Convocation speaker predicts rich economic future for India

Liz Tubman

On Tuesday, Oct. 2, the Lawrence community welcomed Ambassador David Mulford from the class of 1959 back to the Lawrence campus as the featured speaker of the second convocation of the year.
Mulford is currently serving as the United States Ambassador to India after working as a White House Fellow, assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury — Office of International Affairs, and being closely involved in international economic policies during the Reagan and Bush administrations.
Ambassador Mulford was an accomplished Lawrentian during his undergraduate years and credited his liberal arts education as one of the most valuable tools that enabled him to get to where he is today.
The educational experience he received at Lawrence left him wanting to make a difference in the world and gave him a desire to actively participate in the global changes that were and still are taking place today.
The confidence Mulford gained from his liberal arts education pushed him to take advantage of the enormous opportunities found in these global changes. His involvement led him to Africa, London, Arabia, and eventually to the U.S. Treasury and becoming involved in the global market.
The ambassador also addressed two of the most common questions that he receives from students like us: How does someone become an ambassador, and what does an ambassador actually do?
For Mulford, becoming the U.S. representative to India was a natural step from his previous professional experience in the global market economy. India is one of the fastest growing and changing countries in the world today, and naturally Mulford saw the potential for significant involvement in this position as an ambassador to this country.
His position as the personal representative of the U.S. President in the host country is well respected, and he oversees 17 different agencies within the U.S Embassy in India.
Mulford described India as a country full of contrasts and “kaleidoscopic” beauty. The country has only had an independent government for about the last 60 years, and for the first 40 of those years, the government was socialist.
One of the most amazing and surprising aspects of this country is that it is home to one-sixth of the world’s population, yet it has a genuine, fully functioning democracy.
Mulford stressed the importance of our relationship with India as well as the U.S.’s role in bringing this nation back into the world economic system and making them into one of its key players. Mulford predicted that in 10 to 15 years, the United States, China and India will be the biggest world economies.
However, there are still many challenges to be overcome before India attains the status of a world power, which include agricultural and infrastructure problems. Despite these challenges, the relationship between India and the U.S. should be of prime interest to Americans — especially to college students who are about to emerge into the world.
The changes that are taking place could affect the rest of our lives as we complete our education and go out into the world armed with our valuable liberal arts education.