Ambassador Hovenier’s Remarks at Paying Tribute to the Bill Clinton Statue on the Occasion of Presidents’ Day, February 20, 2023
President Osmani; sculptor of the President Clinton statue Izeir Mustafa; Friends of USA Foundation President Agim Rexhepi; distinguished guests; and especially to the school children gathered here today.
I am delighted by this turnout at the President Clinton statue here in Pristina to mark this public holiday in the United States of America – Presidents’ Day.
I am honored to join U.S. Ambassadors around the world in paying tribute to Presidents Day wherever there are statues or memorials to U.S. Presidents outside the United States.
Originally established in 1885, Presidents’ began as a celebration and recognition for the first president of the United States, George Washington. The holiday eventually became more encompassing to include and honor all United States’ presidents from the past to the present, and that is exactly what we are doing today.
In honor of Presidents’ Day, the White House Historical Association, a non-partisan, non-profit partner to the White House, has established a tradition in which we pay tribute to presidential statues, monuments, and busts across the world.
This initiative is particularly special here in Kosovo, where the head of state is recognizing, and has invited us to commemorate, the event.
Thank you, President Osmani, for paying tribute to our holiday – and to paying tribute to President Clinton and by extension all U.S. Presidents – in this way.
Last week we joined together to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Kosovo. We also celebrated the special relationship between our two countries.
This event is a natural extension of last week’s celebrations, as this statue of President Clinton is one of the most tangible and visible manifestations of the unique and deep relationship we enjoy.
Let me close by recalling some of the words from President Clinton at the 2009 inauguration of this statue.
“I am profoundly grateful that I had a chance to be a part of ending the horrible things that were happening to you 10 years ago, giving you a chance to build a better future for yourself”
“I never expected that anywhere someone would make such a big statue of me”
I know that the people of Kosovo will always be grateful to President Clinton for his leadership and vision. Thank you for this recognition and for joining us today.