On Wednesday, November 9, America awoke to a surprising outcome in our Presidential election as Donald J. Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States.
Considered one of the most divisive campaigns in our nation’s history, and notwithstanding a popular vote that was nearly a dead heat, the outcome is clear – many Americans were seeking a change in the direction of their country and their voices were heard through the democratic process that we hold so dear.
The results of the election may have left a lot of folks with many questions, given the President-elect's platform on international engagement. Yet, at CIEE we have great confidence in the democratic process that will shape and deliver any policy changes that come with a new presidency. We also believe that post-election conversations and actions are often less severe than what took place during the contentious debates of the election cycle.
Since 1947, our mission has been to bring together people from different backgrounds, to support programs that facilitate harmonious relations between all people from all nations. I am most confident that our CIEE global family has many supporters and stakeholders in communities across the country who come from different backgrounds, who indeed are Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Together, we draw on our differences and common values to do the good work we do every day.
While some may be dismayed by the outcome of the election, we should all embrace what makes America so strong – our wonderful democratic process that entitles us to speak our minds, select our leaders, and work together to achieve our dreams. In her concession speech, Secretary Hillary Clinton was gracious and hopeful of a better future, inviting all Americans to move forward together, and proclaiming that the American dream is big enough for everyone. In a similar tone of reconciliation and call for unity, President-elect Trump complimented Secretary Clinton for her campaign, shared his respect for her lifelong service to our country, and pledged to work hard for all Americans, regardless of background.
As the conversations begin in the new administration regarding international education and exchange, please know that CIEE and its partners will be at the table ensuring our voices are heard and that the important work of international exchange will continue its long and strong legacy of contributing to global harmony. Indeed, our mission to help people from all countries and cultures embrace differences and celebrate common ground has never been more important.
James P. Pellow, Ed. D.
CIEE President and CEO