May15200910:22 am

“Study abroad is like spring training for this century”

I wanted to take a second to return to the Hillary speech at NYU’s commencement that I alluded to yesterday. I took the time to listen to it in full today and…wow. I want to meet the person who is writing this stuff and buy him/her a beer. Even though I’ve been accused of being overly earnest from time to time, and despite the fact that I’m guilty of using the phrase “follow your passion” on more than one occasion in this space, I’m generally more of a sarcastic cynic and not one who is typically prone to idealistic cheese. But listening to this stuff, I can’t help but admit that I’m inspired:

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.

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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One Response to ““Study abroad is like spring training for this century””

  1. [...] with a reference to Secretary of State Clinton’s commencement address at NYU (described in an earlier post — with a video — by Mark), where she said she hoped we could “harness the energy of a rising [...]

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