Ambassador Kathleen Kavalec at the We The People Exhibit Opening in Iasi

U.S. Ambassador to Romania Kathleen Kavalec delivers remarks at the "We The People" Photo Exhibit. Palace of Culture, Iasi, April 24, 2023 (U.S. Embassy/Public Diplomacy Office)

Palace of Culture,

April 24, 2023

Good afternoon:
Mayor Chirica,
County Council President Alexe
State Secretary Baciuna
Director Luca
Director General Claudia Nicolae
Ambassador Moraru

Thank you all for being here with us this evening. It is an honor to have you join us for the opening of this exhibit, We The People, which celebrates the strong and enduring ties of friendship and cooperation between our two peoples.

We are pleased to bring this exhibit here to share with the people of Moldova/Moldavia. This exhibit been previously displayed in Bucharest, Craiova, Timisoara, and Sibiu. I am honored to say that it has been visited by Prime Minister Ciuca, Foreign Minister Aurescu, former President Constantinescu, U.S. Secretary of State Blinken, and countless others.

To see it here in storied and beautiful Iasi—a city that has stayed with me since I first visited in 2005 – is very meaningful.

We bring to Iasi a story that many of you know well—that of the Strategic Partnership between the United States and Romania, established just over 25 years ago, during the visit of President Clinton to Bucharest.

Speaking in Piata Universitatii in Bucharest in 1997, President Clinton announced the establishment of this strategic partnership, emphasizing the importance of Romania and expressing support for Romania’s entry into NATO.

President Clinton said, “The Romanian people have won the world’s respect for moving so far, so fast, and for believing in yourselves and your future…” and continuing, “Stay the course, the future is yours.”

President Clinton saw great promise in the Romanian people and in a U.S.-Romanian partnership. In the ensuring 25 years, Romania has indeed made great progress in strengthening its democracy, growing its economy, and joining NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007. Today Romania is a model Ally, and host multinational NATO forces, including over 3,000 U.S. troops.

These two presidents could not foresee the return of war to Europe, but they well understood the timeless shared values of democracy, Alliance and partnership. The firm resolve of Romania has been especially laudable in this current crisis, as has the empathy and kindness with which it has welcomed, with open arms and hearts, over three million Ukrainian refugees.

The benefits of these decades of Alliance, friendship, and partnership are remarkable, tangible, and they belong to every single one of us…Romanian, American—and our fellow Allies and friends—around the world.

Romania is an Ally that was true to its word—it met its pledge to move forward democratically and ever for the benefit of its peoples. The United States, likewise, fulfilled our promise to support our friend and Ally. Together we have neither wavered nor flagged in our commitments to mutual increased prosperity, security, and an openness to cultural and academic exchange.

This is why we are so pleased to celebrate the opening of our exhibit today, We the People: 25 Years of Strategic Partnership.

This thematic photo essay invites one to close the last meter which separates us and to celebrate and explore the diplomatic, security, economic, and cultural relationships between the peoples of Romania and the United States.

This story belongs to all of us. The images displayed in this exhibit capture our cooperation and celebrate the blessings of friendship, and what two good peoples and great nations can accomplish together. Twenty-five years of the people-to-people engagements upon which all successful initiatives—diplomatic and otherwise—rely.

The title of the exhibition, “We the People,” comes from the preamble of our venerated U.S. Constitution. We chose it to celebrate the element that makes everything we have accomplished possible…the human element.

Thank you all for being here and making this evening one to remember.