Looking Back at the Obama Presidency

As the Obama Administration comes to a close, it’s important to look back at the past eight years to appreciate how far America and its global partners have come, as well as to better understand the challenges we will face over the coming years. Today, America’s unemployment rate is 4.6 percent versus 10 percent in 2009. Our country has seen

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The Importance of Investing in Education

Education is the essential foundation for prosperity and opportunity. It strengthens our democracy, enriches our civic life, and serves as a pathway to economic success. It also cultivates young people’s talent and creativity, encourages them to connect with other people, and inspires them to discover and analyze the world in which they live. Everyone – including those in academia, business,

Slovak Startups Conquer the World

  Entrepreneurship and innovation are key economic drivers in Slovakia. The first reception I hosted as Ambassador was a kick-off event for this year’s Startup Awards, and in the short time I’ve been here, I’ve already heard a lot about how Slovakia is on the move – cybersecurity companies, offline navigation systems, and gaming giants – and is truly a

Seizing Opportunities for a Stronger Economic Partnership

In my first month in Slovakia I have been struck by the depth and dynamism of U.S.-Slovak economic ties. But even more so by the potential for the future. Nearly 150 American companies operate here, companies such as U.S. Steel, Microsoft, AT&T, IBM and Cisco Systems. They have created around 50,000 jobs and have contributed to the over $600 million

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SNP was a Significant Moment in History, and Americans also Contributed

On August 29, we will commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising – one of the proudest moments in Slovakia’s history. By resisting the Nazi occupation and rejecting fascism, the Slovak people demonstrated their courage in the face of overwhelming odds and their determination to stand united against hatred and oppression. Citizens from over 30 countries participated in

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Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Would Help Slovakia Achieve Greater Energy Diversification

This May’s U.S.-EU Energy Council meeting emphasized the critical connection between energy diversification and security. In particular, the Council stressed the importance of transatlantic cooperation to improve Europe’s energy diversification and ensure adequate alternative energy sources, suppliers, and transportation routes. In 2013, about 40% of EU gas imports came from Russia. Too many member states are still heavily dependent on

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We can Protect Children Together

In a world in which travel and communication are easier and faster than ever, many families have ties to more than one country. Some parents may relocate to pursue a job opportunity, or some may choose to live in a spouse or partner’s home country. As a result, many children are raised in bilingual households or speak a different language

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NATO is a Space for Cooperation

Recent events have fundamentally changed the landscape and security environment in Europe and around the world. These new challenges have led us to recommit to old alliances and partnerships and to transform and strengthen them as we adapt to a new reality. The United States works with its NATO allies to ensure the security of all members and recently, this

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Challenges and Opportunities for Slovakia’s EU Presidency

In just a matter of days Slovakia will assume the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) for the first time – and at a time of unprecedented challenges and opportunities. Slovakia has the opportunity to build consensus among member states on a variety of important issues that can bring benefits to Europe and beyond. On the trade

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Confronting Far-Right Extremism

We are seeing it daily in our newspapers. In the past years, months, even weeks, we have witnessed the rise of far-right groups and their political parties in the United States, in Europe, and here in Slovakia. Their growth is partially due to frustration with governments that seem incapable of addressing people’s needs. In these complicated and challenging times, it

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Slovakia is Fighting Climate Change with the United States

On Earth Day, April 22, world leaders from over 100 countries will make history at the United Nations in New York as they sign the Paris Agreement on climate change. This signing will mark a turning point in the history of our planet as we move to bring this ambitious agreement into force. Bold action is required. Europe is warming

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Opportunities for Roma Help the Whole Country

International Roma Day – celebrated on April 8 each year – is an opportunity to celebrate the rich Romani culture but also to focus on obstacles that continue to face the Romani people. The Roma have been a part of Europe’s rich cultural tapestry for hundreds of years. With their own unique languages and culture, the Roma number an estimated

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The Case for Women Leaders in Business

Margaret Thatcher once observed, “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.” The “Iron Lady” was talking about politics, but research from American business supports her statement. Last year, U.S. venture capital firm First Round Capital examined their investments from the past decade and found that investments in businesses with at least

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Jingling for Change

Over the past year Slovakia has taken some steps to fight corruption, including adopting an anti-corruption action plan, a new National Action Plan under the Open Government Partnership, and a new judicial code of conduct. These are positive steps, but public trust in Slovak government institutions remains low, indicating that there is still interest among the public for greater reform.

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What would the U.S. be without African Americans?

Every February we celebrate National African-American History Month in the United States – a time to reflect on the enormous hardships faced by generations of African-Americans, but also an opportunity to celebrate their enormous contributions to the success of our nation. The United States would not be the country it is today without the strength, determination, faith, creativity and drive

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It’s Now Simpler for Slovaks to Work in America

Entrepreneurship and innovation are the keys to turbocharging today’s industries and unlocking job growth in the industries of tomorrow. Slovakia’s smaller size inspires Slovak innovators and entrepreneurs to pursue a global outlook, with products that appeal to the international marketplace. However, dynamic companies both here and in the United States often complain that bureaucratic difficulties in obtaining work visas are

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Looking ahead to 2016

After a 2015 filled with cooperation between the United States and Slovakia on many fronts, we are excited this year to build further on this strong foundation to bring our countries even closer together. We believe 2016 can be the “year of implementation” of key efforts that are important to both out nations. For example, Slovakia has been diligently preparing

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A Combined Market from California to Košice

2015 was a year in which we celebrated the past. In 2015, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Cleveland Agreement, one of the foundational documents of Czecho-Slovak independence which helped nurture the idea of Slovak statehood. We also reflect on Slovakia’s progress over the past two decades. Slovakia’s independence and eventual membership in the European Union and NATO brought

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Let’s stop gender-based violence in Slovakia

Gender-based violence is pervasive. Worldwide, an estimated one in three women will be physically or sexually abused in her lifetime. According to a European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) survey, close to one-quarter of women in Slovakia report having suffered abuse. Gender-based violence comes in many forms, from intimate partner violence, to rape and sexual assault, to early and

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Climate Change has also affected Slovakia

As the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) is taking place in Paris, our thoughts and prayers are first with all those affected by the recent terrorist attacks there. The United States joins with Slovakia to stand in solidarity with France. Terrorists will not intimidate us nor disrupt our plans to gather as an international community in Paris

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Few Will Benefit From TTIP More Than Slovakia

This month the United States and eleven Asia-Pacific trade partners took a significant step toward a landmark trade deal when together we concluded negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP links together 12 countries that represent nearly 40 percent of the world economy. Once implemented, the partnership will spur economic growth and enhance competitiveness. The TPP will ensure high

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I’m Glad to Return to Slovakia

I first visited Slovakia in 1989 as a young college student, backpacking through Central Europe during one of the most transformative times in this region’s history.  I vividly remember the atmosphere of optimism and excitement as Slovaks and their central European neighbors looked forward to building a free, democratic future for themselves after the fall of the Iron Curtain.  Now

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