Remarks for Parliament MoU Signing Ceremony in Support of B-H Cultural Institutions and Announcement of $625,000 AFCP Donation to National Museum

Parliament Ceremonial Hall, September 15, 2015, 13:00 p.m.

Dragi svi danas okupljeni ovdje na ovaj istinski poseban dan!
To all of you gathered here today, what a special day!

  • This is an important day for all the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a day to celebrate a priceless institution, your National Museum.  With the agreement you are signing here today, the Museum and six other vital national institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina will receive needed support.  From academic research, to arts and film preservation, to centers for the blind and deaf, the institutions you are helping today will in turn help Bosnia and Herzegovina’s citizens thrive into the future.
  • The hard work of many government leaders, institutions, ministries, cantons and municipalities which has led to this agreement is commendable, and I’m proud to stand with you today to celebrate this initiative.  This is only the beginning of an ongoing process of cooperation and dedication to these irreplaceable national institutions.
  • The United States is dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage in all parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I am delighted that we can play a role in the revitalization of your National Museum.National Museum Sarajevo Re-opens Today
  • Because, in the end, the most important beneficiaries of cultural preservation and learning are the next generation, the bright young people who will join us at the Museum today.  Cultural heritage sites and institutions like this Museum must serve as a guide and inspiration for tomorrow’s citizens and community leaders.
  • I know the National Museum was one of the first buildings in the Balkan region designed exclusively as a museum, surviving three devastating wars since its foundation.
  • Its collections are of exceptional value, and essential not only to the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but to our understanding of European and world history.
  • The new life of your National Museum will be built by contributors and partners from across Bosnia and Hercegovina and Europe.
  • And today, the United States would like to take the first step in supporting this important institution.  Through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, the United States Government and the American people support efforts worldwide to preserve cultural heritage, and to show our deep respect for different cultures across the globe.
  • So today, I am very pleased to announce our donation of 1.1 Million BAM to strengthen and secure the infrastructure of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  We want to ensure a strong foundation for the integral collections that will be housed throughout this Museum.
  • This donation is only part of the joint effort that the people of Bosnia and Hercegovina must continue, as the Museum opens more doors, more collections, and more programs for students and visitors.
  • Our support for the National Museum goes well beyond financial assistance.  I am proud to share the news that the world-renowned Smithsonian Institution, which includes many of the United States’ top specialists in museum development and collections management, will partner with counterparts here in Bosnia and Hercegovina.  Their mission will be to offer best practices and professional counsel, working together with local staff from the National Museum and supporting institutions to make this the world-class institution it deserves to be.
  • As we mark 20 years of peace here in Bosnia and Hercegovina, I find this new day for the National Museum to be a fitting symbol of the progress we have all seen in this country.  May we continue to open new doors and gather together all the people of Bosnia and Hercegovina, in celebration of a rich and shared cultural heritage, as well as a bright and fruitful future. Zajedno postizemo vise!
  • Thank you for welcoming me and the American people to participate in today’s momentous event.