The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
February 11, 2006

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at a Book Donation
University Of Turin
Turin, Italy


11:38 A.M. (Local)

MRS. BUSH: Thank you all, thank you very much. And thank you, Rector Pelizzetti. Thank you for your warm welcome. Professor Rhoda, members of the Academic Senate, faculty and students. It's a privilege to be at the prestigious and beautiful University of Turin.

As a librarian, I especially admire your magnificent library, with works dating back hundreds of years. I know you're proud of this great collection.

We're in Turin today, of course, because of the Winter Olympics, 2006. We saw the magnificent opening ceremony last night, and I'm so honored to have the chance to head our delegation, the delegation from the United States to the Winter Olympics.

I'd like to introduce you to another member of our delegation, our Ambassador, Ron Spogli, Ambassador to Italy from the United States. (Applause.) Five members of our delegation are Olympians, former United States Olympians, and they didn't join me here today, but two other members of our delegation did -- Roland Betts, who happens to be the Senior Fellow of Yale University -- (applause) -- and Brad Freeman, who is on the Stanford University Board. (Applause.) And then our daughter, Barbara. (Applause.)

We've been very warmly welcomed by the people of Italy, especially here in Turin. The Winter Olympics 2006 have found a great home here in this city.

The University of Turin has had a special relationship with Olympic organizers. University facilities have been made available to Olympic officials. Seminars have been held here at the University to discuss the importance of sports in culture. And many students are volunteering to help athletes, delegations, media and guests feel welcome. And I particularly want to thank the American Studies students who are helping our U.S. Mission in Italy. (Applause.)

The Olympics bring athletes from many countries who have a unique opportunity to learn more about each other. And cultural understanding and dialogue are also at the heart of the university experience. The American Studies program at the University of Turin provides students a deeper understanding of American history, literature, arts and culture. And when your students visit America, at schools such as the City University of New York and the University of California at Santa Barbara, American students and citizens gain a better understanding of Italian life, language and culture.

I encourage the students in the new Master's Degree program in American Studies to come to the United States for a semester. Let us show you the same hospitality that you've so kindly shown us.

I'm honored, on the occasion of the Winter Olympics 2006 in Turin, to present a collection of American books for the American Studies program here in Turin. This collection includes more than 200 books in American literature, history, politics, art and music. These scholarly works and novels and collections of poetry offer enjoyable and thought-provoking reading. We hope that students here can deepen their understanding of the United States and our people with this collection of books.

Our shared history and our shared values have formed a deep and abiding friendship between Italians and Americans. The future will bring our two peoples even closer.

Thank you for your warm welcome to Italy. May the 2006 Winter Olympics be a great success for the people of Turin. Grazie, and God bless. (Applause.)

END 11:46 A.M. (Local)

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