Ambassador Kathleen Kavalec at the AmCham Thanksiving Breakfast

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Let me start by thanking AmCham President Chris Sporis and the AmCham team for organizing this morning’s breakfast. It’s wonderful to see such a great turnout for this special occasion, one that’s become an important tradition for AmCham and the U.S. Embassy.

Thanks also to Rector Daniel David and Teodora Tompea for joining us today. We very much look forward to your remarks on “The Benefits of a Grateful Heart.”

One thing for which the Embassy is grateful is our partnership with AmCham Romania. We are delighted to work together to strengthen the economic and commercial relations between the United States and Romania.

As you know, this holiday is a beloved American tradition. In 1621, Pilgrim setters who emigrated from England to Plymouth, in what is now Massachusetts, showed their gratitude for a good harvest with a celebratory feast, which they held together with members of the Wampanoag Native American tribe.

Four hundred years later, the spirit of gratitude from that first Thanksgiving lives on in the form this national holiday that brings people together to give thanks and express gratitude for the blessings we enjoy.

We are honored that AmCham, through this annual breakfast, has brought the tradition of Thanksgiving to the business community in Romania as well.

As we gather today, we are mindful of growing conflict and strife around the world, including next door in Ukraine. These conflicts and the disinformation warfare that accompany them have stoked hate and anger and created confusion and division in our societies.

At times like these, we are reminded that that peace, stability, and community are great gifts, ones that we often take for granted, but which are vital to our existence and happiness, and worth defending.

The first step towards protecting and defending the gifts is to cherish them. Today is a day in which we stop for a moment to remember all the things that we cherish in our lives, and to give thanks.

Thanks for our families and friends, for our homes, for our communities. And thanks especially for the women and men in uniform protecting the peace and keeping us safe. We are grateful each day for the ability to enjoy the beauty and marvels of world around us.

The true meaning of this holiday, beyond the turkey, stuffing, and other trappings – and in the United States, American football – is the opportunity to express gratitude and to give back to our communities and partners. By the way, congratulations to the Romanian national soccer team for their victory against Switzerland’s team. Hai Romania!

As AmCham members, you embody this spirit of giving back. Though your engagement here in Romania, you help improve livelihoods by promoting innovation, diversity, inclusion, and corporate and social responsibility.

AmCham companies have been instrumental in fostering educational and training programs that have enhanced the skills of the Romanian workforce, making them better equipped to take on higher-paying jobs and advance their careers.

And so, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I would like to conclude by thanking AmCham for its tireless work in enabling the successes of U.S. companies operating in Romania and making such a significant impact on Romania’s economy and society.

This year, we are especially thankful for your 30 years of active work in Romania. Once again, let me wish you a happy anniversary! Thirty years of dedication to the U.S.-Romania commercial relationship is something for which we are truly grateful.

So today, let us give thanks for all the many good things in our lives. And let us draw on that reservoir of gratitude and hope to do what we can to build a better world for everyone.

As John Kennedy said, “as we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.”

Thank you very much.