Monday, July 22 2024

George Tsounis steps down as U.S. ambassador to Greece

tsounis embacy

The U.S. ambassador to Greece, Greek-American George Tsounis, is expected to complete his term in Greece in early 2025, after about two and a half years of diplomatic presence in Greece. In fact, he made his last appearance at a celebration of July 4 in Thessaloniki in his capacity as ambassador, during which, in his speech, he spoke with the warmest words about Greece and his time there.

Christian Pappas

In his last appearance at a July 4 celebration in Thessaloniki in his capacity as ambassador – since he is expected to return to the United States in about six months – George Tsounis expressed his gratitude for the warmth, kindness and acceptance that people in Thessaloniki and Greece at large have given him throughout his tenure.

A tenure that he described as "the greatest honor" at the U.S. Consulate General's event in Thessaloniki on July 4, Independence Day, at Anatolia College.

The U.S. ambassador used words of love and admiration for Greece in his short but sourced speech. As he said, 248 years ago, the struggle in the United States for Independence was based on the ethos, values and principles that emerged in Greece and in this context he made extensive reference to the ethos of Greeks as a key pillar of the development of Greek-American relations.

He praised the meaning of hospitality shown to foreigners by Greeks, while underlining the importance of love and acceptance of the Other. "We should care not only about our family or our community, but about everyone," Tsounis said, referring to the very large number of displaced people around the world, half of whom are children, whom we should "embrace".

"Think about how much determination it takes for a mother to take her two-year-old on her shoulders and the four-year-old by the hand, and risk their lives together in an inflatable [...] These people do not come to take our jobs. They are fleeing violence and are looking for an opportunity to provide their children with a proper education and to live in a place of safety and opportunity," said the U.S. ambassador to Greece. "We are at a point of reflection. This is the world we will choose to live in", noted Mr. Tsounis, underlining the need "... Together we can create love, understanding and acceptance in the world because it is not only the best we can do for our societies but also for our economies, the best lesson to teach our children."

The speech of the US ambassador to Greece did not lack personal references. In an aversion to his speech, Mr. Tsounis referred to his parents and their lives here before immigrating to the U.S. — something he is used to when talking about his ties to Greece. But also to his good friend, one of his most beloved people in the world and "proud child of Thessaloniki", as he described him, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourlas, who was among those who attended Wednesday's event.