SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you very much, Imane. Thank you so much for bringing us all together and coordinating this, and also your work supporting STEM curriculums and work in general. I’ve read a little bit about each of you. This is a really outstanding group, and it’s just a pleasure and an honor to be with you today. And I’m really anxious to hear from each of you, but what you have here is the present and future of STEM. Whether it’s climate change, whether it’s global health, whether it’s agriculture, whether it’s aerospace engineering, you are already working on some of the most important issues of the day, and that’s a very powerful thing.
You’re starting pretty young in your careers, but I also know from what I’ve read – and I want to hear more about that – that you’re already also mentoring other people, and that’s extraordinary, because being able to pass on your experience, your knowledge, and also your support makes a big, big difference. It has to be a continuous chain. And somehow, apparently, you’re doing all of this on top of your schoolwork, so that’s remarkable.
Now, I’m not sure which one of you – one of you rescheduled an exam to be here?
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Now, I don’t know if you can get credit for this or something, but – and I hope I’m not in trouble with the teacher, but thank you for doing that. If it were up to me, you would get extra credit for being here, but we’ll see what we can do about that.
And then I think some of you are going to actually be studying at American universities in the fall. So where are you headed?
PARTICIPANT: I’m going to (inaudible) in the fall.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: That’s great. Congratulations on that. They’re lucky to have you, (inaudible).
The other thing that’s really striking to me is that you are all alumni of our exchange programs, and this is incredibly powerful evidence to me once again of the importance of those programs. I think it’s one of the single best investments that the United States Government makes. We’ve had a pretty good ability over the years to identify the most talented people in rising generations in different countries – you’re a wonderful example of that – and to develop relationships with people that hopefully will go on for generations. And maybe even more important, besides whatever benefits you get, skills you learn, I suspect the connections among you, the networks that you develop through those programs and friends that you may have made either here from our embassy community, or in the United States, will last a lifetime.
But mostly I’m really eager to hear from you because, I think as powerful examples of women in STEM, you have a great story to tell others, to inspire others, but beyond that to really make a difference in the world on the issues that affect the lives of people everywhere, whether it’s here in Morocco, the United States, or anywhere else.
So I want to stop talking and get you to start talking because I want to hear from you. Thank you.