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Office of the First Lady

For Immediate Release March 17, 1995


First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton will make an official visit to five countries in South Asia March 24 - April 6, 1995. Her visit to Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka is part of the Administration's continuing efforts to develop and strengthen U.S. relationships in this increasingly important part of the world.

"As an advocate of children, families and communities the First Lady is the best imaginable emissary to deliver a message to South Asia that this administration's concern for those countries is deeper than traditional geopolitics; that there is truly a human dimension to politics, policy and diplomacy," said The President.

In each country Mrs. Clinton will meet with women representatives of government and nongovernment organizations (NGOs), religious institutions, education, business and the arts. The First Lady will also visit communities to see first hand how men and women are creating a "seamless" web of services as well as training, educational and economic opportunities which support, empower and nurture children and their families.

"Providing support, rebuilding community and protecting the future for children and families is vital to the national interests of developing and developed countries alike. Increasingly, the leadership of women plays an important role in shaping practical and effective responses to the global concerns of poverty, lack of educational and employment opportunities, inadequate housing and poor health care," said Mrs. Clinton.

In December, Mrs. Clinton hosted the Symposium on Children of the Americas in Miami. The summit participants discussed successful models for addressing the health and education needs of children in the hemisphere. Most recently, Mrs. Clinton addressed NGO representatives attending the United Nation's World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen, Denmark and urged governments "to recognize that increasing opportunities for women around the world are essential investments for the future." The First Lady's tour of South Asia affirms the administration's commitment to sustainable development in the region and underscores America's interest in the social challenges which face families and children all over the world.

Commerce Secretary Ron Brown has visited India. Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary and Secretary of Defense William Perry have recently visited India and Pakistan. Their efforts focused on revitalizing commercial and security relationships in the region.