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International House of Philadelphia: Lunchon Presentation
Remarks by Ambassador Said T. Jawad


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
11/16/2004

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are honored to be here with you today.

Please allow me to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to every one of you for participating in this wonderful event today.

I would like to thank Mr. Oliver Franklin, Elizabeth Lowe and the International House of Philadelphia for inviting me and my wife, Shamim, to participate in this Ambassador’s Forum which will further enhance the culture and economic ties between Afghanistan and Philadelphia. I also thank Carelift International for its dedication to help improve health care in Afghanistan. I am grateful to the sponsors of tonight’s program, Independence Blue Cross, Med Assets, and Cozen and O’Conner.

This is my second trip to your beautiful city this year. On July 4th, I came to Philadelphia accompanying President Karzai, when he received the 2004 Liberty Medal. Here in Philadelphia, over two centuries ago a group of visionary Americans met in a constitutional convention that was one of the turning points in human history. Their vision was to preserve liberty and prevent tyranny in America.

In Afghanistan, President Karzai and the people of Afghanistan are now going through a similar experience, working to ensure that Afghanistan is a constitutional state. As the founding fathers of America needed the support of their allies, we need the assistance of the international community to safeguard our people’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Six month ago, on July 4th, Philadelphia honored President Karzai for his courage, vision and faith in the pursuit of liberty, peace and democracy. Two weeks ago, the people of Afghanistan elected President Karzai by overwhelming majority as our next President. In an election that 86% of the eligible voters participated, and 41% were women.

Afghanistan’s first presidential election was an historic achievement with phenomenal scenes that Afghans will cherish for years to come. When 8.4 million Muslims, Afghan men and women, proudly and patiently lined up to vote, they not only demonstrated their courage, competence, and commitment to democracy, but also sent a strong message to terrorists and extremists.

The election proved that the partnership of the international community with Afghanistan yielded significant results for democracy and global security. The success of election is a shared achievement by Afghans, the United States and over 45 countries contributing troops, funds and resources to help stabilize and rebuild our country. We are grateful to every one of them.

Success in Afghanistan is helping the world become a safer place. Afghanistan’s transition and successful advance on the path to democracy and state-building will impact the expectations and the aspirations of the people all over the world. Every vote cast in Afghanistan was a vote against terror and in favor of democracy and global security.

Thank you.