AMBASSADOR’S MESSAGE | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 04, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:25 AM, July 04, 2019

AMBASSADOR’S MESSAGE

Assalamu alaikum.

Thomas Jefferson said he enjoyed celebrating America’s birthday more than his own. The older I get the more I share that sentiment.

Welcome to the U.S. Embassy’s celebration of the 243nd birthday of the United States of America.

Bangladeshe amar prothom shadhinota dibosh palon korte pere ami anondito.  

I’m happy to be celebrating my first U.S. national day in Bangladesh. 

Thank you to the U.S. Embassy community, our generous sponsors, everyone who helped organise and support this year’s celebration. 

There is nowhere I would rather celebrate my country’s Independence Day and founding principles than in this remarkable nation.

Bangladesh is one of the United States’ most valued partners. 

I am proud of what our two countries are achieving together.  American commercial aircraft now hoist the green and red into skies across the world.  American companies produce more than half of Bangladesh’s natural gas, build power plants, supply locomotives, and train thousands of Bangladeshi workers to the highest international standards. Two way trade between the United States and Bangladesh totaled 8.2 billion last year, double what it was only a few years ago. 

Our security and military relationship has never been stronger. 

The United States is the leading contributor of humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya crisis, providing over $541 million since August 2017. The United States salutes the people of Bangladesh for opening their borders and hearts to over one million persecuted Rohingya. 

Since 1971, USAID has provided more than $7 billion to Bangladesh in development assistance including $219 million last year, to promote economic opportunity, effective health and education service, food security, responsiveness to climate change and natural disasters. In partnership, we provide assistance to improve local governance, address gender-based violence and empower women, and combat human trafficking.  

And, most importantly, our people to people ties remain the heart of our enduring support for one another. There are over 200,000 Bangladeshis in America. 7500 Bangladeshi students study in American college campuses each year. Senator Edward Kennedy said at Dhaka University in 1972 “the real foreign policy of America is citizen to citizen, friend to friend, people to people, foreign bonds of brotherhood that no tyranny can diminish.  For in a sense, we are all Bengali, we are all Americans, and we all share the great alliance of humanity.” 

American kobi Walt Whitman likhechilen “Ami Khola rastay ber holam ekti Shusto ebong shadhin prithibir uddeshhe.” 

The American poet Walt Whitman wrote, “I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me”

Dr. Martin Luther King said in 1965, “The American dream reminds us – and we should think about it anew on this Independence Day – every man is heir of the legacy of dignity and worth.”

The story of America is our striving, imperfect and ongoing, to live up to our founding ideals, to understand our country’s meaning, its promise and possibilities. A struggle Dr. King and so many others gave their lives for. To live up to words that made the United States a beacon, inspiring people with ideals that still, that still, light the world:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It is the singular honor of my life to be the United States Ambassador to Bangladesh.  How lucky I am. Everywhere I travel I meet courtesy and graciousness I think unique to this special country.  How fortunate to be your privileged guest.

On behalf of the United States of America, I salute the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the people of the great nation of Bangladesh. 

Happy Independence Day. Onek dhonnobad.

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