Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy
at the Elevator Installation Grant Signing Ceremony
American Center, Ethiopia
September 14, 2017
(As prepared for delivery)
Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,
In any society, everyone needs to have a role in contributing to success. As communities, we need to make an effort to enable all parts of our societies to fulfill that role. That means focusing on concepts like gender equality and inclusivity for persons with disabilities. When we fail to include all individuals, we weaken ourselves as a whole. When we include all, we are stronger.
It is with that in mind that I am extremely proud to be a part of this signing ceremony cementing an agreement between the U.S. Embassy and the National Archive and Library Agency of Ethiopia to construct a public-access elevator at this facility, which will make the resources of this Library and the Colonel John C. Robinson American Center available to all.
Perhaps just as importantly, this project will be jointly funded by our institutions as an example of the kind of partnership we seek with Ethiopia, where we work together on our mutual interests to create a brighter future for both our countries. I would like to thank NALA Director Ato Abraham Chosha and his team for sharing our commitment to making libraries accessible to everyone and for his ongoing commitment to our partnership by hosting the American Center here.
Once this project is complete, the American Center will be truly a space for all Ethiopians. The more than 6,000 monthly visitors will be augmented by those who have so far been excluded simply because they cannot climb the stairs. That is the idea of inclusivity – equal access for all – and it is a core concept in American values that has been a key part of our success.
I look forward to seeing this project completed and welcoming the achievement of this great step forward and to seeing what more we can accomplish when we are able to offer the full capabilities of this Library and our American Center to the full range of Ethiopian society.