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Peters speech at reception for Fulbright Scholars

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs


14 June 2006
Speech Notes

Peters speech at reception for Fulbright Scholars
Delivered at 5pm, 14 June
Banquet Hall, Parliament

Minister Maharey, Mr Burnett, Fulbright grantees and families, Fulbright Award sponsors and Fulbright alumni; ladies and gentlemen.

It is a pleasure to be here today to present the Fulbright Awards, an integral and long-present facet of the bonds between New Zealand and the United States.

This relationship is productive and forward-looking, and is based on shared values, a strong belief in liberty, justice, human rights, and the rule of law.

We stand firmly together as partners in bilateral dealings, regional endeavours and international undertakings. The New Zealand government is committed to the relationship with a key objective being the strengthening of contacts between the two countries.

Without doubt, the Fulbright Award winners here tonight will play a role in deepening our friendship with the United States. The significant contribution of the Fulbright program, combined with the strong and reciprocated support and commitment of the two governments, has added an important dimension to our relationship nearly sixty years on since the program began.

The vitality in our relationship comes from the many links between our peoples. Thousands of New Zealanders and Americans have lived, studied or worked in each other’s country, gaining an appreciation of each other’s lifestyles and traditions.

People-to-people ties underpin our political and economic relationship. For over a century and a half they have provided the foundation for its growth.

Nowhere is this more significant than in field of the education. The Fulbright Program, in particular, has provided our countries’ brightest students with opportunities to pursue graduate study on each other’s shores, enriching both our nations in the process.

It was Senator J. William Fulbright who said: “Educational exchange is not merely one of those nice but marginal adjuncts of international affairs but rather, from the standpoint of future world order, probably the most important and potentially rewarding of our foreign policy activities.”

Fulbright New Zealand has been an integral part of New Zealand relations with the United States. Since the establishment of the Fulbright Program in New Zealand in 1948, there have been more than 1300 New Zealand and 1100 American recipients of these prestigious awards.

To those who will receive awards tonight, in receiving a Fulbright Award you join other notable New Zealand Fulbright Scholars including Nobel Prize winning scientist Alan MacDiarmid; writers Bill Manhire and Roger Hall; former Prime Minister Sir Wallace (Bill) Rowling; Dame Marie Clay; Dame Anne Salmond, and International Court of Justice judge Sir Kenneth Keith.

There is great value in talented New Zealanders studying overseas. The contacts and networks you build with other future leaders from the United States and the rest of the world will benefit you individually but these networks combined with the opportunity to study and conduct research with leading professors and researchers will also benefit New Zealand in the longer term.

Similarly, let us welcome the American recipients of Fulbright Awards who are already in New Zealand. Your time in New Zealand will be challenging, but make sure that you take advantage of the many opportunities that New Zealand has to offer, to ensure that your time here will be productive and fulfilling both personally and professionally.

We must also acknowledge the alumni, sponsors and others involved in the Fulbright Program. Your support and ongoing commitment to this program illustrates the strength, vitality and enduring nature of the Fulbright Program and we hope that in future years we will see many of this year’s Fulbright grantees returning to support and share the knowledge and experience they have gained.

The people gathered here tonight illustrate that more that nearly sixty years on, the Fulbright Program in New Zealand has lived up to its founder's vision of promoting friendship, knowledge and understanding between the people of the US and New Zealand.

Thank you.

ENDS

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