Ambassador Pyatt’s Remarks at The Hellenic Initiative “Connect the Dots” Launch

American School of Classical Studies at Athens
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
As Delivered

Kalispera sas.  Michael, Ambassador Angelopoulos, distinguished guests, colleagues, friends, I’m really delighted to welcome you to the launch this evening of The Hellenic Initiative’s online mentorship project, “Connect the Dots.”  But I’m especially glad that we’re doing so in the beautiful garden of the American School of Classical Studies, one of the true gems of the U.S.-Greece people-to-people relationship.

The U.S. Embassy is extremely proud to support this innovative “Connect the Dots” program as part of our year-long campaign to commemorate the Greek bicentennial, “USA and Greece: Celebrating 200 Years of Friendship.”

I want to congratulate Ambassador Angelopoulos on so successfully orchestrating Greece’s year-long bicentennial celebrations.  We thank the Greece 2021 Committee for its auspices for this event as well as for our ongoing partnership.  

The Committee has been doing important work to educate citizens about the significance of the bicentennial, celebrating Greece’s history, honoring its people, and highlighting its many achievements through a challenging year.

Like the American bicentennial in 1976, this year is an opportunity to reflect on Greece’s past and to look towards its promising future.  It’s a chance to recommit to the values that Greeks and Americans share: our passion for democracy, equality, human liberty, and self-government, but also our shared spirit of innovation, our creativity, and the entrepreneurial DNA that connects our peoples. 

As President Biden told Prime Minister Mitsotakis during their telephone call on Greek Independence Day, the United States will work closely with Greece to pursue sustainable economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic.  In this regard, we look forward to next month’s U.S.-Greece Strategic Dialogue as an opportunity to reaffirm and to accelerate the strong progress that we’ve seen in U.S.-Greece trade, investment and technology relations.  And I’m especially honored in that regard that we’re joined this evening by Minister Dimas who has played such an important role in that process. 

Over the past year, we’ve seen major American investments in Greece’s knowledge-based economy.  Flagship companies like Microsoft, Pfizer, Deloitte, Cisco, Digital Realty, and Amazon Web Services have made major commitments to growing their footprint here in Greece, a reflection of the talent and potential they see in this country.  

At the same time, the Science and Technology Agreement that our two countries signed in Thessaloniki last September will help to enhance collaborations between our labs and research institutions, increasing access to scientific materials and facilities, while strengthening Greece’s startup ecosystem and promoting investment.

So when we were planning the Embassy’s bicentennial campaign, we wanted to pay tribute to the contributions of the American philhellenes, but also highlight our growing partnership in the technology and innovation sectors which will be so important in the next 200 years of our ties. 

We also wanted to offer additional opportunities to Greece’s talented young people, who have such strong ties to the United States.  Their skills and know-how are going to be so important to Greece’s long-term economic growth.

As part of the Embassy’s bicentennial campaign, we have provided scholarship funding towards the establishment of a new American Studies Master’s Program and have designed an experiential space in partnership with the Athens Science Festival that highlights scientific breakthroughs by Greek Americans.

Our support for “Connect the Dots” builds on our longstanding partnership with The Hellenic Initiative to support the Greek economy by helping to nurture Greece’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.  

I’m so very proud of our collaboration over the years, like the Greek delegation to the South by Southwest start-up festival in Austin, Texas, which enables Greek entrepreneurs to connect to the very best of America’s innovative economy.

Back in January, we launched the pilot phase of the “Connect the Dots” with a few pairings of mentors and mentees.  I look forward to hearing some of their experiences later this evening.  Tonight, we’re launching the “Connect the Dots” online platform to enable more dynamic Greek entrepreneurs to take advantage of mentorship opportunities with the best and brightest of the Greek American community. 

Our collaboration with The Hellenic Initiative demonstrates how the Greek diaspora puts our shared values into practice, serving as a true force multiplier for the U.S.-Greece relationship.  

I want to thank all of my friends in the Greek American diaspora for the work you do every day to strengthen the bonds that connect our peoples and build support for a strategic relationship between our two countries that has never been stronger.  

Ambassador Angelopoulos and the Greece 2021 Committee hosted Senator Menendez, perhaps our most prominent modern American philhellene, at the Greece 2040 Forum in Athens last month.  

Senator Menendez made a powerful statement when he observed, “I truly believe our bilateral relationship is on the cusp of greatness.  We share the same values.  We face the same challenges.  We hold the same interests.  I believe there are no limits to what we can achieve together in the 21st century.  Our love of freedom, our belief in democracy, and our trust in the rule of law are all part of our collective DNA.  And that DNA will remain the foundation of the friendship between our nations for generations to come.”

I agree with Senator Menendez and could not have put it better.  As we look ahead to the next two hundred years of the U.S.-Greece relationship, I am confident that contributions of diaspora organizations like The Hellenic Initiative are going to deepen our friendship and propel our efforts to build an even more stable and prosperous Greece.  Thank you all for your partnership, which benefits the United States, Greece, and the wider neighborhood.  Efcharisto poli.