This year’s OECD Forum focuses on four themes: security, equity, education and growth. All four are important – and I believe all four hinge on one: education. Education opens the door of hope to all the world’s children.
Friends and distinguished guests, no matter what country you call home, no matter what our differences in culture or custom or faith, one value transcends every border: all Mothers and Fathers the world over love their children and want the very best for them.
As President Bush said earlier this year in his State of the Union address to Congress: “All fathers and mothers, in all societies, want their children to be educated, and live free from poverty and violence…No nation owns these aspirations, and no nation is exempt from them.”
We all want our children to grow up in a world that is secure. Today, our world community is engaged in a mighty struggle against the agents of terror. Many of the countries represented here are working closely with our military and intelligence and law enforcement officers to locate terrorists and bring them to justice, and the American people thank you for your help.
The recent bombings in Russia, Israel and Pakistan, where 11 French citizens lost their lives, are tragic reminders that terror threatens lives throughout the world. The nations of the world must work together to confront this threat to our peace and security.
Just yesterday, I read in the newspaper the words of a mother of a fourteen year-old boy who was injured by shrapnel in the bombing in Russia. One of his young friends died immediately, another several hours later. 17 of the 41 victims were children.