Ambassador Donald Lu Remarks at the Civic Education Project Anti-Corruption Event

Dear students and teachers, good morning.

Corruption ends in a society when its people finally decide they have had enough and they take action.  Often this is led by young people.

When I worked in Kyrgyzstan 14 years ago, students in schools and universities faced terrible problems with corruption.  Everyone had to pay for grades.  Only the rich kids received good grades, but never studied.  Normal students worked hard but received bad grades or never graduated.  Corruption stole their education from them.

Those students said, “Enough!  No more.  It stops with me.”  They formed clubs and signed statements that they will never trade a bribe for their education.  The teachers and school directors were furious.  The Ministry of Education was in chaos.

But the President of Kyrgyzstan, Oscar Akayev, was a former physics professor.  He saw that change was coming and decided to support this student movement.  Even as his own ministers, rectors and teachers worked against the students, President Akayev went from university to university showing his solidarity with students.  Soon more people joined the movement.  Those initial few students altered the course of their country.  This is how change happens.

I want to thank all of you for the leadership you have shown in Shkodra, Kukes, Elbasan, Berat, Vlora, Lezha, Gjirokastra and Tirana.  I want to thank your brave teachers for their support and I want to thank IDM, particularly Shefqet Shyti, for his vision and courage.

 Times are changing.  Corrupt politicians, government officials, judges and prosecutors are afraid.  Do you know who they are afraid of?

They are afraid of you!