U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia
at the 239th anniversary of
July 3, 2015
U.S. Embassy, Addis Ababa
(As prepared for delivery)
(Senior Ethiopian Official), Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Ambassadors, Diplomats, Friends! Thank you for joining us today to celebrate the 239th anniversary of American Independence. Together with U.S. Ambassador to the African Union, Ruben Brigety, and our entire Mission team, it is an honor to have you join us on this very important day.
For Americans, the 4th of July is a time not just for celebrating, but for reaffirming our commitment to our country, its independence and our common values as Americans. Every year on this holiday, citizens of the United States, no matter our national origin, political party, age, gender, sexual orientation or economic class, reflect on the meaning of independence, founded on the principle of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
I have been privileged to serve in Ethiopia, and I have been fortunate to witness a remarkable period in U.S.-Ethiopian relations. This summer is no exception as we look forward to Ethiopia hosting the Financing for Development conference in less than two weeks, and then a certain very important visitor shortly thereafter!
The theme selected for our reception this year represents one of the iconic elements of American culture, Hollywood movies. As you can see from looking around, we have focused on old movies, many of my personal favorites! I hope you enjoy the decorations and food today.
This theme is very timely because we recently celebrated another important development in U.S.-Ethiopian relations, and that is the inauguration of direct flights by Ethiopian Airlines to Los Angeles! We look forward to this new connection helping grow the commercial, economic and people to people ties between our two great nations. I hope many of you will have the chance to fly on that flight, and to see Hollywood stars in person!!!
This year is special for another reason as well. We are marking the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a law that has significantly contributed to ensuring a large minority of our population is ensured the rights, and access, they are entitled. We are honored to have a champion of this cause in Ethiopia join us today. I would like to recognize Berhane Daba, the recipient of the 2015 National Peace Corps Association’s Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award. Berhane works for the Ethiopian Women with Disabilities National Association, which she co-founded in 2002.
Finally, I would like to thank the government and people of Ethiopia for your continued support, friendship and willingness to work with us on so many important initiatives which help to make this world a better and safer place for Ethiopians and Americans alike.
Without further ado, I would like to introduce my colleague and good friend, Ruben Brigety, the U.S. Ambassador to the African Union and the UN Economic Commission of Africa.