September 11 will always be a difficult day for our family. However, we remain firm in our commitment to looking forward. We have been bolstered by each of you – friends, family, and many more whom we have never had the opportunity to meet. Your strength, your support, your funny stories, and your enthusiasm to change the world have inspired us.
We are touched and grateful.
One year ago this week, in response to a tremendous outpouring of support from around the world, we launched the J. Christopher Stevens Fund. The mission of the Fund is to support activities that build bridges between the people of the United States and those of the broader Middle East. This was the mission to which Chris dedicated his life.
We are grateful for each contribution received – from friends and family, from the Government of Libya, and from people near and far moved by Chris and his story.
In the coming weeks and months, we will launch a number of innovative programs and initiatives. The focus of our activity is on young people, both here in America and across the Middle East and North Africa.
Chris served in the Peace Corps in Morocco, and his death was felt acutely by the Peace Corps family. Last year, in response to numerous queries from returned Peace Corps Volunteers during Peace Corps Week, we encouraged returned volunteers to fan out across America and speak with youth about their experiences abroad. We are now working with the Peace Corps to expand their reach into schools and communities across this country.
Today the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where Chris studied as an undergraduate, announces the Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens Memorial Fund for Middle Eastern Studies, endowed by the J. Christopher Stevens Fund. Our purpose is to encourage and inspire students in Middle Eastern and North African scholarship.
Later this fall, together with a coalition of public and private partners, we will launch the J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative. This initiative will embrace the power of technology to fuel the largest ever increase in people-to-people exchanges between the United States and the broader Middle East, vastly increasing the number and diversity of youth who have a meaningful cross-cultural experience as part of their formative education, and reaching over one million youth by 2020.
Tonight in Piedmont, CA, where Chris spent his teen years, the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Education will vote to name the Piedmont High library the Ambassador Christopher Stevens Memorial Library. Chris was inspired by the Piedmont High School motto “Achieve the Honorable”.
Later this year, the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, from which Chris graduated in 1989, will host the Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens Symposium. The event will emphasize law and public policy as used in practice to advance global understanding and peace, principles to which Chris was committed.
There have been more awards bestowed, and honors given, in Chris’ memory than we could have ever thought possible. But as we’ve said before, we have received letters from thousands of people all over the world who were touched by Chris’ example. His openness touched a chord in their hearts.
Chris would have wanted to be remembered for that.
The Family of Chris Stevens