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Ambassador Adler’s Remarks at the Rentrée Reception

Ambassador Adler’s Remarks at the Embassy’s Rentrée Reception  

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Hello, everybody.  

It’s a great pleasure to see all of you here. One of the most difficult things about being an ambassador and being in a foreign country is that you miss your family and friends. And so it’s most important to me that my wife is here and that she does such a wonderful job. I’d like to nominate her to go on the next diplomat show, maybe as the next ambassador.  

But in all seriousness, we’re a family of ambassadors that work together. It really is such a pleasure to have such wonderful people to work with.  

Having been here for over a year and pretty soon starting our second year, I’m now familiar with the idea of the rentrée. It’s a great frame for autumn: coming back from time away and with new energy and focus to achieve our shared goals before the end of the year and the holidays. They will of course – the holidays – be here before we know it. 

Before then, we have work to do.  As ever, you, our friends and partners, are the ones who enable us to do that work.  I’d like to offer a brief overview of the projects and programs we’re working on at the Embassy this fall, with many of you here tonight:  

On Monday, led by our Foreign Commercial Service, we welcomed Wisconsin Governor Evers and an accompanying trade delegation to explore how we can deepen our commercial ties in a variety of ways. These include sustainability in agriculture and water, advanced manufacturing, bioscience, and clean energy. Of course, we can do those things because of the high competency that’s here in Belgium.  

This week we are hosting the architectural firm Kieran Timberlake to discuss our future new embassy, which we’re really excited about. They’ll be here to listen and learn as they design a building that will represent the values, the depth and breadth of the relationship between the United States and Belgium and the European Union. 

In November, we will host filmmaker Yoruba Richen to screen several of her works, including her film, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and won a Peabody Award.  

Our goal through this program is to facilitate dialogue about diversity and equity issues with which we continue to grapple in the United States. We haven’t figured it out, but we care about those issues. We hope through this dialogue to share experiences and approaches with those of you here that we work with on these same issues.  

A couple of weeks ago, I was privileged to attend the ceremony at Sabena Engineering, marking the 1500th F-16 to receive maintenance at their facilities and we were proud that it was an American F-16. The event represented the breadth of the defense relationship between the United States and Belgium, not only government and military, but also private sector and technology.    

As Belgium prepares to receive F-35 over the coming months and years, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on the depth of our partnership in this area.  

Our consular section’s work to facilitate travel between Belgium and the United States for work, study, official visits, and much more continues. I want to give a special thanks to those of you here tonight who partner with us to support these U.S. citizens of Belgium who might find themselves in need of assistance.   

We have no higher priority than the safety and security of our citizens. And we greatly appreciate our partnership with many of you here tonight in achieving that goal. Our law enforcement agencies continue to foster cooperation with their Belgium counterparts.  

As you know, we are constantly working with Belgium communities to commemorate the sacrifices of Belgians and Americans during the two d Wars to defend our freedom and values. And as we know, this is a most important time in the challenges that we have. Ukraine speaks to our shared values and we must win. 

I can spend more time mentioning the work we are doing on a daily basis to further our bilateral relationships. But all of you work on that every day. And I want to get you back to the conversations we were having a few minutes ago. 

So I will leave you with a final thought as we enter this sprint towards the end of 2023. Our two countries continue to have so much in common. We both stand firm in the face of savage Russian aggression in Ukraine and are focused on supporting the defense of freedom as long as it takes.  

We want to increase prosperity for all of our citizens and our businesses in a transparent, fair manner, and invest in sustainable technologies that will enable us to overcome challenges of climate change. 

This is a pivotal moment. Working together, we can continue to make a difference on the range of issues I just mentioned. 

We are here tonight to celebrate you and the work we do every day. Don’t hesitate to let us know how we can make this partnership even stronger.  

We appreciate all of you and we really appreciate the relationship.  

Thank you.