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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Remarks by the President Obama at Host Performance and Cultural Program

November 12, 2011



Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 12, 2011





Hale Koa Hotel

Honolulu, Hawaii


9:30 P.M. HAST

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening, everybody. To all the leaders who are representing their countries here at APEC, I hope you’ve had a wonderful stay so far, and hope you had a wonderful dinner. To members of the delegation, welcome.

Two years ago, when I was in Singapore and it was announced that we would be hosting the APEC Summit here in Honolulu, I promised that you would all have to wear aloha shirts or grass skirts. (Laughter.) But I was persuaded by our team to perhaps break tradition, and so we have not required you to wear your aloha shirts, although I understand that a few of you have tried them on for size, and we may yet see you in them in the next several days.

But one tradition that we did not want to break is the tradition of the luau. Here in Hawaii, there is a traditional gathering that we call luau, and it’s basically an excuse for a good party, and it’s used for every occasion. We have birthday luaus and graduation luaus. And now we have APEC luaus. (Applause.) And there is -- somebody is ready to party already. (Laughter.)

We have music. We have song. We have celebration. And we have hula dancing. And Michelle does not think I’m a very good dancer, so I will not be performing this evening. (Laughter.) But I think we will have some wonderful examples of traditional Polynesian dance and music and song. And it will capture, I think, the extraordinary spirit of these islands, but also capture, I think, the spirit in which I hope we proceed in our important work during the course of this APEC Summit.

We are bound together by an ocean. We are bound together by a common belief and a common concern for our people -- their aspirations, their hopes, their dreams. And so I hope that all of you feel the extraordinary spirit of Hawaii and very much look forward to a wonderful set of meetings tomorrow.

So, with that, please enjoy. (Applause.)

END 9:32 P.M. HAST