I trust you all are enjoying yourselves. Today we celebrate the 239 years of the independence of the United States of America. All across the United States this past weekend, millions of people spent their time outside also barbequing like today. The barbeque is a hallmark of American culture. For us here at the U.S. Embassy, as a diplomatic mission honoring its National Day, we also celebrate the friendship between the United States and Angola. I cannot go without mentioning the companies that have contributed to that make this evening possible. Many of them are American companies that have actually been here even longer than the this Embassy….
American companies have been leaders in the creation of employment and in the education of Angolan professionals in many important sectors.
Today, the relationship between our countries is more dynamic. We have established dialogues that have permitted us to make concrete advances. Those dialogues range from questions of security and political issues to heath and cultural matters. For example, we are collaborating with Angola in the organization of an International Conference on Maritime Security. In the area of trade, we have worked to increase the number of American companies linked to Angolan companies beyond the petroleum sector. Additionally, we have been working with the Angolan government and other partners to conduct Angola’s first comprehensive multiple health indicators survey.
This year, Angola celebrates its 40th anniversary of independence. It has gone through great challenges, and the future presents itself full of opportunities. Angola’s leadership in the Great Lakes and Gulf of Guinea is notable. Their leadership this year has extended beyond the region. As chairman of the Kimberley Process, Angola has worked to prevent conflicts and to promote peace, security and stability. The same can be said of their role on the UN Security Council.
When I look to the future, I see a path full of collaboration between our peoples. As Walt Whitman said, one of the most famous poets Americans, “The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges, or churches…nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in the common people.”
What many are unaware of is that our common story extends far back. The first Angolan reached the state of Virginia in 1620, long before our independence. Today, nearly a quarter of African-Americans in the United States can trace their lineage back to this region of Africa.
In the long course of history, our two countries are still young. I hope that our two peoples continue to build bridges of friendship that will make a better life for each and a better world for all.
Thus, as ordinary people, like the poet said, I invite you all to join me in a toast for the ever deepening relationship between our countries and a more prosperous future for all.