Deputy Chief of Mission Burger’s Opening Remarks at Women CANdidates Webinar

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022, 5:30 pm

As Prepared

To the organizing team of Women Act and all the participants, thank you for inviting us to join you today.  It’s inspiring to be among so many women leaders committed to public service.

I would like to welcome Susannah Wellford of Running Start, a U.S.-based organization that trains young women with skills and tradecraft that enable them to run for political office.  It is great to have you with us, and I look forward to your remarks.

I, and all the members of our team at the Embassy, are extremely proud to support the “Women CANdidates” program.  It is a game-changing initiative providing resources, expertise, mentoring, and networking to women from all over Greece interested in running for public office.  The program is funded by the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund of the State Department as we strongly believe in all you can achieve through our support.

We have so many amazing women leaders with us today, including Maria Syreggela, Deputy Minister of Labor, Responsible for Equality and Demographic Policy, Zefi Dimadama, and Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou.  I admire your many achievements and appreciate your taking the time to share your insights and wisdom with others.

Maria, congratulations on the incredible work you and your amazing team are doing through “Women Act” to empower women to reach their potential across so many sectors of Greek life, be it the political, social, cultural, or economic sectors.

Since the day Ambassador Pyatt participated in the launch of the program last September during TIF, there have been significant developments that led to this first webinar today.  Women Act has developed a dynamic online platform that will include tutorials, articles and research material, facilitate networking between members, mentoring by established women leaders, as well as regular webinars with American and Greek experts.

Promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment have been U.S. government priorities for many years that we’re all very proud to support.  We want to make sure that women not only benefit from new opportunities but are empowered to lead Greece’s economic, social, digital and political transformation.

We just wrapped up our seventh year of CodeGirls, an Embassy initiative to offer coding lessons to girls ages 10-16. We’re also providing employability skills to young women through the “Women in Tourism” program with MExoxo.  We proudly support the FEMpowerment Initiative, an innovative program that focuses on women’s economic empowerment and last September we organized TechCamp Thessaloniki, a hands-on training program for women entrepreneurs from Greece and throughout the Balkans.

The United States and U.S. Embassy Athens are committed to advancing this agenda with programs to bridge the gender gap in business, science, entrepreneurship, innovation, and all sectors of social, political and economic activity.

As our Vice President recently said, “The status of women, is the status of democracy.”

I hope you will benefit from the insights and inspiration that today’s distinguished speakers will provide.  I am certain that your participation in this program will not only help you develop your leadership skills but will also help bring about significant change in our society.  We look forward to supporting your success in the future!

Efcharisto poli.