Good evening, everyone.
I am delighted to host this reception in honor of the alumni of the United States Department of Agriculture’s COCHRAN Fellowship Program. Tonight, we celebrate the success of this long-standing Program that helps strengthen U.S.-Honduran bilateral ties.
As you all know, the. Cochran Program is designed to provide short term training opportunities in the United States for government officials, academic professionals, and representatives of the private sector of our closest allies and trading partners.
Since the year 2000, USDA has hosted more than 115 Honduran professionals in the United States as part of this initiative. All of you Cochran Fellow alumni can attest to how varied this program is.
Ranging from production, to marketing, trade, from quality assurance to regulatory policies, and other areas based on what you individually needed. But no matter the topic, I hope each of you had a positive experience and returned full of new ideas and tools that you have since put into practice to address food and agricultural priorities and challenges in Honduras.
The U.S. government is committed to helping our partners in the Honduran agricultural sector overcome challenges and ultimately become more resilient and successful.
The Cochran Fellowship is one of tools that we employ to follow through on this commitment.
I must say, our staff here in Honduras, as well as our university trainers, and Cochran Program Hosts in the United States, constantly tell us that they learn from all of you as well. The insights and professional knowledge that you share help them better understand your country and the kinds of challenges you face.
Sharing your experience and knowledge helps them become more globalized and sensitive to other perspectives.
This is why exchange programs such as these are so important, and why we want to foster the connections made for years to come, no matter where you go in your career trajectories.
So, thank you all for taking the time out of your busy schedules to participate in the Cochran Program, whether it was 15 years ago or just this past year. Thank you all for coming to this reception today and helping keep those ties strong. It is an honor to have all of you here tonight.