Ambassador Tulinabo Mushingi
Sedina Limamou Laye High School
December 4, 2018
Director, Sedina Limamou Laye High School
Teachers and staff
Thank you for the warm welcome. It is a pleasure to be with you today.
As U.S. Ambassador to Senegal, I have had the opportunity to meet young people across the country, and I have been impressed by their level of engagement in their schools and communities.
And this has made me think about what it means to be an engaged citizen.
One thing that immediately comes to mind is what you are already doing: studying hard. Education will shape your life and help you start a career. So, I would like to recognize your hard work and that of your teachers and administrators.
Doing well in your studies is an important goal, but another important part of becoming an engaged citizen also means being involved and giving back to your communities.
For example, after seeing children forced to beg on the streets and their poor living conditions, a group of university students and young doctors in Dakar created an association to provide medical care to child beggars and raise awareness in their communities about how to prevent forced child begging. The U.S. Embassy is proud to support them in their important work.
But being a force for positive change doesn’t always have to be on a community level. Individuals can make a real difference. And it can start with how we treat each other and how we model equality.
At the heart of this is gender equality. But gender equality can be undermined by harassment, discrimination, abuse, and not ensuring equal opportunity for both boys and girls.
We are in the middle of an annual international campaign called 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. Gender-based violence denies women and girls their equality and control over their lives. It also stunts the progress of a society as a whole.
Sustained economic development is not possible without the full and active participation of women and girls. This is the case in all countries around the world.
To the young girls and boys here, I encourage you to be advocates for gender equality. We often think about how to achieve gender equality by the role that women and girls can play in standing up for their rights.
This is, of course, critical to the young women here today. I hope that you will continue to advocate for your rights and equality.
But equally important is for men and boys to play an active role in promoting gender equality and stopping gender-based violence. In short, to the young men here, as engaged citizens, we must be allies in the fight for gender equality.
All of us here, men and women, have the ability to make a difference in our lives and in our communities.
My challenge to each of you is to decide how you are going to make a difference and help Senegal to be a more equal place for everyone.
I wish you all the best in your studies.
Thank you for having me and now I’m happy to take any questions.