Clinton, other former top diplomats mark new diplomacy center

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Four current and former U.S. secretaries of state, including Hillary Clinton, gathered at the State Department on Tuesday to mark the ceremonial opening of a museum on American diplomacy.

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The privately funded U.S. Diplomacy Center will formally open in 2018.

It includes an exhibition hall named after Clinton, who lost the November presidential election to Republican Donald Trump. Other halls in the nonpartisan center are named for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and predecessors Henry Kissinger and James Baker.

In the light-filled hall named in Clinton’s honor, marked by glass walls and a glass roof, she joked that it “is the most transparent part” of the center, an apparent reference to the controversy over her use of a private email server which dogged her presidential ambitions.

In her brief remarks, Clinton did not mention Trump or the campaign. She said that democracy, freedom and the rule of law were under attack around the world and that the world faced “a rising tide of authoritarianism and illiberalism.”

“The longstanding bipartisan goal of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace is under enormous pressure,” she said.

“We should remember that the world looks to America as the indispensable nation not just because of the size of our military or the strength of our economy,” she said.

“It looks to us because America stands for universal values and aspirations. And if we stay true to those values like the best of the men and women whose leadership and service will be commemorated here, then our country will weather every storm on the horizon.”

Former top U.S. diplomats Madeleine Albright, who will donate her personal collection of more than 200 pins to the center, and Colin Powell also spoke at the ceremony.

Supporters of the center include private American companies Boeing Co, Intel Corp and FedEx Corp; the Kuwaiti, Qatari, United Arab Emirates and Brunei governments; and the Clinton Family Foundation, according to a panel in the exhibition hall.

Nearly $48 million in private sector funds have been raised for the center, and $18 million more is needed, according to the website of the Diplomacy Center Foundation created to support the museum.

Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Richard Chang