On behalf of the U.S. Embassy and ILEA Budapest, I welcome you to this very important course on Leadership for Women in Law Enforcement. It is a thrill for me to meet so many strong, dedicated women law enforcement officers.
Director Terpinas told me that this course is always one of the highlights of the ILEA schedule and that last year’s class was energetic and enthusiastic and raised lots of important issues during the panel discussion. I am confident that your course will be equally engaging. I am delighted that this course is now offered every year at ILEA Budapest.
I want to welcome your instructors from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center: Janet and Real. Both Janet and Real are experienced instructors and will be facilitating this course to you over the next week.
It is a top priority for the United States Government to empower women in all walks of life. The United States Department of State is particularly interested in this endeavor. In remarks former Secretary of State Clinton made to women leaders in the Balkans, she stated:
More women than ever are taking a leading role in politics and government—and that’s great news. But we still have a long way to go. We know that when women thrive, societies thrive. There is a mountain of research that shows that investing in women and gender equality is smart economics. And it’s not just the bottom line that we should be concerned about. Women are also agents of change and peace; they act as mediators and foster compromise. Time and again, especially in this region, we have seen women build partnerships and networks across ethnic and sectarian lines where men often could not. When women organize in large numbers, they can galvanize opinion and change the course of history.
As a direct result of the State Department’s commitment to empower women, ILEA has brought this course to Budapest. ILEA was established in 1995 for the express purpose of combating organized crime. In the last 21 years, over 21,000 officers have attended ILEA courses.
Whether the crime is drug trafficking, public corruption, terrorism, smuggling, or trafficking in persons, criminals are not hindered by international borders. Countries must work together to defeat organized crime, and countries must utilize all of their assets in this fight.
The United States is not alone in the fight against organized crime and the promotion of the empowerment of women. Your presence in this course demonstrates the commitment of the governments of Macedonia, Georgia, and Serbia in these causes.
As you know from your own experiences, women face many challenges in our roles as wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters. This is a very practical course that enables you to better understand your own personality and encourages you to develop your personal leadership style. You will also learn how to better balance the roles we as women pursue with the demands of police work.
Your instructors have considerable experience and have taught this course all over the world. While we appreciate the experience and research they bring to this course, your participation in this course will determine its success. Each of you has a microphone in front of you. We want you to speak up and share your experiences, challenges, and opinions.
While you are at ILEA we expect not only that you will learn new things, but that you will also make new friends and professional contacts. ILEA intentionally invites at least three countries to participate in every course in order to build international contacts. Whether in my field of diplomacy or in law enforcement, the value of personal contacts for the exchange of best practices and problem solving is extremely important.
Finally I encourage you to enjoy Budapest. Take advantage of the opportunity you have to see the city when it is at its most beautiful with holiday decorations lighting up all of Budapest.
I extend my best wishes to you that you may enjoy a successful week of training, the establishment of new contacts, and some holiday cheer. Thank you.