Nelson Mandela, in accepting the Congressional Medal of Honor, said:

"Though the challenges of the present time for our country, our continent and the world are greater than those we have already overcome, we face the future with confidence.  We do so because despite the difficulties and the tensions that confront us, there is in all of us the capacity to touch one another's hearts across oceans and continents."

We are living in wartime and the stakes are high. Tragically, we know the severity of the horror that lies ahead. Fortunately, we also know a great deal about what can be done to protect children and to support families and communities in their battle against AIDS. Across Africa, valiant efforts are being made to stem the rising tide of HIV infection, to prolong the lives of those who are sick and to stitch together a tapestry of family or family-like support systems for the growing millions of children orphaned by AIDS. Partnerships between our government and other donors, host governments, non-governmental organizations, consumer groups, and communities are generating hope and demonstrating promising results.

But the battle against AIDS has just begun, and the worst is yet to come.  We need to continue to promote and reward leadership, and to remove barriers that impede a cooperative multi-sectoral response. We need to expand our vision, our capacity, and our resource base - in the face of an ever expanding nightmare that just won't take no for an answer. Living in wartime means pushing forward on several fronts at the same time.

As we seek to keep pace and even gain ground, the magnitude of this challenge looms large.  Nevertheless, the faces of the children and families crying out for our help beckon us all to find ways to do better, to be smarter, to move faster, and to develop whatever capacity and partnerships we lack, as we gear up for the long haul.