November 8, 2019
(As prepared for delivery)
I would like to begin by welcoming everyone to the U.S. Embassy and also to those following our program through live streaming.
Let me follow that welcome with a few thank yous.
Thank you to Carlotta Ventura and her staff at the American Studies Center for partnering with us on this exciting program.
Thank you to Professors Francesco Clementi and Gianluca Passarelli for organizing these seminars and for guiding the students through the next ten months of what will be a very exciting and important time in the United States.
Congratulations to all of the students here today! We received more than 500 applications from almost every region of Italy. Following a rigorous selection process, you were selected to participate in the program. This is a reflection of your exceptional scholarship and academic record.
This overwhelming response to our program reflects how much young people in Italy are interested in the United States and the continued strength of the close ties between our countries.
Elections are a fundamental expression democracy and Presidential elections in the United States are particularly exceptional. Americans have the opportunity, and I would add the solemn duty, to exercise their right to vote and elect a President, who is an executive and administrator, a leader, a commander-in-chief, and a diplomat. This electoral process reconfirms the strength and vibrancy of our democratic system.
One of the most important elements of democratic elections is that they hold leaders and policy makers accountable to the people.
One of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, said that “we do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate”.
On November 3, 2020, the whole world will be watching the U.S. elections with great interest. In the coming months, you will develop a deeper understanding of our electoral system, but more importantly, of America, its people and our shared values.
I hope that each one of you takes full advantage of this opportunity to increase your knowledge and that you will be inspired to contribute in some way to strengthening the ties between our two countries.
Best wishes for a productive and exciting program.