Bill Clinton photo

Remarks at the Arts and Humanities Awards Dinner

January 09, 1997

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the White House. Hillary and I are delighted to have all of your here tonight. This afternoon we had the honor to award 16 men and women and the Harlem Boys Choir our country's highest recognition for achievement in the arts and humanities.

Tonight we come together to salute the honorees again for their profound contributions to our cultural life. At a time when so many forces seem determined to divide us, not simply here but all around the world, the arts and humanities unite us as a people in all of our rich diversity. They give voice to our collective experience and deepen our understandings of ourselves and one another.

At the dawn of a new century in a rapidly changing world, we need our artists, our writers, our thinkers more than ever to help us find that common thread that is woven through all of our lives, to help give our children the imagination they need to visualize the future they must make, and to reach across the lines that divide us. The people we have honored today have dedicated their lives to this purpose, and I join all Americans in thanking them for their life's work.

I ask all of you now to please join me in a toast to our honorees and to the United States of America.

Hear! Hear!

[At this point, the President toasted the honorees.]

Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 8:30 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House.

William J. Clinton, Remarks at the Arts and Humanities Awards Dinner Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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