Remarks by AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk
Celebrating the United States’ 246th Independence Day
July 21, 2022
(As Prepared for Delivery)
Vice President Lai, Ministers, distinguished guests, friends – good evening. Welcome to AIT’s celebration of the 246th American Independence Day. This year’s gathering is especially meaningful to me. It is the first time in three years AIT has been able to commemorate the July Fourth holiday in person. This is also my first time celebrating Independence Day as AIT Director, something I never dreamed would be possible when I was here almost 30 years ago as a new Foreign Service Officer.
In the decades since I left, much has changed in the United States and Taiwan but one thing has not – our enduring partnership. Taiwan is an advanced economy and vibrant democracy, and AIT is committed to working with our Taiwanese friends and partners to advance our shared vision of a free, open, resilient, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. Though the global landscape has gotten more complex, I am confident that the ever-deepening U.S.-Taiwan relationship will help us face, together, many of the world’s most pressing challenges.
One enormous difficulty we have worked together to overcome has been the COVID-19 pandemic. We greatly appreciate the assistance Taiwan provided to many nations, including the United States, in our time of need. The pandemic has also thrown a spotlight on Taiwan’s essential role in the world economy. Taiwan, a crucial producer of some of the world’s most advanced semiconductors, is an integral part of global supply chains and a cutting-edge pioneer in many emerging technologies. The U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade launched in June provides an exciting opportunity to further our economic collaboration and advance mutual trade priorities.
This year also saw the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The government and people of Ukraine have demonstrated extraordinary bravery, resilience and resolve in the face of this brutal, unprovoked attack. World leaders have united to impose massive consequences on Russia and Belarus. Taiwan has not only joined the United States and over 30 other partners in imposing sanctions but has also raised over 30 million dollars and donated 350 tons of supplies to support Ukrainian refugees. Democracies across the world must work together to defend our freedoms and build a more free and peaceful world.
Today is a celebration not only of the founding of the United States on the self-evident truth that all people are created equal and endowed with unalienable rights, but also of all the steps we have taken together to advance our shared democratic values. Freedom and democracy are processes that take hard work and constant effort, so we must persevere and stand up for what is right. That’s the promise the United States has represented to the world since July 4, 1776. Now we’re entrusted with advancing this goal in our time.
The United States is known worldwide as a champion of democracy, and we are also known for the natural beauty of the country we are proud to call home. As you entered the ballroom you passed by beautiful pictures of U.S. National Parks. This year is the 150th anniversary of America’s first national park, Yellowstone, so we wanted to highlight the natural beauty of the United States. We’ll also show photos of AIT families exploring national parks around the United States and Taiwan. Taiwan has many wonderful sights to see, and I’m looking forward to exploring them more during my time here.
I would like to thank you again for joining us to celebrate America’s 246th Independence Day. Please enjoy the food, drinks, company, and the rest of the evening!