Remarks by the Deputy Secretary of Defense
The Honorable Gordon R. England
Arab-American Yearbook Reception
The Library of Congress
1 February 2007
My Dear friend, Sheik Nasser, thank you for that warm introduction.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being part of this important event.
Congressman Boustany…Thank You Sir…for your leadership in the Congress…and thanks to you, and Dr. Billington, for making this delightful evening in the magnificent Library of Congress possible.
I’d also like to thank, and congratulate, my good friend Angela Zavala and her terrific team on another outstanding effort in bringing together many notable groups in publishing the first Arab-American Yearbook.
Many years ago Angela immigrated to the United States from Argentina. People with her intelligence, drive and determination are the key ingredient in making America strong. She has realized the American dream for herself and her family all the while helping others to achieve success.
For more than 20 years, Angela has been producing helpful reference books for business, universities and organizations around the world to help others also achieve their dreams.
This year the Arab-American Yearbook joins a series of prior successful reference books that highlighted the contributions of Hispanic, Asian and African Americans.
While these books are helpful in providing useful information, their real value is bringing together people from the diplomatic, military, academic, and business communities who share a common interest in promoting stability, peace and prosperity for all people. Angela’s books are bridges of friendship between people of different backgrounds.
These personal bridges of friendship not only link people, but countries, because friendship between nations is really about friendship between individual people.
Events like this are also helpful in strengthening existing friendships and establishing new ones. It takes effort by people everyday to reach out and build bonds of friendship and trust and I appreciate all of you joining with me tonight to do just that.
This evening we join together to honor the contributions of Arab-Americans and Arabs from around the world to the development and advancement of civilization and humanity.
The individuals recognized by Angela in her book have succeeded for two fundamental reasons. First, they live in an environment with the right set of political, social and economic conditions that have allowed them to excel. Second, they have the personal characteristics of drive, ambition and intellect to benefit from the opportunities provided.
I’m especially proud of Hesham Islam, my personal close confidante, who is recognized in Angela’s book. Hesham is a sterling example of how successful the Arab community is, here in America.
It’s now my honor to introduce a very good friend of mine and America, His Royal Highness Amir Turki Al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia.
Amir Turki is a leader in the Arab world who has worked hard to achieve peace, prosperity and a better life for his people and the world. He has served as his Nation’s Ambassador to both the United Kingdom and the United States.
During his time here he has reached out to the American people giving insightful speeches and interviews across the Nation and meeting with the people of our land, developing the close friendships that as I mentioned and the bedrock of strong international relations.
One lesser known, but important fact about his outreach to America is that he is a great fan of Navy Football. He showed it well when he braved one of the coldest days in Philadelphia’s history to watch the annual Navy – Army classic a couple years ago.
Please join me in welcoming My Dear Friend Amir Turki Al Faisal.