As we reflect on the U.S.-Slovak relationship over the course of the past 30 years, I want to honor the anniversary of the establishment of the Slovak Republic as an independent nation in 1993 and highlight the long history the United States and Slovakia share. Standing side by side through periods of challenge and times of triumph, I am confident that our future partnership will be even stronger. Our remarkable friendship stretches back to the 1918 Pittsburgh Agreement and the 1989 Velvet Revolution to the birth of the Slovak Republic on January 1, 1993, and your ascension to the European Union and NATO in 2004. The United States has been proud to stand by your side as a friend, partner, and ally through these significant milestones. Where do we go from here? We move forward together, just as we always have in the past.
During my time in Slovakia, I have been impressed by the drive and commitment to progress, democracy, and prosperity demonstrated by Slovaks. I am inspired by those working to promote civil society, combat Russian disinformation narratives and hate-speech, and stand-up for human rights and press freedom every day. The youth I have met are engaged in civil society, the humanitarian support for Ukrainian refugees has been outstanding, and mayors and city councils are invested in improving infrastructure and opportunities for their communities. I have also been impressed by the business community’s commitment to Slovakia’s energy independence and increasing trade while ensuring more women and minorities fully contribute to economic growth and prosperity. Time and again, Slovaks across your great country have demonstrated a commitment to a brighter future.
As a U.S. diplomat, I have dedicated my career to strengthening partnerships and alliances around the world. I have learned that while friends and allies can disagree on the how, the shared values do not change; the foundation of every relationship is trust and civil discourse on the issues that matter most to the people; and nothing is more valuable when building and maintaining long-term alliances than the exchange of ideas and experiences.
As we celebrate 30 years of Slovak independence and 30+ years of our countries’ friendship, this is a time to reflect on our shared progress and achievements. We have accomplished so much together – from Slovak-U.S. collaboration on education and research, to security cooperation, public-private partnerships and more. You achieved remarkable economic growth that improved the standard of living for all Slovaks, secured your position in the West as a valued member of the European Union and NATO, emerged as a global leader to support Ukraine, and rallied together to protect your democratic institutions and stand against corruption after the murders of Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova. The United States has stood alongside Slovakia every step of the way, united in our support for a strong, Western alliance to face the threats of the future together.
It is the honor of my life to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia during such an important and dynamic point in our friendship. My team and I have made it our priority to travel and hear from people across Slovakia so that we can work together in support of the issues that matter most to you. We will host a series of events this year to celebrate this 30th anniversary. I invite you to come see us at one of our American Days, visit our traveling exhibit of 30 remarkable Slovak-Americans, and experience American culture through film festivals, American speakers, and musical events featuring our U.S. military bands. I also encourage you to visit our American Spaces in Banska Bystrica and Kosice, engage with the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia, and take advantage of the many exchange opportunities we offer for students and professionals to travel to the United States.
The U.S.-Slovak relationship has always been strong, and I look forward to finding new and innovative ways to ensure this is just one of many milestone anniversaries we will celebrate together as friends, partners, and allies.
Gautam Rana, Ambassador
Photo credit: Pravda