Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
September 25, 2021
Hello! Thank you.
As the Duke and Duchess said, we need to stop the spread and get vaccines to everyone. That is why President Biden announced this week that we’re donating another 500 million vaccine doses to the world. That brings our total donations to 1.1 billion doses.
The world has learned the hard way that global health isn’t only about viruses and diseases. It touches every aspect of life itself. Economies have collapsed. Gender-based violence has spiked. Millions of children have lost valuable education time and many – particularly girls – may never return to school. These effects and more are felt most acutely by the world’s refugees – people who have fled war, famine, and persecution in search of safety, dignity, a better life.
At the Tokyo Olympics, I met a team of Olympians composed entirely of refugees. And one Afghan woman’s family fled Jalalabad when she was six months old. This summer, she competed in Judo at the Olympic Games. And she told me the first thing her Judo teacher taught her was how to fall down. The second was how to get back up. So many of the world’s refugees have been knocked down. They have lost relatives and loved ones. They have had to leave their homes behind. But with a little help – just a little help – they can get back up. And they amaze you because refugees are extraordinary.
They’re teachers. They’re lighting up children’s minds. They’re parents raising the next generation. They’re doctors and nurses, saving our lives during a pandemic. They’re cooks, they’re musicians, they’re poets, feeding our stomachs and our souls. They are human beings who have been knocked down – and need some help getting back up. And we need them – we need their genius, we need their talents, we need their love, and we need their humanity. We need to help them get back up.
And together, let’s make 2022 the year we end this pandemic – and did more to help the world’s refugees than ever before.
Thank you very much.