Africa Endeavor Dinner

Welcome Remarks by Ambassador Robert Yamate

Africa Endeavor Dinner


Minister of Defense
Distinguished government and military members from more than 40 countries and international organizations,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I wanted to take this opportunity to personally welcome you to Madagascar and to the Africa Endeavor Senior Leader Communications Symposium.  I am sure you will find this country as beautiful and as welcoming as my wife and I did when we first arrived 25 years ago, and again when we returned in January of last year.  I’d also like to take this moment to thank the Malagasy defense staff who have dedicated countless hours in preparing to make this week a success—your selection to host this event is a clear signal that Madagascar has returned to the international community as a capable and willing partner.  I’d also like to thank all of the military officers gathered here for the important roles you play in democratic society as impartial guarantors of that democracy and freedom who stand apart and above the political fray and machinations.  And finally I’d like to thank the staff of the Carlton hotel for their work in supporting this wonderful event.

It is inspiring to see so many military leaders from across the continent gathered under one roof with the aim of building relationships with one another and ultimately improving interoperability.   In your roles as command, control communications and computer systems leaders you are the essential enablers that allow your nation’s myriad missions to be completed successfully.  With such a diverse and varied group when it comes to capabilities and capacities, this week represents a great opportunity for mentorship and leadership across the spectrum as you share best practices and your own lessons learned.   This interoperability is essential to our collective ability to face and defeat transnational threats as many of the countries gathered here will likely work together again (or continue working together) on peacekeeping missions, disaster response efforts, and on the myriad other challenges we face across the continent.

I hope you will take note of this week, of not only the strategic and technical benefits and advantages of communications interoperability, but also of the intangible benefits of building a culture of information sharing across the militaries gathered here.  When you leave at the end of the week, I hope you will no longer see strangers in this room but friends, mentors and colleagues with whom you can build and strengthen your own militaries as you return home.  Enjoy the dinner and comradery this evening and, as we say in Madagascar: Tonga Soa—Welcome.