WASHINGTON– In one of her last actions as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton signed a “Declaration of Learning” Wednesday with the 13 other government agencies to make U.S. diplomacy and the State Department’s history more accessible to Americans.
“I can’t imagine a more important [last event] because of what this means for our ability to reach out and connect with not only our own students but all of our citizens and people across the world,” Clinton said.
The declaration establishes an interagency group of 13 federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations that will work to make the State Department’s Diplomatic Reception Rooms, their historic artifacts and diplomatic events accessible online. One of the more well-known artifacts is the Treaty of Paris desk on which Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and John Jay signed the treaty ending the Revolutionary War.
Clinton used the same desk to sign the Declaration of Learning. Before the signing, she reminisced about the significance of the rooms to her from her four years as secretary of state.
“Every time I see Ben Franklin up there, watching over us, I am reminded of the deep diplomatic history we have built from our very beginnings,” she said, referring to a painting of Benjamin Franklin hanging in the room. “It’s been a tremendous honor for me to be part of that history and to share the stories and even some of the lessons of American diplomacy.”
Clinton helped raise $20 million in private money through a “Patrons of Diplomacy” initiative intended to fund the digital learning tools and programs for online access to the Diplomatic Reception Rooms.
Clinton emphasized the significance of combining history, diplomacy and the Internet, and how the initiative will affect students and “lifelong learners” alike. She said educators will gain valuable resources and students may decide to pursue careers in diplomacy. Among the agencies involved in the online access program are the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian museums and the Newseum.
“The Declaration of Learning I am about to sign will help transport the story and the significance of this desk, along with many other pieces of our history, to anyone with an Internet connection,” Clinton said.