MUMBAI: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State have tied hands with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for a multi-media initiative – Welcome: Portraits of America, to welcome international visitors to the United States.
The donation from Disney included a seven-minute film and hundreds of still images, featuring American people from all regions and walks of life. Disney commissioned the project as part of the Rice-Chertoff Initiative, which seeks to secure America’s borders while welcoming legitimate visitors to the United States.
Department of State, Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Karen Hughes said, “We greatly appreciate Disney’s significant contributions to our efforts to make America’s embassies and airports more welcoming to our international guests. Disney’s creativity and excellence wonderfully capture the essence of America, which is embodied in the diversity and values of our people.”
Department of Homeland Security, Assistant Secretary for Policy, Stewart Baker added, “Travelers form their first impressions of America when they arrive at our borders. Our global reputation therefore depends on making visitors feel every bit as welcome as they feel secure.”
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Chairman, Jay Rasulo stated, “We are proud to partner with the
U.S. government to extend a world class welcome to America’s guests. This project showcases America’s greatest asset: the ordinary people who make this nation extraordinary.”
The film and still portraits showcase the diversity, friendliness and optimism of the American people. The film will be shown in the Federal Inspection Areas of U.S. airports, and in U.S. embassies and consulates overseas, while the still portraits will be incorporated in posters, banners and other imagery welcoming visitors to the U.S. The video and images will not feature or promote any commercial entities. The first airports to feature the images will be Washington Dulles International Airport and Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, to be followed by the nation’s other international airports.
For the project, Disney attracted a world-class creative team including producer Federico TiÃ³, a highly-regarded marketer of some of America’s best-known motion pictures. Born in Havana, Cuba on May 1, 1962, TiÃ³ came to the United States on one of the first “Freedom Flights” in 1965. TiÃ³’s crew embarked on a cross-country odyssey to capture the content for the video, including images of ordinary Americans at work, play, with family and at moments of introspection.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff announced a joint vision to enhance border security while streamlining security processes and facilitating travel for legitimate visitors in January 2006. As part of this initiative, the Secure Borders, Open Doors Advisory Committee was established with participation from the business, travel and tourism and academic communities. One of the goals of the Advisory Committee is to help the Departments of State and Homeland Security establish a friendlier, more welcoming process for visitors from the time they apply for a visa to their entry into the United States.