Remarks to Participants
in the YaleUniversity-MoscowStateUniversity Exchange Project
October 3, 1988
The President. Well, it's a pleasure
to greet such an impressive group of U.S. and Soviet young
people. I hope those of you from Moscow are enjoying your visit
to the United States and that you are finding
it an exciting as well as an educational experience. I had only 5 days in Moscow this summer, but my
visit to your university was a highlight I'll always remember.
it's great to see those of you here from Yale. I also had an opportunity a few
years back, to visit your campus as a Chubb fellow. It's a warm memory,
particularly when contrasted with some of my visits to other campuses back in
the 1960's, which were, shall we say, even warmer. [Laughter] But that's all
history, and we don't want to give our Soviet friends the wrong impression.
perhaps some of you have already told your Russian friends that Yale was
founded 75 years before our Republic was. And its motto, ``Luxetveritas,'' sprang from a
belief by Yale's founders that not only the pursuit of knowledge but also the
spiritual insights of religion were an important part of education. That's why
Yale added ``lux'' on to Harvard's motto, which was
simply ``veritas.'' And they've been trying to lick
Harvard ever since. [Laughter]
so, I'm delighted this exchange could be taking place between two such
important centers of learning in the world. Believe me,
having Yale and MoscowStateUniversity students here today
fulfills a longstanding goal of this administration and a personal wish of
mine. Some of you may remember what I said to the Nation before I left for that
first summit with General Secretary Gorbachev in Geneva: that if Soviet youth
could attend American schools and universities they could learn firsthand the
spirit of freedom that rules our land and understand fully that we do not wish
the people of the Soviet Union any harm.
if American youth could make similar visits, they would gain firsthand
knowledge of life in the U.S.S.R. and, most important, a better realization
that we're all God's children and, all of us, brothers and sisters in peace.
Everything that's happened since then convinces me we were right about this. In
the 3 years since Geneva, where we concluded a
new exchange agreement, we've had an explosion of people-to-people contacts.
American musicians and farmers and baseball players visit the U.S.S.R., and
Soviet musicians and farmers and hockey players visit America.
than 2 weeks ago, more than 200 Americans from all walks of life spent 5 days
mingling and interacting with Soviet citizens in Tbilisi. Youth exchanges have
blossomed more than any others. The university pairing program, from which your
project was the model, now includes some 20 pairs of universities. And last
week in Moscow, we reached an
agreement to begin a high school pairing project that will enable even younger
Soviets and Americans to visit and experience each others' countries.
some of you who heard me speak at MoscowStateUniversity on May 31st may recall
what I said then: that as important as these people-to-people exchanges are,
they still require official interference or coordination. Nothing would please
me more than to see official sanctions become unnecessary, to see travel
between East and West become so routine that Soviet university students could
take a month off in the summer, put packs on their backs, and like so many
American students do, travel from country to country in Europe or North America
with only a passport check in between. Today this is a dream, but it's not an
impossible dream. It's a dream for your generation to seize upon and transform
in any case, it's wonderful to see all of you here today. And I can look at
you, and I can't tell which are which. Last week at the United Nations I noted
the strides that have been made by that organization in addressing such
concerns as human rights and regional conflicts. And I think exchanges such as
this can assist dramatically in that same process, and
I want all of you to know how much we're pulling for the success of this
by the way, I've heard that Mark Twain is a very popular writer in the Soviet Union. And I am reminded he
once said, ``It is better to be a young June bug than an old bird of
paradise.'' Well, you young June bugs are getting together, and frankly, some
of us older birds think that's just fine. So, welcome to the White House, God
bless all of you. And now I understand that you have chosen two, Dimitri and Alex, to say a few words.
Ptchelintsev. Mr. President, we have brought with us
our best recollections about your recent visit to Moscow and about our
experience of listening to you personally when you spoke before our students in
the university. And we are very glad to observe the improvement in relations
between our countries, and on our part, we pledge to do our best to maintain
this positive process in our relations. Thank you, Mr. President.
The President. Well, that's very good
to hear. Thank you.
Ptchelintsev. Thank you.
The President. Alex?
Mishkin. Mr. President, on behalf of YaleUniversity, all the students
there, and students around the country, I'd like to thank you personally for
what you've done to improve relations between our country and the Soviet Union. And I think that on
cultural exchanges such as these, all of us have collected memories that we
will treasure for the rest of our lives. And finally, if you are ever in the
area of New Haven, you are certainly more
than welcome to come back to Yale. [Laughter]
right. Well, thank you. And again, I must leave and go back to work. But
I just want to tell all of you here -- I've said repeatedly, and you can all be
missionaries with regard to the experience that you've all had among your
colleagues and the other young people in each of our countries -- and that is,
I've said if all the young people of the world could get to know each other,
there'd never be another war. So, carry on, and God bless all of you. Thank
Note: The President
spoke at in the Roosevelt Room
at the White House. DimitriPtchelintsev
and Alexander Mishkin were participants in the