Ambassador Pyatt and Consul General Lee’s Statements to Media with Mayor Zervas 

Ambassador Pyatt and Consul General Lee’s Statements to Media with Mayor Zervas

Wednesday, August 26, 2020, 2:00 p.m.  

Ambassador Pyatt: Hello, everybody.  Let me say first of all, thank you, Mayor Zervas, as always, for the fantastically warm welcome here in Thessaloniki.  It’s a particular pleasure for me to be back here today to introduce Liz Lee, our new Consul General, my representative here in northern Greece.  Liz is a real rockstar of the American Foreign Service, and I know she is going to be fantastically successful.  You’ve all seen her introductory video, and I think you have a sense from that of the energy and the enthusiasm that she brings to this new role.

As Mayor Zervas said, we are very excited about everything that continues to happen to move forward the economy here in Thessaloniki, even amid the challenge of the Coronavirus pandemic.  I had the opportunity yesterday to meet with the CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, who also spent some time with the Prime Minister with Minister Georgiadis this morning.  Albert was incredibly enthusiastic about the Pfizer experience here in Thessaloniki, the success of their new technology center.  I was able to see that for myself when I was here last month.

We also are very excited about all the opportunities that are emerging around the Cisco technology hub here in Thessaloniki to build out a vision of Thessaloniki as a digital city, but also to use the technology center as a platform to project all the best of American technology.  We have companies like Blink and Tesla coming into the electric vehicles market.  We have all of our technology majors who will cooperate with Cisco: so Google, Microsoft, all the rest, working to provide the tools that Greece needs to succeed in the digital economy.

And on my part, I am committed to sustaining as strongly as I possibly can the partnership that we have built here with Mayor Zervas, with his whole team, and with the people of northern Greece.  So Liz, congratulations on this new role.  We’re very excited to have you here, and I’m very excited personally to see what you’ll be able to accomplish.

Consul General Lee: Thank you very much, sir.  Thank you. [introduction in Greek] So, I’m so happy to be here with all of you in beautiful Thessaloniki.  It’s amazing to be here.  I’d like to thank the Mayor as well as the Ambassador, of course, for taking the time to introduce me to many of our most important friends and partners here in the city today and tomorrow.

I haven’t seen very much of the city unfortunately yet, but when I first arrived, one of the first things I did was, I found a tourist map, and one thing I noticed on the map was, on the top right-hand side, it had, I believe it’s the logo or slogan for Thessaloniki, which is, “Many stories and one heart.”  And I thought that was such a lovely sentiment, and it made me think a lot about the story of our Consulate here in Thessaloniki.  We’ve been here in some shape or form since the 1830s, and so, we too, as the United States, have a story here in Thessaloniki, as part of its heart.

So again, I’m really looking forward to building on the strong legacy left behind by my predecessor Greg, as well as all of my other predecessors, and to help strengthen the already strong and wonderful ties between our two countries.  Thank you very much for this warm welcome, and I look forward to getting to know all of you much better.  Σας ευχαριστώ.