Grande Bretagne Hotel, Athens
Monday, November 25, 2019, 9:00 p.m.
Nikos, Costis, friends, colleagues, it’s an honor for Mary and me to spend another Thanksgiving with you all.
I also want to start by acknowledging my dear friends George and Simos for their significant contributions over the years: their contributions to AmCham, to the Propeller Club, and for sharing this American holiday with us every year since we arrived in Greece.
Propeller Club and the AmCham are the U.S. Embassy’s long-term partners in good times and bad ones, and we greatly value all the work we have done together.
For Mary and me, this is our fourth AmCham/Propeller Club Thanksgiving, and it’s become a tradition that we look forward to every year with only a little bit of trepidation about what the surprise will be.
Thanksgiving began as a simple gathering in 1621, an opportunity for the Pilgrims of the Mayflower to give thanks to the native Americans who helped them survive the bitter winter and yield their first bountiful harvest. So for many American diplomats, Thanksgiving is a reminder of the importance of our relationships with our host countries, and a chance for us to share our appreciation.
That’s especially true here in Greece, where our efforts to strengthen and deepen the U.S.-Greece relationship depend on the unwavering support and assistance the Embassy receives from long-term partners like AmCham and Propeller.
The Delphi-Kathimerini conference I attended in Washington, DC last week, Secretary Pompeo’s visit to Greece last month, all demonstrate to me the historic strengthening of the U.S.-Greece relationship and the whole-of-government attention that this vital relationship is receiving today in Washington.
I know that behind every one of these successes is a great deal of planning, cooperation, and hard work, so I want to express my gratitude to our Embassy team and to each of you for your daily contributions to the all-time high that we are enjoying in U.S.-Greece relations.
As I look to the future, I see our countries engaging more and more as real partners and allies to tackle difficult issues across a strategically vital neighborhood. And I think the biggest challenge we have right now is helping governments and business leaders, whether in Washington or New York, Brussels or Berlin, to recognize how fast things are changing here in Greece right now.
The new government is making remarkable progress across the board, and our team at the Embassy will be working very hard in the weeks and months ahead to build on this momentum, and we couldn’t do that without each one of you.
After nearly three-and-a-half years in Greece, I’m grateful for the many people that Mary and I had the good fortune to meet, for the opportunities to travel widely in this beautiful country, and to experience the magic that Greece has to offer, and of course, for the friendships we have forged with so many of the people in the room here tonight.
Thanksgiving is a family holiday, and we consider all of you to be our Greek family. I look forward to continuing to work on our relationships in 2020, and to do all that I can to cement the gains we’ve made and to chart an ambitious course for the future.
So I’d like to wish everybody a very happy Thanksgiving, and all the best as we begin this holiday season.
Καλή όρεξη and ευχαριστώ πολύ!