Mr. Director-General, Mr. President, distinguished delegates; I am honored to represent the United States Government at this 27th General Assembly of ICCROM, an organization of which the United States has been a proud member since 1971. For the United States, the conversations we will hold and the decisions we make here on global cooperation in the field of cultural preservation and its study are at the heart of our continued commitment to multilateral action to address some of our greatest shared challenges.
My delegation would like to thank ICCROM, and particularly our outgoing Director General Mounir Bouchenaki for the tremendous work accomplished in the past biennium. Anyone who knows and has worked with Mounir knows that his enthusiasm about ICCROM and cultural preservation energizes all of us to do more. When we have VIP delegations visit from Washington to consult with the Rome-based international organizations, they always comment on the extraordinary motivation and dedication demonstrated by Mounir. In short, your presence will be truly missed and we wish you the best in your future endeavors and will look to hear of more great accomplishments from you in the field of cultural preservation.
The United States looks forward to working with the new Director General as he takes up the challenges that exist in today’s funding climate. We must acknowledge that ICCROM will need to continue to manage itself carefully as we remain in a period of global economic difficulty that continues to affect funding for cultural programs worldwide. This economic climate demands that ICCROM is the most effective steward of its available resources. In spite of the grim realities of a necessary Zero Nominal Growth budget, we thank ICCROM for the efficiencies it has achieved and reiterate the need to seek funding from non-traditional sources.
The United States maintains the utmost respect for cultural diversity in all its forms and places a premium on the preservation of the heritage of our planet. ICCROM’s role in educating and training professionals working in the field of protecting and safeguarding the treasures of mankind ensures that future generations will share the legacy of our universal past – art, architecture, and nature that have enriched us throughout the millennia. Thank you.