“Good morning. I am delighted to join you this morning for this second ABF All-Grantee Forum, and it is wonderful to see this fantastic turnout. I am consistently inspired and impressed by all that you are accomplishing here in Bulgaria, all of you working together, and it is an honor for me to be with you.
We are all here because we recognize the important role that civil society plays in a democracy. Just as a vibrant private sector is central to a country’s economic prosperity, a robust civil society is essential to a functioning democracy. The America for Bulgaria Foundation continues to be instrumental here in Bulgaria in supporting Bulgarian NGOs, educational institutions, a free and independent media, and a host of other civil society actors, and helping them to grow and flourish.
Today we are here to talk about sustainability, about resilience. Your endeavors require dedication, expertise, and a lot of hard work. Most of you are focused on long-term objectives; you don’t expect to achieve solutions overnight. Meanwhile you need to adjust to domestic and international developments, to new challenges and shifting priorities. All this requires a long-term perspective, including in the realm of financial resources and expertise. This is why financial sustainability is key.
I would like to commend ABF for convening this timely forum to seek and offer solutions for the long-term sustainability of the Bulgarian NGO sector. I am particularly encouraged to see representatives of the Bulgarian government, American and multinational businesses, international organizations, and media. You are all working together because you believe in Bulgaria and in its potential, and I sincerely commend you for your efforts and successes.
Many of you have seen the Embassy’s recent media campaign, “The Power Is in You,” which showcases Bulgarians from all walks of life who are succeeding and contributing to Bulgaria thanks to their hard work, commitment, and persistence. The purpose of the campaign is to show Bulgarians what they have accomplished and to inspire them to continue to contribute to Bulgaria’s future. I feel the same inspiration here in this room today. I see strength and dedication, a desire to improve your communities and ensure that Bulgaria continues on its path as a successful and prosperous European country.
Thank you for all that you do. I wish you a productive and enjoyable day. And may you continue your work with strength and optimism in the new year.”