Founder's Wall
Some Things about Hillary Clinton You Might Not Know

Introduced: July 12 2012


One of the painful things about being a diplomat must be the slow pace of progress, the tiny steps that must be taken to solve a problem or avoid a crisis. Take, as an example, the recent headline-making news that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had just recently apologized to Pakistan about the drone attack that unintentionally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers eight months ago (November 2011)...

Like the band Chicago, who sang “It’s Hard for Me to Say I’m Sorry,” eight months suggests that apologizing is very difficult. But anyone who’s met Hillary Clinton knows that she is gracious and engaging, so apologies are definitely part of her interpersonal toolkit. But the reluctance to apologize isn’t personal choice. It’s diplomacy, part of long-standing protocol among global leaders.

Anyway, there is so much to Secretary Clinton’s job we don’t hear about. So I was particularly interested in a recent article in the New York Times magazine, entitled “Hillary Clinton’s Last Tour as a Rock Star Diplomat.”

The article begins with an anecdote about Secretary Clinton’s efforts to replace nasty, unhealthy cookstoves used in many developing countries around the world. They kill 2 million people a year (mostly women and children) and add black smoke to the environment. I care about that, don’t you? But it's not a story that's played prominently in the media.

The article’s author Steven Lee Meyers writes: “In September 2010, Clinton announced the creation of a partnership led by the United Nations Foundation to provide 100 million cleaner and more efficient stoves around the world by 2020, and she has since used every opportunity to implore world leaders to adopt policies to encourage their use.” One of the countries she convinced to move toward cleaner, safer technology was China – and the story of how that issue played out in the midst of other sensitive issues, including blind dissident Chen Guangcheng seeking refuge in the American embassy, gives great insight into Hillary’s life and the challenges she faces day in and day out.

The article also includes comments by others on her performance as Secretary of State, including this quote by Republican Lindsay Graham, Republican from South Carolina, “She is extremely well respected throughout the world, handles herself in a very classy way and has a work ethic second to none.”

And that cuts right to the heart of who Hillary Clinton is. Some of you may know that I’ve known Hillary Clinton for a long time – since first-grade Sunday school. In high school, we were friends and had classes together and served on Student Council together. And when I say “served” about Hillary, I mean it. People ask me if I am privy to her “secret plans” about the future – and the truth is, I’m not. I believe her when she says she would like some “time off” to enjoy normal life. People also ask me what motivates her – is it fame? Is it power? And my answer is this: I believe it’s work. I believe, more than anything else, Hillary likes working toward solutions. She likes being at the center of the most pressing needs, so she can work on them. That I do know about Hillary Clinton.

To learn more about Hillary, this article is worth reading.