My time as U.S. Ambassador here is coming to an end after nearly three and a half years; in fact, today is my last day as Ambassador. I will be returning to Washington, D.C. to serve in the Biden-Harris Administration where I will help to advance those democratic principles that Namibians and Americans care about so deeply.
There are a few things I want to say to you, the citizens of Namibia, before I depart.
First, please allow me to offer my sincere condolences to everyone who has lost someone they love due to COVID-19. This time is so hard for all of us. When I think about the lives that have been lost, here in Namibia and across the world, my heart breaks.
Today, I want to use this platform to urge everyone in Namibia to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Vaccination will get us through this pandemic faster, and it can save your life and the lives of the people that you love.
Around the world, health care workers have provided almost 3 billion vaccine doses. These vaccines are safe and they are effective. Please get vaccinated and encourage everyone you care about to get vaccinated, too.
As Ambassador, I have seen firsthand just how powerful our democracies are in partnership together. We have saved a generation from HIV/AIDS – something many thought impossible 15 years ago. Now, Namibia is near HIV epidemic control.
We have expanded trade between Namibia and the United States, creating new business opportunities through exports of beef, beer, and charcoal to the United States. We have invested in the enormous talent and potential of Namibia’s youth through entrepreneurship training. And we have protected some of the world’s most endangered wildlife.
When we work together, our democracies deliver – and we will again in the face of COVID-19. Namibia will get through this, and the United States will continue to help.
This Sunday is the Fourth of July, the day the United States declared its independence 245 years ago and created a new nation based on the principle that all people are created equal. Equality – regardless of gender, race, religion, politics, or any other difference – is an ideal we continue to strive for and it is at the very heart of the American dream.
For me, as U.S. Ambassador to Namibia, July 4 has additional significance because Namibians believe in and celebrate these same principles. Those beliefs make the United States and Namibia stronger.
Finally, I want to assure you that the long, historic U.S. commitment to Namibia will continue far into the future. Going forward, Jessica Long will lead the U.S. Embassy as Chargé d’Affaires until the arrival of the next U.S. Ambassador. She and our exceptional team of dedicated professionals at the U.S. Embassy will continue our work at full force after my departure.
It has been an honor and a blessing to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Namibia. The relationships I have made here have been incredibly meaningful. And Namibia is a beautiful land like no other.
Thank you to everyone in Namibia whose friendship has always made me feel at home, and whose efforts have made the United States and Namibia stronger, together.
I thank you all.