In 1963, President John F Kennedy created the office of Art in Embassies, to display works of American artists in US diplomatic posts around the world. He knew that art was a powerful tool of diplomacy, a way to build bridges across border and communities, to share our ideas, traditions, and the value at the heart of our democracy, like freedom of expression, human rights, and the strength that comes from fostering a plurality of voices. The power and promise of art are no less vital today. In an increasingly contested world, and at a moment when democracy must rise to new challenges. That’s why Art in Embassies is launching the Democracy Collection, with a traveling exhibition, artist exchanges, a student competition and public dialogues. This program will spark discussions about the nature of democracy and its future. It will engage artists, diplomats and citizens to draw on democracy’s unique strengths, the power we vest in our people and their freedoms, to make our societies better from within. I hope you’ll join us in that effort, thank you.