Ground Breaking Ceremony: Ambassador’s Remarks

Ambassador James Knight’s Remarks on the Occasion of the New embassy Compound Groundbreaking Ceremony

As Prepared for Delivery

– Secretary General, representative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and African Integration,

– Secretary General of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Public Security,

– The representative of the Secretary General of the Ministry of Infrastructure, Transportation and Civil Aviation,

– The Members of Parliament,

– Ambassadors and Chargés d’Affaires,

– The Governor of N’Djamena,

– The Mayor of N’Djamena,

– The representatives of international organizations and various firms operating in Chad.

Thank you all for your presence at this very important groundbreaking ceremony for our new Embassy site.  As you can see behind me, quite a bit of progress has already been made.  Both our American and Chadian employees eagerly look forward to moving into a more spacious, new modern space.  It will be an environmentally-friendly building, and you will hear more about its many “green” features later.

This new Embassy compound is a step forward in our partnership with Chad, and is indicative of our commitment to the people and the government of Chad.  The new facilities will allow us to better serve Chadians and increase our cultural contacts.  This year we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Department of State’s international exchanges programs.  These programs improve our understanding of different cultures, build leadership skills, and enhance economic prosperity and security.  Our exchange alumni include 385 current or former heads of state, 63 Nobel laureates, and thousands of leaders across the private and non-profit sectors.  About 300 Chadians have already participated in a variety of programs, and more will follow.

We have an enduring interest in Chad and the region as a whole.  Chad has taken on a key leadership role in promoting regional peace and security on the United Nations Security Council and as chair of the Economic Community of Central African States.  Chad’s deeply held value of tolerance produced successes in interfaith dialogues and an atmosphere of religious cohabitation not found elsewhere.  Chad’s program on child soldiers became a UN model for other African countries.  Chad has also made great progress in combatting trafficking in persons.  Chad’s commitment to fight insecurity and terrorism in the region was shown in its efforts in the Central African Republic and, most recently, in its highly effective campaign against Boko Haram.

Chad planned and led the recently concluded Flintlock military exercise involving 28 nations.  We saw how remarkably well our militaries can work together to fight all types of terrorism.  There exists in Chad a depth of experience in preventing extremism.  At the invitation of the White House just last month, a Chadian woman participated in the Countering Violent Extremism Summit Ministerial in Washington.  We work closely in areas besides security cooperation as well — anti-poaching efforts, cooperation against drug trafficking, educational and cultural exchanges, enhancing democratic institutions.

Our new Embassy is a platform for a wider and more enduring engagement with Chad.  We will continue to work together for economic development, improved trade and investment, and providing more peacekeeping training and equipment.  We look forward to many fruitful years in this location.  We look forward to strengthening our bonds and expanding our relationship to improve the lives of all Chadians.   Thank you.