Martha Deichler 

Local Students Meet Mary Eisenhower


Last updated 8/19/2019 at 2:27pm

Mary Eisenhower, Natalia Carmona, Joselynn Troncoso, Isabel Arteaga, and Chinyeh Hostler

Dwight Eisenhower's farewell speech in 1956 concluded with these words: " the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love." His granddaughter Mary Eisenhower, echoed these words as she delivered the welcoming speech at the opening of the Global Youth Forum in Albuquerque, New Mexico on July 20.

In the audience of over 50 students from around the nation and the world, sat three wide-eyed Borrego Springs High School sophomores, away from their tight-knit families and quite apprehensive so far from their rural and tranquil village of Borrego Springs.

Joselynn Troncoso, Natalia Carmona and Isabel Arteaga listened eagerly to Mary Eisenhower's stories about living in the White House during the Cold War and actually meeting Soviet President Khrushchev when he came to visit her grandfather. Mary told of her grandfather's wish to create diplomatic alternatives to the horrors of war he witnessed as a soldier and general during WWII.

President Eisenhower's wishes came true with the development of People to People International, bringing adults together from around the world to enhance and promote world peace and understanding. Then, 16 years ago, an endowment from Ambassador Charles and Chinyeh Hostler created the Global Youth Forum for high school students to come together for cross cultural exchanges. Mary Eisenhower is now the President of People to People International and her son, Merrill Eisenhower Atwater, serves as CEO of Global Youth Forum.

As our three students met the Eisenhower's, made new friends from around the nation and world, were exposed to international issues, experienced public speaking, and got out of their comfort zones, their little world was opened up, their minds expanded and they gained a whole new perspective on the world beyond isolated Borrego Springs. Natalia expressed their sentiments poignantly as she paraphrased a Chinese saying, "A frog in a well doesn't know the ocean."

These "out of Borrego" experiences are changing our students' perspectives, attitudes and reactions to the world they live in. They become more confident, more curious and more focused on what they can do with their lives to make our planet more inclusive and tolerant. Whether it be San Diego, India, Mongolia, Los Angeles or New Mexico, our students return with eyes wide open, with a focus on thinking globally yet acting locally, seeking opportunities for community service and wishing to pursue further education to realize their dreams.

These experiences are possible for our students only because of the kindness and generosity of individuals and groups in Borrego Springs and beyond. Chinyeh Hostler, a San Diego resident, sponsored our students for the Global Youth Forum and our local Borrego Springs Education Foundation covered the cost of transportation.

It is said that good things come in little packages. Borrego Springs is one such little package. The gifts that come from this small package are our incredible students who show much potential for making our world a better place.

Note: If you would like to donate to the Borrego Springs Education Foundation and help sponsor such experiences for our students, thank you. Inquiries can be made to Martha Deichler: or 619-948-5900.

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