Chargé d’Affaires Gwen Cardno’s Opening Remarks for AmCham Myanmar’s Virtual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Recognition Program 

Chargé d’Affaires Gwen Cardno’s Opening Remarks for AmCham Myanmar’s Virtual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Recognition Program 

November 26, 2020

“Corporate social responsibility reflects America’s values. I am happy to see the American Chamber of Commerce provide steady support to sustained CSR efforts in Myanmar.” – Gwen Cardno, Chargé d’Affaires

Good morning everyone and happy Thanksgiving.   

Thank you to the American Chamber of Commerce for inviting me to virtually join today, and congratulations for finding a way to hold the event, even as COVID makes coming together in person impossible.  I want to warmly welcome the seventeen companies receiving recognition for their corporate social responsibility efforts today.

Words are insufficient to express how challenging this year has been.  I can only imagine the stress that all companies have faced as you protected your employees from COVID, pivoted your business in unprecedented ways,  or made choices on the sacrifices that would be needed to make payroll.  

Yet, no matter how this pandemic has rocked our lives, each of your firms  maintained a commitment to corporate social responsibility while weathering a daily storm of adversity. So, it is fitting that this event falls on Thanksgiving.  I say that because in the United States, in between the American football games, the overeating of turkey, and the spilling of gravy, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect with gratitude upon those things we cherish, like the community we live in.  

And it’s the betterment of that community that is at the heart of your CSR programs, programs from companies like Coca-Cola, Ball, Inya and the many others that created economic opportunities for the disadvantaged, or positively impacted the environment, or gave those in need an education.

The U.S. government is committed to responsible business and to working with AmCham to continue to set an example of corporate responsibility and good practices in Myanmar.  Earlier this year, USAID established a new program to work with the private sector to facilitate responsible trade and investment. USAID is excited to do this new work in Myanmar, and is already connecting with AmCham’s leadership and Board, even at this particularly challenging time.

So as I celebrate Thanksgiving and reflect on what matters, I want to thank the members of the U.S. business community that have committed to transparent, socially responsible  and philanthropic programs, concepts that are deeply embedded in the American spirit.

I have a few other reasons to be grateful today.  For one, I welcome the participants in this virtual meeting who have recently arrived in Yangon.  I look forward to working together to promote responsible business in Myanmar.  And as we celebrate Thanksgiving, may I suggest we raise a glass to toast America’s leading pharmaceutical companies that recently announced successful trial studies on their COVID vaccines.  I hope that this signals the beginning of the end of this difficult period.

And, finally, we are all grateful to AmCham for being an inspiration and a champion for good business practices, responsible investment, and CSR excellence in Myanmar.  Have a great event and wonderful Thanksgiving.

### END ###