Adam Ereli
Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
Washington, DC
October 21, 2011

Greetings from Washington, DC!

I’m Adam Ereli, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. On behalf of Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, I commend you for coming together to participate in this symposium in Ottawa.

I’m excited for you to begin your discussions on the United States-Canada relationship. You represent some of the most motivated, thoughtful and influential leaders in your fields, from government and business to academia, journalism, and culture. You don’t get that kind of diversity under one roof very often!

Within that diversity, there is one common thread—all of you are alumni of State Department programs. And you’re part of a much larger, global community of people who have participated in State Department exchange programs. Each year, over 40,000 new participants connect with the Department. There are now almost 2,000 of you scattered across Canada and more than 1 million alumni around the world.

Participating in an exchange is not a one-time experience. It marks the beginning of ongoing relationships with the people you met on your program, both Americans and colleagues from other countries, the U.S. Mission in Canada, and your fellow exchange alumni. There are now over 400 U.S. State Department alumni associations and chapters worldwide that enable alumni to share and act on ideas to improve their communities.

Good ideas matter. People matter. Put them together. You may agree or disagree with each other, but you have to work together to effect social change.

Together, as citizens of our cities, our countries, our continent and our world, we all can accomplish even more.