Today, the U.S. Department of State celebrates its 231st anniversary as the nation’s first executive agency. This milestone is an opportunity to reflect on the essential role of U.S. diplomacy in advancing the interests, security, and economic prosperity of the American people. I commend the State Department team for their extraordinary work to promote and demonstrate our democratic values and advance the cause of a free, peaceful, and prosperous world.
Since our last anniversary celebration a year ago, we’ve continued our pressure on the Iranian regime to end their support of terrorism and other destabilizing activities, promoted peace in Afghanistan where parties are on the verge of inter-Afghan negotiations to end forty years of conflict, and revealed the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party to our allies and partners around the world. We also welcomed North Macedonia as the 30th NATO member and released our plan to implement the U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security because empowering women to lead is the right thing to do, and it will make the world safer.
In 2020, in response to unprecedented challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, our team of great Americans and locally employed staff have added to the Department’s storied legacy by repatriating more than 100,000 U.S. citizens on 1,140 flights from 136 countries and territories. In partnership with USAID, the team has worked to provide more than $1.5 billion in U.S. support to bolster the ability of our global partners to fight the virus. In addition, the State Department worked hard for the lifting of foreign country export restrictions so that medicine, equipment, and supplies can flow through private sector supply chains into the United States from overseas. This remarkable contribution deserves the thanks of our nation.
I am deeply proud of the Department’s champions of diplomacy who exemplify our Professional Ethos daily as they advance U.S. foreign policy as One Team, with One Mission, and One Future.