Institute through the years.
“The peace we seek today is not unlike that described by a young president on that June day so long ago.
“‘Not,' as President Kennedy said, ‘a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war…” but, “the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, and the kind that enables men and nations to grow, and to hope, and build a better life for their children--not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women, not merely peace in our time but peace in all time.'
“In a world torn by strife, infected by deprivation, and searching for peace, the words of President Kennedy remain our hope for humanity today.
“Thankfully, we have the U.S. Institute of Peace to help move us toward a more respectful, a more generous, and a more peaceful world.”