U.S. Secretary of State Kerry says the United States values the opinions of young ASEAN leaders.
“The future . . . belongs to you,” U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the young leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations recently in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. “You’re going to define it, and you’re going to live it . . . whether it’s . . . human trafficking or environmental degradation or climate change or just economic growth - how we share that growth with everybody and who benefits and what happens to a community as you develop . . . [These] are fascinating [and] challenging, and they are really the heart of public life and of the social fabric of all . . . [and] each of your countries.”
“I want to hear from you,” Secretary Kerry continued.
“I’m here for [the] U.S.-ASEAN Summit . . . and . . . [the] East Asia Summit, and we’re . . . talking about the future and . . . about security concerns . . . I’d like to know what you see now as the greatest challenges. What do you want people in my position to be thinking about? What should we be trying to achieve together? Tell me whatever is on your mind, and we’ll have a good conversation.”
“Young people traditionally have made a huge difference in history,” Secretary Kerry assured the young ASEAN leaders. “In our country, in the 1960s when I was your age . . . we had . . . the Civil Rights Movement . . . It was really [the] young people . . . who were the voice . . . [and] the conscience of that movement; and they changed history in our country. It opened the right to vote to more people . . . to have equal access and equal opportunity. So even 200-and-some years after our founding, we were still fighting and struggling with the shape of our country. So don’t get impatient even as you’re fighting and struggling and watching things change. You have to keep doing it, and it takes time.”