Ambassador Hale’s Climate Change Conference Remarks

  • Thanks to Senator Mushahid, Samina Baig, and PUAN Country President Faisal Malik, Haseeb Kiyani, and the planning committee for their hard work organizing this conference bringing together bright exchange alumni from nine countries, in person and by video.
  • Being part of an exchange program is a life-changing experience. I first learned this growing up in New Jersey, where my family hosted exchange students from South Asia and the Middle East.  It had a big impact on my life and opened my eyes to the rest of the world.  I am sure the time you spent in America also had an impact on each of you, as well as those who met you, who gained a more favorable impression of Pakistan.
  • Exchange and English language programs are a priority for America, here in Pakistan and throughout the region. They provide pathways to a better life for individuals and a more prosperous future for their nations.  While government-to-government relationships have their ups and downs, these ties create strong and lasting people-to-people connections between countries.  For this reason, we are proud that PUAN is the largest network of alumni of U.S. government programs in the world.
  • And that is why President Obama and Prime Minister Sharif committed to expand people-to-people and educational ties when they met last October at the White House. The United States already puts more funding toward Fulbright scholarships in Pakistan than anywhere else in the world.  We welcomed Pakistan’s commitment earlier this year to invest 2.6 billion Rupees over five years in Fulbright as well.
  • The topic you have come together to discuss, climate change, jeopardizes the security and prosperity of Pakistan and all the other countries represented here today. No one country can tackle climate change alone; we must all work together.  Governments and scientists, businesspeople and civil society must harness every aspect of a nation’s resources to address this global phenomenon.
  • America and China, the world’s two biggest greenhouse gas emitters, ratified the Paris Agreement in September. All the countries you represent have also signed on.  Congratulations on Pakistan’s ratifying of the Paris Climate Change Agreement – and on Pakistan’s commitment to tackle this global challenge.  This agreement will slow global warming and help nations affected most by rising seas and temperatures.
  • As with many of the challenges that nations face today, the impact of climate change crosses borders. The response has to be transnational.  This conference, which brings together so many young leaders from across the region, builds on your experience as exchange alumni.  It is an excellent opportunity to use your alumni network to discuss regional and global solutions to addressing climate change.
  • Thank you