Press Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 17, 2010

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Each year, thousands of engaged young people from around the world travel to the United States, eager to learn about American life and share perspectives from their own countries. Families who welcome these exchange students into their homes and hearts not only enrich the life of an exceptional young person, they help build people-to-people connections that span the globe and last a lifetime.

The goodwill, generosity, and mutual understanding fostered through exchange programs are critical to meeting the challenges of today’s world. Such citizen diplomacy may start with one visiting student and his or her host family, but it ripples throughout communities in the United States and abroad. Many exchange students return home with positive impressions of America, and they go on to become leaders in their own countries. I’ve met some of these leaders and they’ve talked to me with great enthusiasm about what they’ve experienced.

I thank all the families who have already learned that when you open your door to an exchange student, you often meet a lifelong friend, and I encourage many more Americans to make the choice to help showcase our values with those from other countries. When we dispel stereotypes and we open new avenues of dialogue across boundaries and borders, we enrich ourselves and the world. Thank you very much.