New York, NY
Thank you, Nick. It’s wonderful to see you again! I was hoping to join all of you on Monday, however, the President and I traveled to the United Kingdom for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth the II. Still, it was important to me to be a part of this event. So thank you for welcoming me back today.
You know, when we were in London, I was so moved to be a part of this historic moment. You could feel the love of her people in their outpouring of sorrow. At one point, as we watched the mourners, I saw a little boy in a boy scout uniform. He was so young. But as he passed, he put up his three fingers and he gave the Queen a final salute.
When I saw that, my breath caught in my throat. It was such a small gesture that said so much about what she meant to the people of her country, no matter their age. And it wasn’t just her people. Leaders from around the world came together to honor a life of public service—and I was thankful to be a part of it.
I’ve felt that immense gratitude more than once as First Lady—especially as I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world and get to know leaders and the people they represent. From Japan to Ecuador to Ukraine, I’ve been reminded that our differences are precious—and our similarities infinite. On those trips, there have been some who ask me why:
Why meet with HIV patients in Panama?
Why meet with Wounded Warriors in the United Kingdom?
Why visit refugees in Romania?
It is tempting to believe that “other people’s” problems are theirs to solve alone. But if we’ve learned anything from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that we’re connected to each other.
We saw how a deadly virus can move through the world. How hunger and violence are woven together. How the loss of trees in the rainforest takes a piece of the future from all of us.
Injustice and corruption. Poverty and pollution. Disease and despair. They aren’t contained by borders.
But when doctors and clinics have what they need, deadly diseases can be stopped before they spread.
When one nation embraces democracy, it becomes the living proof that governments can deliver for the people that they represent—inspiring others to follow their lead.
When parents don’t have to worry about how they will feed their families, children can learn and grow and become the leaders and innovators that we need.
Yes, we’re connected. That’s why this summit matters. That’s why we need diverse perspectives and input; public-private partnerships that cross industries, government, and civil society; and leaders who aren’t afraid of bold, innovative ideas.
The President—my husband, Joe—understands that. He knows that there isn’t one president, one government, or one country that can do it alone. And he is committed to leading with diplomacy, democracy, and humility.
Your work here today reaffirms that, throughout our country and around our world, our lives are tied together in immeasurable and powerful ways. And it shows your commitment to honoring that connection in all that you do.
Thank you for your work. We stand with you, and together, we will build a brighter future for us all.