September 11, 2001 : Attack on America
The Honorable Charlotte Beers Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Testimony Before House International Relations Committee; October 10, 2001

The Honorable Charlotte Beers
Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
United States Department of State
Hearing on "The Role of Public Diplomacy in Support of the Anti-Terrorism Campaign"

October 10, 2001

House International Relations Committee

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:

I am delighted to appear before you today, just eight days after being sworn in as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. It was just two weeks ago that the Senate acted on my confirmation. I am grateful for this vote of trust and confidence.

With me today is someone you all know, Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Department spokesman, and, for the past several months, the official in charge of Public Diplomacy. I would like to thank him for his stewardship of the Department's public diplomacy efforts. Additionally, I would like to take the opportunity to salute the dedicated men and women who work in Public Diplomacy here and in our embassies overseas.

Public diplomacy, like every other part of the State Department, has been galvanized by the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the great challenge that President Bush posed to all of us, as citizens of this great nation and as public servants. I can assure you that Public Diplomacy, in concert with our colleagues at the State Department, the NSC, the Department of Defense and other entities, is wholeheartedly focused on our number one priority: fighting the international war on terrorism. As Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, I am responsible for the overall planning and management of this global effort.

And this is our message to the world:

The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were not attacks on America but were attacks on the world.

This is not a war against Islam. The war is against terrorists and those who support and harbor them.

America supports the Afghan people, which is why President Bush is providing $320 million in humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.

All nations must band together to eliminate the scourge of international terrorism.

Public diplomacy has delivered these messages beginning September 11 and every single day since then. Let me tell you what we are doing to enlist foreign publics in the campaign against terrorists and their supporters, to magnify these key messages, including that of our support for the Afghan people:

The State Department has established a 24/7 team within its task force dedicated to public information programs in our campaign against terrorism. State is monitoring the full range of public and media reaction around the world to ensure fast response by U.S. officials.

Our public affairs officers in our embassies around the world work every day with their host country media outlets -- TV, newspapers, radio, publications -- to ensure that our anti-terrorism message remains front and center.

Public Diplomacy's main international web site, Response to Terrorism, is updated daily and features dramatic visuals, including a map showing the 81 countries that lost citizens in the World Trade Center attack. This information is featured in six foreign language sites

Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, French and Portuguese, as well as on scores of sites in local languages at individual embassies around the world.

In times of crisis, we see the benefits of Public Diplomacy. For example, over 50 world leaders are alumnae of our exchange programs. These long-term relationships help us deal with international challenges at a time when the United States is seeking to build a coalition of nations against terrorism.

We are bringing exchange participants to the U[nited S[tates], giving them a first-hand view of our democratic institutions and how Americans from many backgrounds pulled together in the aftermath of the attacks. Journalists in these programs now receive special briefings on our anti-terrorism policies from high-level U.S. officials.

Fulbright academic exchanges and other professional exchanges continue in 140 countries.

While the Broadcasting Board of Governors will go into detail, let me just say that the radio services have increased their broadcasts in 53 languages, with special emphasis on the key frontline states in Central and South Asia and in the Middle East.

We continue to program speakers all over the world. Whether they are addressing civil society or economic reform, they find themselves discussing the crisis we now face.

In our outreach effort, one of my priorities will be to identify the words and pictures that will make people around the world understand that the Osama bin Ladens of this world act not out of a religious impulse, that terrorists are not martyrs or heroes, but criminals and cowards.

I met with the Ad Council last week to discuss a series of public service announcements, here and overseas, that distill the values and virtues of American democracy and the many good things we have achieved on the international front.

I thank you for this opportunity to report to you about how public diplomacy is supporting the President's call to war against terrorism. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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