The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
Remarks by the President in a Toast at APEC Leaders Dinner
Hale Koa Hotel
November 12, 2011
7:43 P.M. HAST
THE PRESIDENT: Well, good evening, everyone. Please have a seat.
Aloha. On behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to Hawaii. And on behalf of the American people, welcome to the United States.
We have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow, and we have a luau tonight, including hula dancing. So I want to be brief.
We are 21 leaders from across the Asia Pacific. We represent close to 3 billion people, from different continents and cultures; North, South, East and West; men and women of every faith, color and creed.
Yet whatever our differences, our citizens have sent us here with a common task: to bring our economies closer together, to cooperate, to create jobs and prosperity that our people deserve so that they can provide for their families, so that they can give their children a better future.
And so it was America’s turn to host APEC, and I could not imagine a more fitting place than my home state of Hawaii. Here, we are literally in the center of the Pacific. Here, we’re reminded of the progress that’s possible when people of different backgrounds and beliefs come together. This is the most diverse state in our nation, home to so many races and immigrants and Americans who trace their roots back to many of your countries.
Hawaii is not perfect, but I think Hawaii comes about as close as you’ll come to a true melting pot of cultures, where people live and work together in mutual trust and mutual respect.
Here, we’re a single ‘ohana -- one family. We remember that beneath the surface, behind all the different languages and some very long names, we all share the same hopes, the same struggles and the same aspirations. And we’ve learned that we’re more likely to realize our aspirations when we pursue them together.
That’s the spirit of Hawaii. It’s what made me who I am. It’s what shapes my interactions with all of you. And it’s the spirit that I hope guides us in our work this weekend.
And so I’d like to propose a toast with the words of a traditional Hawaiian proverb: A’ohe hana nui ke alu ‘ia. And that means, no task is too big when done together by all.
Cheers. Salud. Everybody enjoy the evening.
7:47 P.M. HAST