July 12, 2023
State Secretary Baciuna,
Director General Nicolae,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening, welcome, and thank you all for being here. Let me say a special thank you to Mayor Chițac, for welcoming us in Constanta and hosting this exhibit in Piata Ovidiu.
Thank you also to Director Mototolea for offering this beautiful and historic building to host our reception. I am honored to have you join us for the Constanta opening of this important exhibit which celebrates the strong relationship between the United States and Romania.
The exhibit celebrates 25 years of our Strategic Partnership and the journey we have made together in that time. The title of the exhibition, “We the People,” comes from the preamble of our U.S. Constitution. We selected this in celebration of the human element that makes everything we have accomplished together possible.
This title, “We the People,” is fitting because the foundation for all that we have accomplished on our journey together are the people-to-people relationships between Americans and Romanians.
The excellent ties between our governments are important, but what really makes our relationship effective are the countless ties between our peoples at every level of society.
In traveling around Romania, including here in Constanta, what has struck me time and again are the foundational experiences our people have had through educational and professional exchanges, experiences that have led to long-lasting friendships and cooperation.
The photos and text in the exhibit tell the story of this friendship and a partnership, as well as the progress that has been achieved since the establishment of the U.S.-Romanian strategic partnership in 1997.
In 1997, when he announced this partnership, President Clinton noted that Romanians had “won the world’s respect for moving so far, so fast, and for believing in yourselves and your future.” He encouraged Romania to stay the course, saying “the future is yours.”
President Clinton saw the potential in Romania and in the Romanian people and the importance of an enduring U.S.-Romania partnership.
Indeed, Romania has stayed the course, joining NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007, and making great strides in democratic reform and economic growth and development.
In defense, as exemplary NATO ally, Romania has increased spending, contributed to multinational operations abroad, and now hosts U.S. and NATO troops here in Romania – just down the road from here.
Romania has also stood steadfast in support of our partners and neighbors in Ukrainian as they defend their country against Putin’s unprovoked and brutal invasion.
Here on the Black Sea, I know that you have felt the impact of a large flow of Ukrainian refugees. You have opened your doors and your hearts, with ceai and cozonac, to assist your neighbors in their time of need.
The port of Constanta has played a key role in helping get Ukrainian grain to market in a challenging time.
We are all grateful for how Romania has stepped forward in this critical time.
In this and in so many other ways, Romania continues proving to the world in realizing its potential and delivering on its commitments.
The exhibit you see today here in Piata Ovidiu, We the People, is a photo essay that celebrates and explores the multifaceted relationship between Romanians and Americans.
These photos tell the story of our diplomatic, security, economic, and cultural collaboration and cooperation and the fruits of those efforts – what two great nations working together can achieve.
I want to thank our partner, Agerpres, for helping pull this great collection of photos together. Let me also salute our American Corner here in Constanta, which is hosted by Ovidius University (check name), for all the work you do nurture and expand our people-to-people ties.
And finally, thank you to everyone here tonight for over 25 years of friendship and partnership. I look forward to the next 25 years and hope you enjoy the exhibit.