International Student House Annual Gala
October 11th, 2012
Dear Barbara Slavin, Senator Hagel, China Jessup,
Members of the Board,
Friends and benefactors of the International Student House,
It is such a pleasure to be here with you tonight. And such a privilege to participate in an event honoring an institution that has actively promoted, for the past hundred years, two causes I strongly believe in: education, and cultural exchanges. That’s why when your Gala Chair Barbara Slavin asked me if I could be the honorary diplomatic chair of the event, I immediately said yes.
The other reason is that Barbara is a great professional, an outstanding individual and a long-time friend.
The International Student House upholds ideals of hospitality, cultural understanding, and global partnership in the most remarkable way: by welcoming students and scholars from all over the world and providing them a home away from home. By bringing together young people from all backgrounds and helping them become "Washingtonians" for a time.
I know that hundreds of French students have benefited from this residential experience over the years, and that half a dozen of them are living in the House this fall. The connections and experiences that they make here will follow them all their lives, and they, in turn, will change the lives of others through what they have learned in the intercultural setting provided for them here.
I would like to express my deep admiration and warmest congratulations to Senator Hagel, who has shown unswerving commitment to the cause of international education and understanding, and China Jessup, whose leadership has left its mark on the House.
The International Student House combines the highest ideals with the most pragmatic form of action - in this respect it is a lot like the French diplomacy – Here you recognize the traditional and well-known French modesty...
More seriously, I can tell you that promoting university collaborations and exchanges of students is my number one priority as Ambassador. So you will understand that the French Embassy is highly supportive of your wonderful organization, and that we will do our utmost to encourage its development. Thank you.