Secretary Clinton Encourages University Graduates Not To Sit on the Sidelines

Posted by Nora Toiv
May 14, 2009

About the Author: Nora Toiv serves in the Office of the Secretary of State.

Today, New York University (NYU) graduates filled the seats of Yankee fans and NYU’s faculty, trustees, and honored guests occupied the spots of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, and Mark Teixeira.

As a Yankee fan and an NYU grad, I was ecstatic to sit in the dugout and listen to an inspiring, global call to action delivered by Secretary Clinton, NYU's commencement speaker this year.

Two years ago, I graduated from New York University in Washington Square Park. When I left NYU, I headed to Washington to work for then-Senator Clinton, and I was delighted to return to NYU with the country's newest Secretary of State.

The Secretary’s speech reminded me of why I’m working in public service and how important young people are to forming global policy. She encouraged the crowd to pursue global service and to use technology to become more involved in global politics. NYU’s dedication to study abroad programs and to attracting students from around the world made the NYU commencement ceremony the perfect venue for the Secretary’s pitch.

"We can sit on the sidelines,” she said. “We can wring our hands; we can retreat into cynicism, and we know what the results will be. We will cede the field to those whose ideologies are absolutely anathema to people of conscience and faith all over the world."

She also made the excellent point that the State Department is hiring, and I hope she inspired some of my fellow NYU grads to apply. For the members of the Class of 2009 who already have jobs, I hope they will consider becoming "citizen diplomats” and “citizen activists." The Secretary’s new Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS) internships sounded especially accessible and interesting for any young person considering the Foreign Service.

Next year NYU will hold commencement back in Washington Square Park and our Yankee Stadium days will be over. I’m grateful to have returned to NYU with the person who inspires me most, passing on her wisdom and congratulations to the class of 2009.



District Of Columbia, USA
May 13, 2009

Conor in Washington, DC writes:

nice post, Nora. glad to see you are blogging. But I confess I think the OMB's blog is cooler...

New Jersey, USA
May 14, 2009

Rosemary in New Jersey writes:

Thanks for the post, Nora. I couldn't watch the podcast today, so I was glad to see the address posted so quickly.

Congratulations to Hillary on this honor which she richly deserves (and thanks for gracing the new stadium with your presence -- we'll surely have a winning season now). Wonderful speech -- beautifully delivered.

When we bring international students in, we need to remember that aspiring teachers of EFL are much more effective when trained in the U.S. than in non-English speaking countries. Immersion in the language and culture is so important.

The science and tech students who aspire to come here need to have good English teachers in their home countries to prepare them. Financing some aspiring EFL teachers to train for that job helps prepare and attract international students in many disciplines to American universities.

In considering scholarships and grants for international students, please remember the teachers. All university applicants begin in K-12 classrooms. The ability to function in an American university depends on effective EFL teaching in those classrooms. Financing future EFL teachers is like seed money. It exponentially increases the applicants in other fields.

(OK -- that's my pitch. I won't go as far as to advertise for my own university. We can all compete for the applicants. I have to say, Hillary, you have exceptionally forward-looking plans. You always blow me away. You were awesome today.)

Maryland, USA
May 16, 2009

Patrick in Maryland writes:

Hi Ya,Nora & Netizens of The Department of States.

I hope you all are having a good week :) . I thought Hillary's speech was very encouraging, like Nora said she is doing a Great Job . It would be nice if some of the students their joined Nora at the States Department. New Idea's are always needed in our government .

Cya..Nora...Thanks for Posting....


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