Remarks by Deputy Assistant Secretary Todd Haskell as Prepared for Delivery American Corner Dedication Ceremony

10:30 am, American Corner, Maseru, Lesotho

Thank you Matt and good afternoon everyone.

I am delighted to be here today to dedicate the American Corner in Maseru, which focuses on bringing new technologies and digital content to young entrepreneurs, students and leaders.

On behalf of my colleagues from the State Department in Washington, I am honored to be with you to mark this very important occasion and extend a special thanks to the State Library through the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, and Culture, our host and partner. The American Corner is an environment that encourages open dialogue and builds bridges of understanding between the citizens of Lesotho and the United States.

Having visited American Corners around the globe, I would like to talk a little about the crucial role places like this one play in our work. An American Corner is more than just a library, or a meeting room, or a place to watch movies, or an internet café, even though we imagine that you will use it for all of those things. American Corners give people of all ages a window into the United States, and an opportunity to learn about our history and our culture. Visitors to the Corner can access resources to explore and better understand various aspects of American society and to learn more about the world in general. We expect many of you will use this space to learn more about your own country as well. And as you do, you will learn more about yourselves, and the opportunities the future holds for you.

But you are not the only ones who will learn here. The Americans who come to this Corner – whether they are here to teach or visit or are just passing by – will no doubt learn a tremendous amount from you. In this way, American Corners around the world offer a platform for cultural exchange and sharing ideas. These exchanges spark relationships between Americans and others that last years, or even lifetimes. These personal connections form the foundation of our relations with Lesotho and with countries around the world. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that, without spaces like this American Corner in Maseru, our work as diplomats would be much harder, and a lot less interesting.

So I thank all of you for being here today, for the interest you have shown in the United States and in the American Corner. I trust that it will serve as an invaluable resource for you in the months and years to come. As leaders and learners, community members and mentors, please know you are always welcome here. We hope to see you here often!

Thank you very much.