Welcome Remarks Before President Barack Obama’s Address on Climate Policy

Georgetown University
June 25, 2013

Good afternoon and welcome to Georgetown University. I wish to thank each of you for joining us for this very special occasion.

For more than two centuries, Georgetown has played a role in convening conversations on the most important issues facing our nation and our world.

President Obama’s speech today on climate policy is a part of that long tradition, and is made even more special by the history of the place in which we gather—in front of these steps—as well as by Georgetown’s engagement in this area of scholarship and policy.

First, let me take a moment to describe our setting—and to speak about its historical significance for today’s address.

We are assembled in front of Old North, the oldest building on our campus—built in 1795.

Thirteen United States Presidents have come to this very place—having been received here and having spoken from these steps.

It’s a tradition that began with George Washington in 1797…and that continued with visits by Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Gerald Ford, and Bill Clinton (F’68), among others.

Today—we are honored to welcome the fourteenth U.S. President to this place and into this tradition.

Since our founding, Georgetown has been deeply committed to the dissemination of ideas and the creation of new knowledge. This work takes place in our classrooms, our laboratories, our lecture halls—and through discourse, like today’s on climate policy.

This is an area in which Georgetown is deeply engaged—through our work on climate research and policy, environmental scholarship, and sustainability initiatives. 

Just last year, we launched the Georgetown Environment Initiative as a University-wide effort to advance the interdisciplinary study of the environment…uniting our faculty across our campuses…and creating new opportunities for collaboration and research.

We are bringing our expertise in the environment to all aspects of this conversation—from scientific research, to national and state policy, community practices, grassroots efforts, and public and private partnerships.

Our faculty are leading efforts in each of these areas, including, for example, Vicki Arroyo, who leads the Georgetown Climate Center (GCC). The nonpartisan GCC seeks to advance climate, energy, and transportation policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help communities adapt to climate change.

In fact, just yesterday, the Center released polling that demonstrates strong bipartisan support for action by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It is within this exciting context…and within our University’s tradition of convening discourse on our world’s most pressing issues, that we are honored today to welcome back to campus, President Barack Obama. We look forward to the President’s remarks.

I wish to thank all of you for being here today.