Remarks at the Graduation Ceremony of the ILEA Budapest

Ambassador Bell delivers her remarks at the Graduation Ceremony (Embassy photo by Attila Németh)
Ambassador Bell delivers her remarks at the Graduation Ceremony

Law Enforcement Leadership Development
Session 100

Thank you, Lieutenant Colonel Gősi, for your kind introduction.

Minister Pintér, Ambassador Brownfield, Ambassador Esmerov, Ambassador Benisheva, Colonel Farkas,  Mr. Barnett, Director Terpinas, honored guests, and most of all, ILEA Session 100 Graduates, I am so pleased to be here to celebrate your accomplishments.

From the perspective of the United States Government, and specifically from the U.S. State Department, I can’t emphasize enough how important ILEA is for my country, for your counties, for Hungary and for the entire International Community.

As law enforcement officers, your role is to help make the world a safer place.  Fighting transnational crime and terrorism are daunting challenges.  Effective training is paramount to ensuring you are more capable of achieving that goal.

In 1995, ILEA Budapest was established to provide you some of the necessary tools to combat transnational crime—and make the world safer. Since 1995, the United States, along with our Hungarian partner, has trained over 21,000 law enforcement officials from all over the world.

Effective training is critical for your profession.  Through programs like ILEA, the United States is proud to make significant investments in time, expertise and resources to better prepare law enforcement officers to fight trans-national crime.

The U.S. Embassy here in Budapest is proud to have been an integral part of ILEA since its inception.  Having seen firsthand what takes place at ILEA and learning of the success achieved by so many ILEA alumni, I am confident that my country’s investment has been well worth it.

ILEA is the model of an effective bilateral partnership.  The United States is extremely grateful to the Hungarian Government for hosting ILEA at this wonderful historic property and providing so many talented Hungarian National Police officers and Ministry of Interior employees to assist in administering the ILEA program.

I am indeed privileged to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary.  When I speak with my international colleagues I am always gratified to hear of the importance of ILEA training for their police, and the accomplishments achieved by ILEA graduates.

In the past seven weeks you have been taught by some of the best U.S. and Hungarian law enforcement instructors.  From day one and throughout the course you continually engaged and challenged the instructors.  It is this kind of exchange of ideas that provides the best learning environment for everyone.  You built long-lasting relationships with your colleagues.

Your task now is to bring back what you learned to Bulgaria, Macedonia and Hungary and carry on the proud ILEA tradition of leading the efforts to fight transnational crime.

I thank all you for what you do back home, every single day.  It takes a special commitment to accept the risks and responsibilities that come with protecting others.  You may wear different uniforms, but you share a common dedication to safeguarding your communities — and by extension, the international community.

And you truly do represent an international community.  Twenty or thirty years ago, you might have only focused on cases within your own borders.  Threats impacting Hungary didn’t necessarily impact Macedonia or the United States.  It was unlikely that a crime originating in Skopje would be connected to Chicago…or… Sofia ….or …Budapest.

But today, crime is globalized and geography no longer hinders criminal activity.  It must not hinder our cooperation.

And ILEA is all about cooperation.  It is at ILEA where we build strong partnerships to work together to confront today’s threats.

I encourage you to take the knowledge you have learned at ILEA back to your respective agencies and share that knowledge with your colleagues.  I hope you will continue the relationships you have developed with each other, your instructors and the ILEA staff.  Build upon your time here at ILEA and challenge yourselves daily to apply the lessons learned here.

I wish you success in your future endeavors, thank you and your families for the sacrifices you have made, and thank you for the opportunity to speak to you on this important occasion.