Washington (CNN) – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that women’s peace and security issues were “integral” for dealing with foreign policy issues in Syria, Iran and Libya.
In front of students and former State Department officials at Georgetown University, Clinton made the case that issues like rape in conflict areas and upward mobility for women were not just issues that women should address. Instead, she said, they are a responsibility “that we all share.”
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“It is important at the outset to underscore that this is not a women’s issue,” Clinton said. “This cuts to the very core of who we are as human beings and what kind of societies that we choose to have, to what kind of world we want to live in and leave for our children.”
Clinton’s remarks came during an award ceremony, where the former first lady was giving the Hillary Rodham Clinton Award for Advancing Women in Peace and Security to Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder of Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republican of the Congo, and William Hague, secretary of state for the United Kingdom. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the current Secretary General of NATO, also received the award but was unable to attend the ceremony.
Clinton said the fact that three men received the award was intentional and an effort to point out that men too can be champions of women’s security issues.
When introducing Hague, the former first lady commended the conservative diplomat for leading on issues of women, peace and security, especially considering issues like Syria, Libya and Iran were commanding international attention.
“What he understood and why I respect this decision of him so greatly, is that these are not separate issues,” Clinton said. “Women, peace and security are and must be recognized as being integral to dealing with all of those headline issues.”
Tuesday's award ceremony was part of Georgetown’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security, an office that is led by Melanne Verveer, a woman whose ties to Clinton date back to her early years in the White House and was Clinton’s ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues.
Clinton left the State Department at the start of 2013 and is now considered the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. Clinton, however, has said she has yet to decide whether she will run.
Hague dedicated the start of his speech to Clinton, commending the former first lady and noting a few light moments the two shared when they worked together.
Hague said that during international meetings, Clinton “was fond of passing notes."
In one meeting, Hague said, Clinton passed him a note that said, “William, after this, let’s go out and have some fun.”
To a laughing audience, Hague concluded: “Which we did.”