Good evening, Director Ellman, Director Sebastien, Director Le cour Grandmaison, Rabat American School staff, students, fellow Ambassadors.
It is a pleasure to be here this evening to participate in the opening of the Rabat American School Model United Nations.
I’ve now served in Morocco for almost a year and it has been quite an eventful one. I arrived just in time for the second annual Strategic Dialogue between Morocco and the United States. The Strategic Dialogue is a mechanism through which once a year, our two countries come together to review our cooperation in the political, economic, security and educational and cultural spheres. Secretary of State John Kerry came to Morocco to co-chair the Dialogue and I presented my accreditation to King Mohammed VI during this time as well. So, I started off with a bang, and the pace really hasn’t slowed.
Since my arrival in Morocco, the United States and Morocco have conducted a major joint military exercise, the African Lion in Agadir. The United States has participated in Morocco’s air show. Prime Minister Benkirane has traveled to the United States to participate in the White House’s African Leaders Summit and Morocco has hosted the Global Entrepreneurship Summit which Vice President Biden attended.
So as you can see, our two countries have a rich and dynamic bilateral relationship and the U.S. mission is composed of approximately 400 Moroccan and American staff whose job it is to maintain and build upon that relationship.
Maintaining a good bilateral relationship takes work. Even among two countries like the U.S. and Morocco which have a long history of friendship and partnership. So imagine the work it takes to manage relationships between all of the nations throughout the world. Well, you don’t have to imagine, because you are actually experiencing a bit of what that is like today!
Following the devastation of the Second World War, nations from around the world realized that to meet global challenges- preventing wars, maintaining peace and improving the lives of their citizens, they needed to work together.
And as a result, on October 24, 1945, the United Nations charter was created, providing a forum for dialogue and concerted action.
This year the United Nations will celebrate its 70th anniversary and it has grown to 193 members and over thirty agencies and affiliated organizations. Just a few of its achievements include providing food to over 90 million people per year, helping over 17 million asylum seekers and refugees since 1945 and contributing to cutting almost in half the mortality rates for children under five.
The work of the United Nations is truly inspirational and the institution of the Model U.N. is an excellent way to understand how the delegates work together to accomplish these achievements.
But more importantly, it provides the opportunity for you to think about the many challenges we face today. There is no need to wait until you graduate to start making a difference.
The knowledge and skills that you have developed through this program will last you for a lifetime. You are learning the skills of negotiation, preparing speeches, drafting resolutions and active listening.
Each of you have studied your countries and the issues that you will discuss in depth. I encourage you to extend that effort to other countries and the issues in the news that you see and read. Go deeper, understand the issues and how you can make a difference.
I’ve now had the pleasure of serving in Morocco for almost a year and among the many interesting and exciting experiences that I have had, I have had the pleasure of meeting young Moroccans and Americans who are positively contributing to their communities and the world- whether through sharing their research, promoting social entrepreneurship, uniting youth across borders through social media, or organizing young people to provide services to those in need in their communities.
With the technological advances that we have seen in the last decade, this is a terrific time to be a young person and I envy you the opportunities that you have and will have in the future to connect with your peers throughout the world and to work together to make a change in the world.
I know that as part of this event, you are making a difference in your community now though raising support for the Ibn Sina children’s hospital and that is a laudable initiative.
So congratulations to you all on this event. I know that it is the culmination of much hard work on the part of the organizers and the delegates. I wish you a very good program and have fun!