Ambassador DeLisi's Remarks at his Welcome Reception
Ambassador Scott DeLisi's Remarks at his Reception
U.S. Mission Uganda
Reception to Welcome Ambassador DeLisi
Friday, September 7, 6:00 p.m.
Ladies and Gentlemen. Good evening. "With so many distinguished guests, present tonight I hope you will allow me to keep my remarks short by simply noting "All Protocols Observed" at the outset.
I would like to begin by thanking you for your warm welcome to Uganda. This is my fourth tour in Africa and it is good to be home! My wife Leija and I are very much looking forward to our next three years here, getting to know this amazing country and discovering for ourselves why Churchill called this “The Pearl of Africa.” Above all, we are excited to get to know the people of Uganda, especially all of you.
We think that it is particularly auspicious, perhaps, to arrive in 2012 - a year that marks not only 50 years of Ugandan independence, but also 50 years of relations between the United States and Uganda. I'm proud of the work we are all doing to ensure that the next 50 years will be even better.
The United States sees Uganda as a vital partner in a challenging region. Right now, Ugandan soldiers are far from home risking their lives to ensure the future peace and prosperity of an East African neighbor. Your nation’s commitment to regional peace and security, and to the idea that Africans should solve African problems, is a powerful model for others across the continent.
However, even as you work with your neighbors to strengthen and protect the region, you are also continuing your journey at home in building an inclusive democratic society and prosperous nation. I am proud that we are able to support your efforts in that regard. As Uganda's largest bilateral development partner, we work together on critical issues of health, food security, and economic growth to help realize the vision of a prosperous nation whose citizens benefit from development and good governance.
As I prepared to come to Uganda , I was surprised to learn that the U.S. Mission in Kampala is the fourth largest U.S. mission in Africa and 21st largest in the world -- bigger even than our sister embassies in Tokyo, Rome, and Seoul! I realize that what is important, however, is not size of our mission but the nature of our engagement. Diplomacy is ultimately about building relationships and in today’s world it is not just about relations between governments but also about relationships between people. In that regard, my colleagues and I look forward to engaging in the personal exchanges that are critical to building understanding and truly strong ties.
We will meet with you, we will listen to you and we will learn from you. And, if the natural warmth and friendship shown by the Ugandans I have met so far is any measure, that process of relationship building is likely to be one of the most pleasant parts of my job.
We will also use the tools of this century, Facebook, Twitter, webchats, and more, to broaden our engagement and understanding. If in fact, I am to be called a “dot.com Ambassador” I’d have to say we’ll be “dot.com Embassy” as well. I encourage you to join the conversation on my Facebook page or on the Embassy’s.
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you again for sharing the evening with us. I cannot tell you how thrilled Leija and I are to finally be here in the Pearl of Africa and to have the chance to experience this beautiful country and its wonderful people. So now, let's take some time to relax, perhaps enjoy a drink and some good music, and start getting to know each other better.