TOM YUN/THE VARSITY

As part of one of her first functions in Toronto since taking office in October, US Ambassador to Canada Kelly Knight Craft hosted students and educators from various colleges and universities on November 15. 

The event, a part of International Education Week, was a joint initiative from the US Department of Education and the US State Department in an effort to encourage more international students to consider studying in the US. Among the two dozen attendees included nine U of T students, all from the Rotman MBA program.

In her speech, Craft discussed how US President Donald Trump’s administration has been committed to STEM education, and also that “the cool thing about Canada and the US is that we don’t really have a border.”

“That is so important now. I really stressed that to my children — we are global, we are no longer just Kentucky, or just California,” she continued.

Although the Trump administration announced millions of dollars in funding for STEM education in public schools in September, the Trump administration has also proposed billions of dollars in cuts to science research & development in his proposed 2018 budget.

In addition, while Craft has praised this lack of a border between the US and Canada, it remains to be seen if this will last. Trump has campaigned to strengthen the US borders and Craft’s comments also come in the midst of ongoing negotiations for NAFTA, an agreement that Trump has been critical of and has floated the idea of ending.

Prior to the event, consulate staff told The Varsity that the paper would have an opportunity to ask the Ambassador some questions. However, Craft’s speech went overtime and she left the event without taking questions. Consulate staff then asked The Varsity to send in questions via email. As of press time, the US Consulate in Toronto and the US Embassy in Ottawa did not respond to request for comment.

Craft was appointed by Trump in June and was sworn in last month. Prior to becoming ambassador, she served on the Board of Trustees for the University of Kentucky and was a prominent fundraiser for the Republican Party.

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