Ladies and Gentlemen, honored guests, dear friends. Good evening and welcome to our Embassy. Thank you all for coming. For my wife Nicole and me, and for our entire Embassy team, it is an honor and privilege to welcome all of you here tonight on the 241st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America.
I would also like to thank all of the sponsors who have made this evening possible. We are deeply grateful for your support. Please join me in thanking all of them.
This year, we also celebrate 114 years of diplomatic relations between our two countries, as well as our friendship, our alliance and our partnership. The United States is deeply committed to supporting the people and government of Bulgaria as they chart a course toward a safe and prosperous future.
Earlier today, President Trump arrived at the Three Seas Summit in Warsaw to underline America’s continued commitment to our allies, friends and partners in Central and Eastern Europe. In a few weeks, together with military personnel from more than two dozen allied and partner nations, Bulgaria will join Romania and Hungary in hosting the biggest joint military exercises in Europe this year. We strongly support Bulgaria in its commitment to modernize all branches of its military services, with the goal of enhancing its ability to defend its people and to operate effectively together with other NATO forces. And, we are also proud of the superb cooperation between Bulgaria and the United States in the fields of law enforcement and counter-terrorism. Working closely together, we are helping to keep our citizens safe against the many serious challenges we face in today’s world.
Meanwhile, our support for economic growth and prosperity in Bulgaria has never been stronger. Working with valued partners like the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria and the America for Bulgaria Foundation, we are committed to attracting more direct American investment that creates good, well-paying jobs.
We are also proud of our country’s role in advancing educational excellence in Bulgaria. The American College of Sofia, the American University of Bulgaria, and the Anglo-American School of Sofia are flagships of American commitment to Bulgaria’s future and its next generation.
We are also happy that thousands of young Bulgarians are in the United States this summer on our Summer Work and Travel program, joining more than 100,000 alumni of the program over the past two decades. We also rejoice in the success of the Bulgarian and American young people who learn from each other every year in our various high school and university exchange programs.
The bonds of friendship, alliance and partnership between America and Bulgaria are strong and deeply rooted. May the coming months see us achieve more together, grounded in the fundamental values of freedom, democracy and human dignity that unite us. Happy Birthday, America, and once again, thank you for joining us tonight!