Study Abroad Alumni International — SAAI

A Community of Global Citizens

Cossolotto to Study Abroad Alumni: “Globalize Your Locality” Keynote Speech by Matthew Cossolotto – aka “The Podium Pro” – Published in Vital Speeches of the Day

Matthew Cossolotto’s keynote – “Globalize Your Locality” – was published in Vital Speeches of the Day. Cossolotto is founder of Study Abroad Alumni International and a former aide to House Speaker Jim Wright and Congressman Leon Panetta.
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PRLog (Press Release)Jan 27, 2011 – Yorktown Heights, NY – Matthew Cossolotto’s keynote address – “Globalize Your Locality” – delivered to the Wisconsin Study Abroad Re-Entry Conference was published in Vital Speeches of the Day (VSOTD).  Cossolotto is the founder of Study Abroad Alumni International and a former aide to House Speaker Jim Wright and Congressman Leon Panetta. 

Other prominent speakers published in this issue of VSOTD include President Barack Obama, former Vice President Dick Cheney, Senator John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

In his speech, Cossolotto urged study abroad alumni to “Globalize Your Locality.”  He also called on returning study abroad students to help reduce our global awareness deficit and to “think global, act global, and be global.”

“We hear a lot of talk these days about deficits,” Cossolotto said in his speech to a conference for returning study abroad students.  “Especially about the federal budget deficit and the trade deficit.  But we don’t hear anything about what I call the ‘Global Awareness Deficit.’  I hope you’ll use your international experience to help us reduce the Global Awareness Deficit here in the United States.”

In his remarks, Cossolotto retraced his experience as a study abroad student at the University of Lund, Sweden, and linked that experience to events in his career as a congressional aide and as the author of two books on European politics.  He also linked his study abroad experience to his interest in alternative voting systems and his role as founding president of the Center for Voting and Democracy (

Cossolotto also recounted his service on the 2003 NAFSA task force on education abroad.  “At some point during the work of this task force,” Cossolotto told the audience, “I had one of those ‘aha’ moments.   An idea literally hit me out of the blue.  What about forming an international association of study abroad alumni?  That idea eventually crystallized into the formation of Study Abroad Alumni International.”

“Only about one percent of American undergraduates study abroad,” Cossolotto said in his speech.  “That’s a paltry number.  And only about 27 percent of the American people own a passport.  A 2006 survey revealed that only 14 percent of 18 to 24-year olds thought speaking another language is a necessary skill.  Only 14 percent!  We need to do more to globalize our localities in the U.S. and around the world.  And study abroad alumni like you have a special role to play in the effort.”

In describing the goals of Study Abroad Alumni International, Cossolotto told the students:  “We want to build a community of global citizens.  Our main goals include providing financial assistance to students who want to study abroad but don’t have the money to do so.  By pooling our resources, with our membership dues and other contributions to SAAI, we will be able to help others study abroad.  We also want to showcase the study abroad experiences of well-known, influential, even famous study abroad alumni.  These alumni could serve as role models for others to study abroad.”

Here’s a link to the PDF copy of Cossolotto’s keynote presentation: ….  Visit for more information about Vital Speeches of the Day.

Study Abroad Alumni International (SAAI) is an international membership organization dedicated to fostering international friendship and understanding, creating a more peaceful world, and building a community of global citizens by serving the worldwide study abroad alumni community, highlighting study abroad alumni success stories, promoting study abroad opportunities, and providing financial support for study abroad participants.  SAAI is incorporated as a nonprofit organization in New York.  For more information, visit;
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About Matthew Cossolotto – aka “The Podium Pro”
Creator of “Make A Promise Day” (May 4th), Matthew Cossolotto is an author, guest speaker, CEO-level speechwriter, and speech coach. A former aide to House Speaker Jim Wright and Congressman Leon Panetta, Matthew also served as a top speechwriter at MCI Communications, Pepsi-Cola International, and GTE. He has developed speeches and/or coached speakers for a variety of prestigious venues, including the Economic Club of Detroit, the National Press Club, and The World Economic Forum. Author of The Almanac of European Politics, HabitForce!, and All The World’s A Podium, Matthew is working on a new book with a foreword by Jack Canfield about The Power of Making a Promise. Matthew offers his Personal Empowerment Programs — “PEPTalks” — to colleges, associations, nonprofits, and corporations. Visit,, and

January 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment