Ambassador Henry Jardine Speech for Groundbreaking of the New Embassy Compound in Moka

Ambassador Henry Jardine

Speaking Points for the Groundbreaking

of the New Embassy Compound in Moka

Tuesday, May 30, 2023, 11:30am

NEC Site


The Honorable Prime Minister, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth;

The Honorable Deputy Secretary Richard Verma

The Honorable Deputy Prime Minister, Louis Steven Obeegadoo;

Honorable Ministers; Members of Parliament;

Excellencies Members of the diplomatic corps;

Distinguished guests:

Bonzour ek bienvenue to the groundbreaking of the New U.S. Embassy Campus in the beautiful district of Moka.

We are honored that you with us on this historic occasion – it’s not every day we inaugurate the start of a $300 million dollar embassy project.  I want to extend a special thanks to Prime Minister Jugnauth for your presence and to thank you to you and your government for the excellent support needed to launch this project.  We would not be here without your generous assistance.

Our Embassy team is also fortunate to include an extraordinarily talented and dedicated Mauritian and American staff.  Most of them are here with us, and I would like to thank them for their efforts in making this event possible.

I would also like to thank the very talented young musicians from Ecole de la Ravanne de Grand Gaube and their dedicated teachers for greeting our guest with the sounds of beautiful Mauritian sega.  Please join me in a round of applause to thank them for their contribution.

Today is the latest chapter in a long history between both our countries.  The United States has had a diplomatic presence in Mauritius almost as long as we have been a country.  The first American Consul in Mauritius, William McCarty, assumed office in 1794, less than ten years after the end of the American revolution.  And the first Embassy of the United States to the Republic of Mauritius opened its doors in 1968 as this country became independent.

I feel especially privileged and fortunate to be here at this important milestone in a very personal project.  Previously, as the Principal Deputy Director and Acting Director for the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations, the bureau responsible for the State Department’s overseas posts, I was closely involved in the initial decision to purchase this property and led the discussions on the early design considerations.  To see those years of effort come to fruition today is incredibly satisfying and humbling.

In the next few years, our Embassy will continue to grow, reflecting our expanding diplomatic, security, and commercial relations with Mauritius and this field will be transformed into a state-of-the-art campus that brings the highest commitments to environmental standards and sustainability, and represents our lasting commitment to a mutually beneficial partnership between the United States and Mauritius.

Those of you who arrived at the venue earlier may have had a chance to see our New Embassy Campus Showcase illustrating these design aspects.  The Showcase will be open again after the formal ceremony. Please stop by and see the project design.

I would also like to take this opportunity to note our partnership with lead contracting company, BL Harbert, represented today by their project manager, Brandon Blankinship.  BL Harbert has undertaken numerous diplomatic projects for the U.S. government, including our new embassies in London, Jakarta, Ankara, and Niamey, among a host of others.  Many have won leading industry awards for design excellence and sustainability.  I look forward to working closely with Brandon and his team through the course of the project.

To help us launch the formal Groundbreaking of the New United States Embassy Campus in Mauritius it is my honor to have as our special guest from the United States, His Excellency Richard Verma, United States Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources.

Deputy Secretary Verma serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the Department and leads our efforts on modernization, foreign assistance, and a wide range of workforce and strategic issues.  It is because of his leadership that projects like today are possible.  Deputy Secretary Verma also brings a wealth of regional experience, having previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to India, where he successfully led one of our largest U.S. diplomatic missions.

Therefore, it is my privilege to ask Deputy Secretary Verma to give his remarks.