Good morning. I’m very pleased to be here with you today, along with my distinguished colleagues from the Postal Service and in the UN family, to be part of the unveiling of the international forever stamp -- the first of its kind and a really groundbreaking achievement for the U.S. Postal Service.
I’m especially glad to be here because I’m a proud native of Philadelphia – which was, of course, the birthplace of the U.S. Postal Service…in addition to so many other great American innovations. Like the Constitution, for example, in which the postal service is one of the few government agencies explicitly mentioned.
On behalf of the United States Mission to the United Nations, I can tell you that the location for today’s ceremony, this iconic United Nations headquarters, was truly well chosen. For centuries, post was a primary form of communication and diplomacy between countries. So it is fitting that we launch the first USPS international forever stamp right here in the headquarters of world diplomacy.
Many people don’t realize that under recent legislation, the U.S. Department of State is actually deeply involved in international postal affairs and postal policy. We have staff in Washington committed to the oversight of foreign policy related to international postal services. And our view is that the affordable, accessible, and universal communication made possible by postal services remains an important tool in our diplomacy, government to government, and more importantly, people to people.
Those of you who’ve followed the work of us at the US Mission know that Ambassador Rice and I are big fans of mobile 21st century communications and social media. We webcast, friend and tweet, all in an effort to make public diplomacy a permanent part of the landscape here at the UN.
But even in this brave new world – maybe especially in this brave new world – the postal service remains essential and fundamental. Maybe we don’t write as many handwritten thank-you notes as we used to, but we’re communicating, through postal services, more than ever. Every year, post offices around the world still handle in excess of 400 billion letters and packages, and there remains a vibrant and crucial international system, now more than 130 years old, that ensures that all the letters and packages mailed here in New York or in Tokyo or Durban are all handled in the same way as they cross borders and reach their intended recipients.
This gorgeous stamp reinforces that truth. The United States remains committed to the idea of cooperation with our international partners – in this case to facilitate international postal communications. At a time when some customers question the future of the postal sector as we know it, this stamp is a symbol of the U.S. Postal Service’s enduring and laudable commitment.
The Global Forever stamp unveiled today is another important step in a global network of communication and commerce that reflects American values, serves American interests, and helps America prosper.
So good luck and congratulations, U. S. Postal Service. Benjamin Franklin would be proud.
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