Ambassador Pyatt’s Statement on 2021 Bicentennial Celebrations

Athens Municipal Radio

Friday, March 5, 2021

Two hundred years ago, the people of Greece declared their independence.  The Greek Revolution was the first liberal revolution in Europe, inspired by the same ideals of liberty and self-governance, and the same passionate belief in democracy that sparked the American Revolution 45 years earlier. 

Two centuries later, the United States joins the Greek people in commemorating the birth of the modern Greek state, our NATO Ally and strategic partner.  To honor this important milestone and complement the Greece 2021 Committee’s commemorative events, the U.S. Mission to Greece has launched a campaign, “USA & Greece: Celebrating 200 Years of Friendship,” that highlights the role of American Philhellenes in the Greek Revolution and the bonds of mutual respect and shared values that unite our peoples.  

Our new logo, created for this occasion, depicts the flame of democracy composed of elements from the Greek and U.S. flags, symbolizing how our revolutions were intertwined and how our deeply ingrained belief in human liberty, self-government, and rule of law has shaped our countries’ histories and steadfast friendship.  

Greece’s struggle for independence motivated early Americans to rally behind the Greek cause of democracy and self-determination.  As the inheritors of ancient Athenian traditions, American Philhellenes believed they had a civic duty to help Greece reclaim its birthright of democracy.  Samuel Gridley Howe, James Williams, and George Jarvis left home to fight alongside their Greek comrades in arms and provide humanitarian support.  Meanwhile, American citizens established Philhellenic societies throughout the country, raising money to aid the cause and lobbying their elected officials to recognize Greek independence.  

That extraordinary bond between our peoples has flourished for two centuries.  During that time, our countries have stood shoulder-to-shoulder through unprecedented challenges to ensure that the torch of democracy burns bold and bright through even the darkest hours.  Today, the U.S.-Greece relationship is stronger than ever, and our countries are working closely together to promote regional peace, stability, and prosperity.  

Greece’s bicentennial is an opportunity for the United States to partner with Greek civil society, cultural and educational institutions, cities, and individual citizens throughout the year to celebrate our historic friendship and chart an agenda for our shared future.

Our programs will include exhibitions at the newly established Museum of Philhellenism and the American School of Classical Studies, a special program of American music performed by the Greek National Opera Orchestra, and an exhibit chronicling the history of the U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki.  We also plan to support commemorations that will take place around the country and have already partnered with the city of Sparta and the Delphi Economic Forum. 

Our celebrations will also focus on Greece’s bright digital future and the talented young people who hold the future in their hands.  We will provide scholarship funding towards the establishment of a new American Studies Master’s Program.  We are working with The Hellenic Initiative to provide virtual mentorship to Greek entrepreneurs and will create an experiential space at the Athens Science Festival that highlights scientific breakthroughs by Greek Americans.

As we celebrate Greece’s bicentennial together, the upcoming year is a great opportunity to seize the momentum and take our relationship to new heights with the Biden-Harris Administration.  President Biden is a well-known friend of Greece, and I know that he and his team will continue to build on the progress we have made to strengthen our work together on regional cooperation, defense and security, trade and investment, sustainable energy, counterterrorism and law enforcement, and our robust people-to-people ties. We are living in a time unlike any other, marked by unprecedented challenges.  Inspired by 200 years of friendship, the sky’s the limit for what we can accomplish together!  

I encourage you to follow us at @USEmbassyAthens on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more information about our 2021 programs and events.