DoD/Botswana Defence Force Women, Peace, and Security Social Event: Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Howard Van Vranken

Thursday, September 21, 2023, Gaborone, Botswana

As prepared for delivery

Dumelang, Bagaetsho!

Senior officials, officers and soldiers, thank you for joining us tonight as we affirm our bilateral commitment to Women, Peace, and Security. All protocols observed, dumelang!

The United States and Botswana are like brothers and sisters. And our long history of partnership is based on shared values—a commitment to democracy, rule of law, human rights, and a prosperous economy where people are free to build their own futures, and respect for international law.

The work we’re doing this week is an extension of those values. I’m excited to see representatives from across the BDF, North Carolina National Guard, U.S. Air Force, and our Embassy collaborate on expanding women’s roles in the security sector. I hear you’ve had a productive two days developing the WPS campaign that will guide our partnership over the next five years and look forward to signing my name to that effort tomorrow. I’ve made advancing gender integration and countering gender-based violence one of my top priorities during my time as ambassador. I’m delighted to see that our defense and BDF officials have embraced that charge and are leading the way for other institutions to follow.

For tonight, let us join together and be social because tomorrow starts the hard work of putting the plan into action.

Thank you.