During her first visit to Kolkata on August 12 – 14, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Ambassador Kathleen Stephens highlighted several key elements of the U.S. – India strategic relationship, including our economic partnership, development agenda, and educational opportunities. Commenting on the potential of our strategic partnership, she emphasized that, “Our partnership has never been so wide or deep as it is today, and we must challenge our governments to reach the full potential of this partnership.”
On her visit to the Child In Need Institute (CINI), she underscored the U.S. Mission’s commitment to, and ongoing interest in, issues of child and maternal health and child safety.
Ambassador Stephens inaugurated Consulate Kolkata’s recycling program in partnership with the NGO South Asian Forum for Environment (SAFE) and presented them with a new piece of recycling equipment, the Green Grinder. The Consulate has worked with SAFE to designate Recycling locations around our buildings/compounds that SAFE will collect from on a weekly basis and use the Consulate’s recyclables to produce handy crafts, paper and fertilizers.
As part of her business outreach, Ambassador Stephens met with a group of industry leaders from several leading chambers of commerce in the city. Her meeting with them highlighted the role that business leaders from West Bengal play in the region’s overall economic development and to further U.S. economic and trade interests in Eastern India. She also visited the PepsiCo Frito Lay potato chip factory in Dhulagarh and witnessed how American companies can bring improvements to rural livelihoods and small-scale businesses.
During a visit to Presidency University, Ambassador Kathleen Stephens addressed students on key elements in re-imagining the U.S-India relationship focusing on our educational partnership followed by a lively question and answer session. In her remarks she highlighted that, “The commitment by both our governments to collaborate on higher education underscores our shared belief that education is the foundation of the entrepreneurship and innovation that will drive our knowledge economies and growth, and help us meet new challenges.”
Cultural highlights of her trip included a visit to Mother House where she laid a wreath to commemorate the life and teachings of Mother Theresa. She toured spectacular landmark of Kolkata, Victoria Memorial, where she saw treasures from the museum’s collection.
Ambassador Kathleen Stephens completed her visit with a courtesy call on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.