U.S. National Day Celebration Remarks by the Chargé d’Affaires Jessica Davis Ba

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Madam Achta Saleh Damane, Secretary of State, Representative of the Government of the Republic of Chad,

Honorable Vice-President of the National Assembly,

Honorable Presidents of Major Institutions of the Republic of Chad,

Honorable Members of Parliament,

Excellencies, Ambassadors, Members of the Diplomatic Corps and Representatives of International Organizations accredited to Chad,

Senior Officers of the Defense and Security Forces,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Representatives of Political Parties and the Civil Society,

Distinguished Guests,

Dear Colleagues and Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good afternoon, and welcome to the United States Embassy.  Welcome to our red, white, and blue celebration.  Though American Independence Day is not until July 4, we decided not to wait to invite our friends over for a traditional American barbecue, seasoned with the flavors of Chad.  Today, we celebrate the partnership between the United States and Chad.

A warm welcome to all Americans here this evening.  Thank you for everything you do, whether representing the US Government or as a private citizen living and working in Chad.

Thank you to all my colleagues here at the Embassy for organizing this wonderful event.

Thank you to our sponsor Esso – present in Chad since 2000, exemplifying the American business model, guided by corporate social responsibility, delivering prosperity to Chad and the world.  Our corporate sponsors, Preston International, Tractafric Equipment Tchad, and Les Brasseries du Tchad, demonstrate that Chadians prefer superior, American products.

We are all goodwill ambassadors building stronger ties between the people of Chad and the people of the United States.

The robust exchanges between Chadians and Americans that happen every day enrich both of our nations.  From joint training of our security and law enforcement personnel to the collaboration that take place in this building, Chadians and Americans are working and learning side-by-side.

We take pride in training, exchanges, and educational programs we sponsor in the United States.  Many of you are alumni, having gained experience that help shape your worldview.  I encourage you to continue to share that experience with others.

Two hundred and forty-four years ago, the United States of America was born out of a long struggle against a colonial power and the crucible of war.  Thus, began an extraordinary and unprecedented experiment in democracy – the culmination of a remarkable idea that citizens could govern themselves.

And with that critical break from the authoritarian past, America also sought to create a new form of conducting affairs with other nations, one that was based on mutual respect and trust.

As our first president, George Washington, wisely counseled our nation when he voluntarily left office, “Observe good faith and justice toward all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all.”

Unfortunately, our world is not yet at peace.  In this region, the Republic of Chad is a linchpin, beset by forces which seek to destabilize, subjugate its peoples, and deny the safety and security which all humanity deserves.

We sincerely salute – and support with material assistance and training – the dedicated soldiers of the Chadian armed forces, who have joined with other peace-loving nations in the region in fighting terrorism.

United States engagement with Chad is focused on three over-arching themes: enhancing regional security, strengthening democratic institutions, including promoting accountable governance and respect for human rights, and encouraging economic development and deepening commercial ties.

We pursue these themes in cooperation with our partners.  The Government of Chad, certainly, but also with faith and educational institutions, human rights and humanitarian organizations, the media, business, and fellow diplomatic missions.  We cultivate partnerships.

We thank you for being a partner in our shared mission to improve lives.

Each year, the United States invests over $160 million in Chad, not including capital investments, like this new Embassy or the salaries and benefits for our 600 Chadian colleagues who are the lifeblood of our mission.  These are investments that make a real difference.

For example:

The United States is the leading international contributor in providing life-sustaining food and shelter to vulnerable refugees and their host communities across Chad.

Our long-standing, close partnership with Chadian security and law enforcement institutions makes Chad, and the region safer.  Our partnership improves rule of law, peace keeping operations, and professionalism in defense institutions.

The United States works with you, our partners, to address critical public health issues, strengthen democratic institutions, advance human rights, improve governance, and support creative solutions to development challenges.

The Embassy works closely with our colleagues in the justice sector to promote Chad’s fight against trafficking in persons.  Together, we stand in opposition to slavery, in all forms.  We stand together in affirming our belief in the respect for universal human rights.

We support initiatives to empower women, young people, entrepreneurs, and Chadians of all backgrounds who aspire to support their families and improve their communities.  This year we have begun implementing more than a million dollars in small grants that will benefit communities, create sustainable jobs, and enable families to build livelihoods.

The Embassy is working with the private sector to promote Chad’s participation in the African Growth and Opportunity Act, granting special privileges for Chad to trade with the largest market in the world, the United States.  Our Embassy’s initiative – AGOA and Beyond is creating a forum for business leaders and entrepreneurs to identify the best path toward prosperity.

Whether in Africa, Asia, the Americas, or Europe, nations that have declared independence have much in common.  We are all on a journey toward freedom – building a future, while learning lessons from the past.  Every citizen must have the opportunity to participate in defining a common future.

We share common values – equality, inclusive democracy, economic opportunity, and the guarantee of fundamental rights.  We know that when nations uphold these values, they are more stable, secure, and prosperous.  Every nation’s path toward freedom is unique.

Opening this space can be risky.  In our own history, it took centuries for all Americans to be free and to be guaranteed equal rights under the laws of our land.  When fearless women and men stood up to define what it meant to be American, our nation took that risk.  And we prospered as a result.

The journey toward prosperity is not always straight ahead, and it is filled with challenges.  Yet open debate about how to solve these challenges, when every person gets the right to contribute, creates the conditions for a solution that will last.  A solution in the image of the nation itself.  A solution that reflect the unique qualities of every citizen.

As each country engage in nation building, each citizen must bring his/her contribution to the edifice. We need to build partnerships that overcome strives and divisions.

In our engagement, we privilege partnership.  Partnership with the government and the citizens of Chad based on mutual respect.

Thank you for your partnership.

Thank you for joining us this afternoon to celebrate our common aspirations and our common humanity,

Long live friendship, freedom, justice, prosperity, and partnership!

Vive l’amitié entre les Etats-Unis d’Amérique et la République du Tchad!