Remarks to the National Geographic Education Foundation

*** As Prepared for Delivery ***

Mr. Noonan, Dr. Edelson, thank you for recognizing my love of geography with this wonderful award. Any photo of Alaska is beautiful, but one taken by a National Geographic photographer is to be treasured.

I am delighted that the National Geographic Society and the National Geographic Education Foundation are working to ensure that each child in America has access to the very best geographic education possible. I am pleased to be able to assist in that effort.

The study of geography teaches us about more than learning how to read a map, though that is important. It's about how the terrain depicted by that map influences us and our neighbors across the globe. Understanding why and how people are the way they are because of where a river or mountain range or natural resource is located is an important component of our nation's competitiveness and national security.

Studying geography gives us a more thorough understanding of our global economy, helps us to diffuse disputes between countries and regions, and guides us toward sharing the resources on which we all depend.

Our children-like my boys Nic and Matt who are here with me this evening-are more likely to successfully interact with their world if they understand how we are all connected to one another. Yet, fewer than 9 percent of our social studies teachers teach geography. Many teachers don't even have up to date maps and atlases.

As a proud co-sponsor of the Teaching Geography is Fundamental Act, I hope we can change that. Again, thank you for all you do to share the wonder of our world and make it more meaningful for us all.

# # #