Thank you, Peter, for that introduction and good evening to you all.
It’s my great pleasure to be here tonight and finally have the chance to meet some of the incredible men and women working side-by-side with our USAID team to bring so many important developments and opportunities to the people of BiH.
I started my career in public service 35 years ago as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching science and math in Liberia. Since then I have lived in or visited 90 countries… BiH is number 91. And although my jobs and my roles have changed over the course of my career, I remember very well what it means to be one of people on the ground, in the communities, helping make positive change happen for the country and the people that we serve.
Before coming to BiH, I spent a year learning as much as I could not only about the country, its culture and history, but also about the exciting work done by our embassy teams here in Sarajevo. I am proud to say that the many projects developed and funded by USAID here in BiH to help further economic growth, strengthen civil society and tamp down corruption are on par with any mission in the world.
From working in the schools to bring education up to EU standards, to developing plans to make BiH’s energy usage cleaner and more efficient, to teaching rural women how to start their own businesses, to helping improve tourism services so that more people can experience BiH’s stunning natural beauty, to keeping the pressure on BiH’s government to implement stronger anti-corruption measures – the list of projects and accomplishments achieved by USAID here in BiH is inspiring.
But it’s no secret that these projects could never succeed without the incredible hard work done by implementing partners like those in this room. In my experience, when organizations work together to achieve shared goals, that’s when the most impressive results kick in. Within our embassy, we stress that excellence in teamwork is not only key within the walls of our own building, but must also extend to our partnerships with the international community, host country institutions and local organizations. The relationships, connections and even friendships that our USAID folks have been lucky enough to forge with all of you are invaluable. Simply put, our ability to partner with organizations like yours is the key to our own success and I am so happy to be here to share in that success with all of you here tonight.
I look forward to getting to know some of you this evening and to the opportunity to learn more about your important work here in BiH, and I’m excited to watch as these partnerships and your joint projects continue to make positive changes in the future.
Thank you so much.