I’m glad to see so many people here. One measure of the importance that we are attaching to this evening is that we could choose to be sitting in front of a television watching the U.S. – Germany match of the World Cup, but you’re here and I’m glad you’re all here.
I’m especially happy to be a part of this week’s events for a very personal reason. I’ve been in the Foreign Service almost 25 years. I’ve spent all my overseas assignments in the Arab world and that means I have never in my professional life when I’ve been overseas been able to be a part of Pride Week. Finally here in Istanbul, I can do that and I’m very happy to be a part of the efforts to join the people around the world as Secretary Kerry said just the other day in standing up for LGBT rights. It’s important to me on a personal level as related to myself and as a U.S. diplomat and a citizen.
I’m particularly pleased to see the theme for this year’s week here of ‘Contact’ because that’s exactly what we need to do to find allies within the community, straight allies as well and international allies. I was especially happy to see in the paper this morning that Turkey will soon have its first LGBT magazine as of next month which will be other means of helping people connect and contact one another. That’s terrific as well. And I think in what we’re going to hear in tonight’s discussion, there will also be interesting connections made and discussed.
So thank you for being part of that. Thanks also to our hosts here at Studio-X. And I wish everyone a good evening here and a good week. Thanks.