President Obama Calls for New Era of Global Engagement in UN Speech

September 25, 2009

By Katie O'Connell

This past week, we watched leaders taking turns on the world stage at the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.  This was President Obama’s first chance to address the UN as he continues his mission to reintroduce America to the world and call for a new era of engagement:

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The United States stands ready to begin a new chapter of international cooperation, one that recognizes the rights and responsibilities of all nations.  So with confidence in our cause and with a commitment to our values, we call on all nations to join us in building the future that our people so richly deserve.

President Obama also articulated America’s own pledges and values for the future:

And I pledge that America will always stand with those who stand up for their dignity and their rights, for the student who seeks to learn, the voter who demands to be heard, the innocent who longs to be free, the oppressed who yearns to be equal.

Throughout his speech, President Obama emphasized the role of responsibility the United States and the world must share in our common pursuit of peace and justice for the next generation:

The choice is ours.  We can be remembered as a generation that chose to drag the arguments of 20th century into the 21st, that put off hard choices, refused to look ahead, failed to keep pace because we defined ourselves by what we were against instead of what we were for. Or we can be a generation that chooses to see the shoreline beyond the rough waters ahead; that comes together to serve the common interests of human beings and finally gives meaning to the promise embedded in the nation given to this institution, the United Nations.

NAFSA: Association of International Educators shares and pledges its support for President Obama's commitment to a new era of international cooperation.  As we say in our policy statement, Renewing America's Global Leadership:

Our country, and indeed the entire world, welcomes the path our new president has charted - one that seeks to return America to its core principles, to reaffirm our commitment to extending a hand of friendship and understanding to the global community, and to assert our shared humanity in the advancement of peace in our world.

NAFSA believes that living and learning across borders develops the foundations for dialogue and partnership with the rest of the world that are necessary to create the conditions for lasting global peace, security, and well-being.


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