About the Author: Lee Satterfield serves as Deputy Chief of Protocol of the United States.
Our recently completed "Experience America" tour wasn't just for the Chiefs of Diplomatic Mission -- we invited their husbands and wives to join us in Chicago as well and experience this great American city and all it has to offer. I have to admit the day of events we assembled for the spouses was so interesting that some Ambassadors decided to join as well!
There are a few things that are quintessentially Chicago: Michael Jordan, deep dish pizza, the Willis Tour and so much more. But one person may rise above all others: Oprah Winfrey. During our visit to Chicago, we paid a visit to the Chicago icon herself and attended a taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show at the legendary Harpo Studios. Although we promised Oprah that we wouldn't reveal any details of the show, we can say that Oprah welcomed the entire group and was a very gracious host. It is a memory none of us will forget anytime soon.
After the show, we left Harpo Studios and set off for the Chicago Cultural Center to learn about After School Matters, one of our nation's most successful youth development programs led by the First Lady of Chicago Maggie Daley. Mrs. Daley led a discussion about the founding principles of After School Matters: the idea that a commitment to education and betterment begins at home and is strengthened by after school activities and the active role of adult mentors.
Mrs. Daley explained that in order for Chicago to continue to thrive, the city needs to focus on education and make sure they are giving students the tools they need to live up to their potential. The ambassadors and their spouses were extremely impressed with the program, and they shared their different experiences working with children in their countries. It was a very meaningful discussion, and I hope we will begin to see similar programs across the world in the countries of our visitors very soon. Making these connections and sharing programs like After School Matters is truly what "Experience America" is all about.