USG Exchange Alumni Symposium

Dumela bo rra le bo mma!  Thank you for joining us at the United State Government Exchange Program Alumni Symposium on this wonderful day.

I am pleased to be here with you this morning.  There is no better way to start my day than being in a room filled with so much creativity, drive, and motivation.  You all are true leaders making a difference.

Prior to my arrival in Botswana, I was told so many good things about our superb and expansive alumni network.  Having met many of you over the last few months, I know that I am in the company of an elite group, the future leaders of Botswana.  It brings me great joy to hear about the remarkable things you all are doing in your communities and beyond the borders of Botswana.

As alumni, you have been instrumental in promoting mutual understanding between American and Batswana citizens.  You have done so by being continuous and heartfelt advocates for our programs, exchanges, workshops, and trainings.  It is for that reason the Embassy continues to strengthen our partnership with our alumni.

I want to take a moment to thank Dr.Boitumelo Tau and Miss Peo Dikgaka for your hard work in making today’s event possible.

These two ladies are the ones who took on the difficult task of planning today’s event.  Let me tell you, aligning the schedules of an Ambassador and a Minister is not an easy chore.  We should really give them a standing ovation.

All of you sitting here today are part of a special group of Batswana who have travelled to the United States on U.S. government funded exchanges or participated in U.S. government sponsored programs.

While I understand the pride and sense of membership you feel to your respective programs:  Mandela Washington Fellows, Fulbright, Humphrey, SUSI, and all of the rest…you are so much more than the names of your exchanges.

Together, you are a force to be reckoned with, an alumni network with the numbers, the influence, and the experience to help Botswana solve its most difficult problems.

In this room, we have the intellect, motivation, and creativity to tackle youth unemployment, end gender-based violence, fight the spread of HIV, combat trafficking in persons, improve digital literacy, and just about any other problem you can imagine.

But in order to realize the true potential that is in this room, you have to work together.  As basketball legend Michael Jordan once said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”

As I have seen since my arrival in Botswana, you all have the talent and the intelligence to win “the game,” so to speak.  But, you must not forget to work together to win “the championship.”

Whatever you do, do not stop striving to be better, and do not stop making a difference.  It is your responsibility to make Botswana the great nation that YOU want it to be.

Kealeboga! Thank you.