Sunday, May 31, 2009

Beacons


img_0436, originally uploaded by missmartha.

Everyone knows that I am overjoyed that America has a new president in Obama. Some of you don't know that I was very conflicted during the primaries when trying to decipher which Democratic candidate would be the best choice for the nation. In some ways, I feel that I have the best of both worlds with Sec. Clinton as head of the State Department. As I work in International Exchange administering programs under the auspices of the Department of State, Hillary Clinton's actions and global experience will greatly impact my day to day. Here is an snippet from a speech that she gave recently that excited me and really put into perspective the public diplomacy part of my job that I cherish most:

Speaking at the New York University commencement ceremony on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the 2009 graduating class to become citizen diplomats and to open themselves up to “this increasingly complex and interconnected world.” Clinton spent a significant portion of her speech emphasizing that “lay[ing] the groundwork…for global cooperation” begins with international exchange. Her remarks included such specific proposals as increasing funding for Gilman scholarships by more than 40 per cent, streamlining the visa process for international students, and creating Virtual Student Foreign Service Internships at the State Department “to harness the energy of a rising generation of citizen diplomats”:

My message to you today is this: Be the special envoys of your ideals…be citizen ambassadors using your personal and professional lives to forge global partnerships…

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.

Now, of course, study abroad is a two-way street, and we should bring more qualified students from other countries to study here.

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.

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studies have been conducted recently about my generation as a generation of narcissists...this blog is part of that phenomenon :)