Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt
April 10, 2020
Ambassador Pyatt: Good afternoon. Niko, Elias, thank you for giving me this opportunity to reach out to all of the AmCham membership. Like all of you, I’m working from home these days. We’re respecting the government’s restrictive measures. But I wanted to take the opportunity to offer a public message as we come into the Easter week.
I want to start by underlining how impressed we all are by the way in which the Mitsotakis government has attacked the Corona Virus problem. Greece has been ahead of the curve consistently. The Prime Minister and his team have taken courageous measures which are producing real results in terms of reducing the lethality of this disease here in Greece.
I also want to underline the American commitment to continued leadership as we work together to meet this challenge. Just since the Corona Virus crisis broke out, the United States has committed over 274 million dollars to humanitarian initiatives around the world. We remain the largest contributor to the World Health Organization, which plays such an important role in meeting this challenge, providing 400 million dollars just in 2019.
So we’re going to be in this together. We’re going to keep working on it. We’re going to get through it. But over the short term, I also want to say how impressed I have been by the steps that AmCham companies have taken to work with Greece, to work with the Greek government.
Starting with our technology companies like Microsoft, Google and Cisco who stepped up very early, reaching out to the Ministry of Education to offer their technology tools and their platforms to help the Ministry of Education move very quickly to an e-learning framework. This, of course, builds on the great record that these companies had established at the Thessaloniki Fair but also demonstrated American leadership in this area.
Likewise, Hewlett Packard stepped up, providing the Ministry of Digital Governance with 32 Blade servers to support the Ministry’s Digital Solidarity Initiative.
Kleeman, an AmCham member company and Select USA participant, donated 21 ICU beds to the COVID Referral Hospitals in Greece including the AHEPA, Alexandroupolis, Larisa, and Ptolemaida.
Encipco, in cooperation with Texan and Rewarding Recycling, has donated 1,000 tablets to the Ministries of Interior and Education to again help facilitate distance learning and e-learning for Greek students.
Onex is donating about 60,000 dollars’ worth of health equipment, including Corona Virus test kits to the Siros Hospital and to the Hellenic Coast Guard for their use.
And Coca Cola, Pfizer, Medtronic, Airbnb and several other AmCham companies are supporting Greece’s fight against this pandemic.
So thank you to all of you for demonstrating the best of American leadership but also the great tradition of philanthropy that is so strongly woven through our society.
I also want to say how impressed I’ve been by the steps that the Ministry of Digital Governance has taken to leverage this crisis as an opportunity to fast track Greece’s transition to what the Prime Minister has called the Digital Future. It’s a fantastic example of the skill and competence that this government has brought to bear.
It’s also a tribute to the leadership of Minister Pierrakakis. I remember one of the very first issues that he and I worked on together after the new government came to office was unlocking the Apple software so that the government’s emergency notification system could be activated. I’m very proud of how we’ve continued to stay engaged on all of these issues of digital transformation and governance.
Finally, I want to say a quick word about the United States. We have a difficult situation at home as you all know. Every person I talk to in Athens sounds like a New Yorker these days as we all watch the difficult situation there. My family is in California along with 40 million Californians living under lockdown conditions very similar to what we’re experiencing here in Greece. But I know we’re going to get through this. American technology, biotechnology continues to be the best in the world. I know how hard our scientists and technical experts are working on finding a cure for this disease, working to fast track testing, working to develop the epidemiological models that will allow us all to get back to work.
And I can tell you when we do get back to work, when things return to something more like normal, here at the Embassy our number one task will be engaging the government in order to relaunch our effort to help Greece accelerate investment, return to economic growth, and build on all of the opportunities that we see here in so many sectors.
So we’re looking forward to that day. I hope it comes sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I wish everybody a very Καλό Πάσχα and please stay safe. Stay with your family. Stay home. And we’ll see you soon here back at the residence garden or someplace else as we work together to build a stronger and even deeper U.S.-Greece alliance.
Thank you very much.
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