Thursday, May 14, 2009

Secretary Clinton Highlights Value of Study Abroad & Educational Exchange at NYU Commencement

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed the 2009 graduates from New York University at Yankee Stadium. As I watched/listened to her address this morning I was very happy to hear her talk about the value of study abroad and educational exchanges.

I have copied and pasted her relevant remarks here:

“I know that one of your graduates spent months on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro searching for sustainable development models to bring to women and families and help them lift themselves out of poverty. Another of your classmates was studying in China last year when the devastating earthquake struck, and that has led to work ever since to deliver supplies and assistance to villagers in remote areas. International students have gone on to fight for human rights in Rwanda, build civil society in the nation of Georgia, run businesses, and lead governments.”

“I hope many of you will join our ranks in the Foreign Service and the Civil Service, but I know that not all will choose to become professional diplomats, and I also know that the State Department alone cannot tackle these great problems. So my message to you today is this: Be the special envoys of your ideals; use the communication tools at your disposal to advance the interests of our nation and humanity everywhere; be citizen ambassadors using your personal and professional lives to forge global partnerships, build on a common commitment to solving our planet’s common problems. By creating your own networks, you can extend the power of governments to meet the needs of this and future generations. You can help lay the groundwork for the kind of global cooperation that is essential if we wish, in our time, to end hunger and defeat disease, to combat climate change, and to give every child the chance to live up to his or her God-given potential. (Applause.)

This starts with opportunities for educational exchanges, the kind of dorm room and classroom diplomacy that NYU is leading on. I want to commend my friend, your president, the trustees of this great university, for understanding and believing in the importance of educational exchanges.

You know, study abroad is like spring training for this century. It helps you develop the fundamentals, the teamwork, and the determination to succeed. And we want more American students to have that opportunity. That’s why we are increasing funding for Gilman scholarships by more than 40 percent. More than 400 New Yorkers have used Gilman scholarships to spend a semester abroad, including nine students from NYU last year.

Now, of course, study abroad is a two-way street, and we should bring more qualified students from other countries to study here. NYU provides a prime example of what international students can bring to a campus and how they can benefit themselves and their countries. Over 700,000 international students came to the United States last year, and NYU had the second largest number of any school in the country. (Applause.)

Now, the benefits from such exchanges are so great that I am committed to streamline the visa process – (applause) – particularly for science and technology students so that even more qualified students will come to our campuses in the future. We’re also doing more to marry technology with global service.
That’s why today I am pleased to announce that over the next year the State Department will be creating Virtual Student Foreign Service Internships to harness the energy of a rising generation of citizen diplomats. Working from college and university campuses, American students will partner with our embassies abroad to conduct digital diplomacy that reflects the realities of the networked world. And you can learn more about this initiative on the State Department’s website.”

You can read the text of Secretary Clinton’s address here.

President Obama’s commencement address at Arizona State University was also very good as well (despite him not being accomplished enough to be awarded an honorary degree) but it was Secretary Clinton’s address at NYU that shined yesterday (at least from my perspective).

No comments:

Post a Comment