A message from Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Art in Embassies

A statement by Secretary of State John F. Kerry on the office of Art in Embassies, U.S. Department of State.

Full Transcript

0:08 All of us appreciate the power of art to humanize. The arts make us laugh and make
0:14 us cry. They put us for a few minutes or a few hours in someone else’s shoes. They
0:20 allow us to embrace different ideas or to visit different cultures, if only in our imaginations.
0:27 For more than 50 years, the Art in Embassies program has done exactly those things. It
0:33 has played an active diplomatic role by promoting cultural exchange through the visual arts
0:39 in our embassies and residences around the world.
0:42 I have personally seen so many of the contributions of this program. I remember a private moment
0:48 at Villa Taverna in Rome, marveling at a Calder sculpture in the garden. And I’ll never
0:53 forget during my first visit to our embassy in Tokyo last year seeing the rich display
0:58 by Japanese artists who had worked, lived, or studied in the United States.
1:03 The Art in Embassies Program offers communities around the world and extraordinary sense of
1:10 the quality, scope, and diversity of American and international art and culture.
1:15 Whether it’s organizing a collaborative installation in Senegal with local artists
1:20 or a Navajo weaving exchange in Laos, the Art in Embassies Program cultivates relationships
1:26 that transcends boundaries.
1:28 It builds trust, mutual respect, and understanding among peoples and is a fulcrum of America’s
1:34 global leadership as we work for freedom, human rights, and peace around the world.
1:39 As Secretary of State I can’t emphasize enough how much of American power depends
1:45 on our ability of just bringing people together. That’s why Art in Embassies is so important,
1:52 and that’s why the dialogue it fosters across cultures, across faiths and nations is so
1:57 essential to our diplomatic mission.
2:00 Those of you who know John Adams are probably more than familiar with those wonderful words
2:05 he wrote while our country was in its infancy.
2:07 “I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics
2:12 and philosophy in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music architecture,
2:19 statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”
2:22 That aspiration is not unique to America – it’s universal.
2:26 We celebrate art because it is the language of peace and possibility. We rely on artists
2:31 to inspire us, entertain us, to challenge us to consider the impossible and above all
2:38 to show us that the impossible can actually be achieved.
2:43 Art in Embassies is not only a great resource, it’s a powerful reminder of our common humanity
2:49 and the traditions we share. That’s a cause worth celebrating and that’s how we will
2:54 find the common ground on which we can work to build a more peaceful, tolerant, and prosperous
3:00 world.
3:00 Thank you.
3:01 (music)