Ambassador Francisco O. Mora
April 19, 2023
Good afternoon Ambassadors and delegates, committee members, Leo Rowe Fund Staff. I am pleased to be here this afternoon to celebrate Dr. Leo Rowe’s continuing legacy and impact.
Dr. Rowe devoted the greater part of his life to the noble goal of fostering accessible education for many across our region. In recalling his dedication and work, the New York Times characterized him as “a tireless worker for international friendship [who] never lost an opportunity to promote the cooperation and good feeling on which peaceful relations depend.”
And his vision lives on today through the Rowe Pan American Fund. I am proud and humbled by the many opportunities he has made happen for so many of our youth. One can only imagine what more Dr. Rowe could have accomplished if his life had not ended so tragically in 1946.
Our collective contributions to the Rowe Fund, which really are investments in our future, allow for rich returns. I know Dr. Rowe would be pleased to know that the Fund – imbued with his “heart and soul, strength and energy,” as he put it — continues to be available for those wanting to study here in the United States.
This reflects the reality that the future of the people and nations of the Americas is inextricably linked. As the Hispanic population in the United States surpasses 50 million, we increasingly recognize a shared connection and stake in this region.
The Western Hemisphere represents a thriving market of nearly a billion people. Approximately 40 percent of U.S. exports go to our Latin American and Caribbean neighbors, and Latin American exports to the U.S. are even higher. By 2060, the population in the Americas is projected to be greater than that of China, and more deeply linked to the U.S. by trade, culture, and family ties than any other region.
Friends and colleagues, I also want to commend the efforts of Ambassador Gilchrist who has chaired the Rowe Fund for many years, and is responsible for much of its ongoing success.
She dedicates a good amount of her valuable time to ensure that the Fund thrives and continues to benefit so many throughout our region. Thank you Ambassador Gilchrist.
Let me also applaud the staff of the Rowe Fund, led by Lina Sevillano, who reflect the passion and dedication of Dr. Rowe himself in ensuring the Fund’s effective implementation.
As Special Advisor to President Biden Senator Dodd stated during his remarks at the Permanent Council on Monday, our Hemisphere stands at a pivotal crossroads. A rising generation – born here in the Americas, applying the technologies of the 21st century, and enriched by the diversity of multicultural societies – stands poised to lead in the years to come.
The Rowe Fund is ideally positioned to contribute to these efforts, affording opportunity to those who will take the lead in shaping our region’s future.
As Senator Dodd said, “the United States supports the education of our region’s young people.” Our new $250,000 contribution to the Rowe Fund for supplementary scholarships is fully consistent with the commitment of the United States to foster and promote education in the Americas.
This is because enhancing access to education and productive people-to-people ties is a key component of the partnership vision underlying our policy in the Americas. It guides our 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative, which expands study abroad opportunities for students, strengthens bi-national relations and better prepares young people for the 21st century global workforce.
Senator Dodd also reaffirmed that he and President Biden, who was himself a scholarship recipient, are both advocates of Dr. Rowe’s enduring legacy. You can count on me as their in-house champion for education here at the OAS. I think you all know the deep importance I place on higher education. It is, in so many ways, the great equalizer in a region increasingly characterized by inequity.
Cheers to Dr. Rowe and his legacy on this very special day. Let’s all recommit to changing lives, connecting countries, and forging a shared future in this hemisphere. Happy 75th Anniversary!