The Island School community was honored to welcome Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto to our campus last week.  She gave a presentation to our staff and students in Hallig House where people were overflowing onto the deck.  Themes of her presentation revolved around foreign policy, women’s rights, and sustainability. Her focus on climate change and the included political challenges was very pertinent to the studies here at the Island School. She pointed out the political challenges of working on climate change policy, but was certainly optimistic about the number of people she works with who were determined to find solutions. Students filled Hallig house

Ambassador Hamamoto was sworn in as the 18th Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva in May, 2014 by Vice President Joe Biden.  She is the second woman to serve in this position since 1958. As ambassador, Pamela Hamamoto oversees a staff of around 250 diplomats and locally employed staff representing over 15 different U.S. government agencies. The United States Mission in Geneva engages daily on issues such as refugee and migrant crises, global health, international law, economic development, internet governance, trade, climate change/the environment, arms control, and human rights.

Ambassador Hamamoto’s final message to our eager students was this: you have to make the change you want to see.  While students are here, they will be exposed to many important issues about sustainability, biology, and policy.  The education and tools to make change will be provided, but what it comes down to is personal drive.  The ambassador made it clear that the path toward large-scale change will always be demanding and sometimes frustrating, but our students are in a position of great opportunity.

Maxey presents Ambassador Hamamoto with an Island School pin

Chris Maxey closed with words about the importance of family.  Ambassador Hamamoto’s husband and two children were in attendance, and clearly were a strong support system to her demanding and integral position in world diplomacy.  Maxey connected the concept of support back to the Island School family and how these students will always be able to rely on their ties to Eleuthera and the Island School.

Thank you, Ambassador Hamaomto, for your inspirational words and time taken to ensure our students know their potential and opportunities.