Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at the Hawaii SDG Youth Council

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
Honolulu, Hawai’i
November 7, 2023


Aloha. Thank you so much, Governor. Thank you, Principal, thank you students and everyone for welcoming me here today.

You know, I had a chance to sit down with some of you in New York to discuss the Sustainable Development Goals, and I am wearing the pin. I actually found it, so I wanted to make sure I wore my aloha pin to really honor the extraordinary efforts that you’re making here. It’s really amazing and wonderful for us to be together again, this time in the Aloha State. And I didn’t expect to be here this soon. I knew I was going to come. I was planning to come. But I didn’t know it would happen this quickly. The Governor and I saw each other last week at the state dinner for the Australian Prime Minister, so we are seeing each other on a regular basis.

Today, I have the privilege of chairing the kickoff meeting of the Hawaii SDG Youth Council, led by native Hawaiian youth from Kamehameha Schools.

I met with many of you, as you heard in September in New York, to discuss your vision for sustainable development. And during that meeting, many of you highlighted how Hawaii’s deep rooted indigenous knowledge of systems contributes to achieving SDGs, the blueprint for our world’s future. Your passion was extraordinarily inspiring and I’m looking forward to discussing ways that we can work together to take on the climate crisis and drive progress forward on all 17 SDGs.

I’m also looking forward to the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum in the Cook Islands, where I will engage Pacific leaders and young people. And I used to say, young leaders are our future, but I know, from having met with you and many others, that you’re not our future, you are our present. You are doing what you need to do now, not later. And you’re going to be key to addressing the shared challenges that encompass all of the SDGs, including climate and gender equality, and food security, clean water, education.

When I look at this school – This is amazing. I’m ready to quit my job and come back to school. I don’t know if I’d qualify. But I might be able to teach a course. This is amazing.

Governor Green, I want to express my profound appreciation to you and your team, and my admiration for all you’ve done to take on the climate crisis, and to advance the SDGs, including through the first-in-the-nation Voluntary Local Review of progress against the Sustainable Development Goals. And I am grateful for your partnership, and I look forward to continuing to work with you, and all of you, in the future.