Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a Press Availability at the Spring 2022 Commencement of Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
Jackson, Mississippi
May 1, 2022


AMBASSADOR LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Good morning. And I am delighted to be here among the esteemed folks I have here. Congressman, I can’t tell you – I feel so honored to be here with you – not knowing that you were from Tougaloo, but knowing that you were taking on such a major role representing all of us in Congress. And President, thank you so much for welcoming me here.

You know, today is a really important day for me. Important because I’m here at Tougaloo to address the 2022 graduating class, but also today is the first day of my presidency of the Security Council. So starting today – but tomorrow morning – I will be taking on that role as President of the Security Council and dealing with all of the issues of peace and security that we read and hear about every single day. On my plate of course is Ukraine, but also the crises and problems across the world whether it’s in Burma, dealing with what is happening there, or looking at what is happening in Ethiopia, or working with issues related to humanitarian crises and crises that have resulted from climate change around the world. So, being here at Tougaloo is extraordinarily special on this special day and I look forward to addressing students and hearing from these amazing students what they plan to do in the future.

MODERATOR: Do we have any questions?

QUESTION: Tell me about the importance of being here at such a prestigious school and giving insight to students who have a bright future ahead of them and your experience as a black woman in politics and dealing with stuff like that. What do you hope to instill upon them (inaudible)?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: That’s a tough question. You know, I hope that I will serve as an example for them. An example of what they can accomplish, and also inspire them to want to go out and change the world, to have an impact on the world. We all see ourselves as individuals, but every action we take as an individual will impact the person next to you, and sometimes the person on the other side of the world. And so my message to them is you are the future and take on that leadership mantle and lead for the future. We – our generation is fading and we will be depending on this generation, the 2022 class and beyond, to take on those responsibilities.

QUESTION: And one follow up to that, those students, they are the future, right? Right now, you have a better understanding of what’s happening in Ukraine than most of us. What do you want the average Mississippian to know about what’s happening right now.

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I want them to know that it impacts them. You know, sometimes you look at a situation and you think it’s far away. It’s not our problem. Why is the President of the United States giving so much support to Ukraine? One, Ukraine is fighting for democracy, and we are a democracy. And so their fight is our fight and we need to understand that. Whether it’s in Mississippi, or is in New York City, or is in Louisiana, where I’m from, that what happens everywhere in the world impacts all of us wherever we are. And we need to know about it. We need to understand it. And we need to be prepared to make a difference.

MODERATOR: Thank you, guys.