USAID Administrator Mark Green's Remarks at the Kom Ombo Temple Ribbon Cutting

Remarks

For Immediate Release

Monday, March 25, 2019
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: press@usaid.gov

 
March 25, 2019
Kom Ombo Temple
Cairo, Egypt

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Good morning. Minister of Antiquities, representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, and, of course, Governor Ibrahim, and many distinguished guests, we are delighted to be here, and we are honored by your hospitality. We are also honored because this day, the completion of this project, is indeed a very special moment, not just for all of you, but, I think, for the world.

I've just had the opportunity to walk through the temple. And I was struck by the unique blend of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cultures on display. This temple is a truly important record of human history, of Egypt's rich cultural heritage, and we see that it spans several ancient and great civilizations.

This new groundwater lowering system will help prevent water from eroding the foundation of the temple and eventually causing ruin to the structure. Our effort together, our cooperative partnership to complete this system, and preserve the temple, ensures that generations to come will be able to visit, to learn, and to be inspired by the vast history on display here.

As you know, rising groundwater is a threat to ancient structures throughout Egypt. Damage to this and other sites would be a significant loss, not just for Egypt, but for the entire world. USAID is a proud partner with the Government and the people of Egypt to protect these key archaeological sites.

Over the past 25 years, USAID has provided more than $100 million to preserve, restore, and protect cultural heritage sites throughout Egypt. That funding has supported the development of large-scale engineering systems, like this one, at some of the country's most prominent historical sites: the Sphinx in Giza; Karnak Temple in Luxor; and the Catacombs in Alexandria. These investments in preserving the past, we all know, are, also, investments in Egypt's future.

The tourism industry is an important driver of economic growth, job creation, and development here in Egypt. Every year, millions of tourists travel here to experience the country's vibrant culture. And we know that number will only increase. That's why USAID also supports restoration and conservation training programs that give Egyptians the skills, and experience, and knowledge to better manage, and grow, the tourism sector.

As that sector grows, business opportunities will also increase and, along with it, the prosperity of the communities involved. Together, we are empowering these communities to lead their own bright future. As some of you may have noticed, that under the logo, the symbol of USAID, are the words from the American people. And we are very serious about those words, that we know that any support we are able to offer does not come from the government. It does not come from me. It comes from the people of America and it is to the people of Egypt. Two countries, two peoples, close friends, bound in history, and, I think, bound in a beautiful, wonderful, productive future. Thank you.

Last updated: March 25, 2019

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