Remarks by Jonathan Kessler, Director – North India Office, U.S. Embassy

The American Center, New Delhi, India

(As Prepared for Delivery)

Thank you for coming this evening to share this special event with us.  We are very pleased to introduce all of you to the North India Office – a new team within the Embassy.  Our focus will be to strengthen and expand the relationship between the United States and the Indian states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand along with the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Chandigarh Union Territory.

We say that we are a new team, but, frankly, most of you here tonight know that many of us have been here working with you, in North India, for a very long time.

So, to be honest, the people are not new, but the emphasis is…I’ll explain.

As the U.S. relationship with India strengthens — our partnership becomes more diverse and deeper.  You can pick up the paper to see that Americans and Indians are doing more together.   Expanding our work with state and local governments and civil society organizations is one very important way we strengthen that cooperation.   We know that there are 355 million people living in North Indian states.  The American partnership with India should involve them as much as it involves the Prime Minister and the Government in New Delhi.

So, our North India Team will be reaching out to you and your colleagues to do that.

Let me give you some examples of how we are doing this.

This year, we have begun projects to enrich skills development efforts in Uttar Pradesh.  We are promoting smart city development in Allahabad and Ajmer.  And we just finished a series of workshops in Delhi, Chandigarh, Jaipur, and Lucknow where local experts and leaders on air pollution worked with American counterparts to share ideas on how North Indian states can improve air quality.

That’s what we have done so far, but we also have a full slate coming up.
In the next few months we will be exhibiting a special set of photographs from Indian communities in America promoting the U.S. and India together as multicultural societies.  We will sponsor a seminar in Jaipur to share ideas about boosting economic growth featuring representatives of our most successful American investment destinations, and we will be partnering with Indian organizations to help combat gender-based violence. While we are putting together these programs, our office has also helped the Embassy expand this outreach to every state in North India by meeting with businesses, NGOs, students and teachers, officials, farmers, nurses, policemen, and many others.

Our goal is to understand North India better so that we can make our partnership more robust and vibrant.

Besides reaching out to you in North India, we also will get to know you through our American Center.   We are proud of this building as a programming space where we can share ideas and learn from each other.

We will continue to produce the popular films, lectures, hackathons, exhibitions and events right here.

We have all been working very hard over the past nine months to make the North India Office a reality.  During that time, and for a few months before, we have loved being on the road in this vibrant part of India.

When travelling, it is important to take some time off just to look around.  We thought it might be fun for you to share some of the pictures we’ve taken. On the walls of the room here are some of those photographs. They show what a great place North India is to work and live.

Thank you for coming, and we look forward to working with you!