|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks at Signing of Education for Development and Democracy Initiative, (EDDI) Agreement, University of Botswana
December 11, 2000, Gaborone, Botswana
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much Madam Vice Chancellor, Mr. Deputy Vice Chancellor, distinguished ministers, deans, directors, and members of the academic community-it is wonderful to be here. This is my natural setting and probably a future one. (laughter)
The University of Botswana is recognized in the region and beyond as a first-rate institution. Your Staff Development Program has a long tradition of partnership with U.S. institutions. And we are proud of the role of the Fulbright Program in sending U.S. scholars to Botswana, and providing opportunities for University researchers. I understand that we have a few Fulbrights here this morning.
The agreement we are about to sign will expand and extend this partnership. And it is concrete proof of the United States commitment to Africa.
In 1998, President Clinton came here and pledged to strengthen educational systems and democratic institutions. Seizing on an idea of Malian President Konare, the Administration launched the Education for Development and Democracy Initiative-a collaborative program of the State Department, USAID, Peace Corps, and African education ministers.
U.S.-EDDI Coordinator Sara Moten is here today. And I want to pay tribute to her exceptional efforts in making the EDDI vision a successful reality.
EDDI is a partner-led program that makes good on President Clinton's pledge. It invests an additional $50 million annually in sustainable partnerships, girls education, and technology for education. It unites African and American education and democracy organizations. These programs educate children and teachers, mobilize communities, try out new business models, and extend quality technology and educational services to the whole society.
EDDI is primarily a catalyst that will gradually expand the availability of technology, enabling partnerships to take hold, so they pay dividends well into the future.
Today's EDDI grant will support projects in four areas: environmental science, women in science, capacity building in research and development, and instructional technology. It is designed, in part, to help the University identify and build relationships with U.S. universities for teachers' exchange and research. Maybe you'll have me back.
This agreement will help Botswana's efforts to enhance education. And it will deepen our relationship to the region and to Africa.
With democracy and education programs in more than 40 sub-Saharan countries, the United States is helping citizens from all walks of life make the institutions of civil society more effective.
We are also helping to build strong allies to combat threats to our mutual security. These are partners who will invest in healthcare, fight the spread of disease, and foster environmentally sustainable development. And I'd like you to know that I called these issues national security. We now consider these threats security threats which I think in the minds of many raises them to a much higher since security is always one of those words that elicits that kind of feeling.
These activities are crucial for fostering the stability and investor confidence upon which trade and development depend. And this is the vision at the heart of the Clinton Administration's commitment to Africa.
Top-rate education, responsive and accountable government, security, trade, and growth-our shared vision for Africa's future.
Before we proceed to the signing, I really want to thank everybody very much for your attention today. I am very pleased to visit Botswana. I haven't been here before which is unfortunate for me. I had always felt a kinship to this country for a rather peculiar reason which is that I have sat on the Board of Trustees of Williams College which is one of the colleges that has a long history here with one of their provosts who kind of became, he at least considered himself, the father of economic development here, Steve Lewis, so I'm very, very glad to be here. It's been a missing piece in my trips to Africa and I also wanted to come here on what has been billed as my last trip to Africa - who knows? (laughter)
But I especially wanted to come to show to Africa and to the American public that our relationship with Africa and American policy towards Africa are not optional. They have to be very much central to our foreign policy. I am very, very glad to be here in Botswana with you today and to have the opportunity to sign this (document).
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