Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff in Samoa

The Second Gentleman of the United States, Mr. Douglas Emhoff landed in Samoa on July 24.  The Government of Samoa welcomed him and greeting him at the Faleolo International Airport was Associate Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), Manuleleua Paletasala Tovale, Henry Tunupopo, MFAT Acting Chief Executive Officer, and Miriama Betham-Malielegaoi MFAT Chief of Protocol.

The official day commenced with a meeting with the Acting Prime Minister of Samoa, Honorable Tuala Tevaga Iosefo Ponifasio to discuss the U.S.-Samoa bilateral relationship.  Mr. Emhoff expressed U.S. commitment to Samoa and the Pacific.

To remember, honor, and commemorate the individuals who dedicated their lives to serving their country, Mr. Emhoff laid a wreath at the World War II Memorial, on Apia Beach Road.  A moment of silence was observed to remember the sacrifices by those who served and those who continue to serve to protect freedom and liberty.

The finale of the day was a visit to the Women in Business Development Inc (WIBDI) in Nuu.  Mr. Emhoff saw firsthand the important role played by WIBDI in promoting women entrepreneurship and sustainable economic development.  Mr. Emhoff announced a significant regional USAID investment of USD2.6 million to assist with disaster risk reduction and preparedness programming in Samoa and other Pacific countries to reach communities at greatest risk of disasters.  He also announced that the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will provide additional expertise to the Pacific Islands to assess risks and prepare plans.  This includes committing USD117,000 to work with Samoa.

Before departing Samoa, Mr. Emhoff met with U.S. Embassy Samoa staff and acknowledged their work: providing U.S. citizen services while strengthening the relationship between the United States and Samoa particularly through its people-to-people programs and exchanges.

Mr. Emhoff thanked the people and government of Samoa for their hospitality and departed in the evening.

###

White House
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2023
Readout of the Second Gentleman’s Meeting with the Acting Prime Minister of Samoa

Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff met today with Acting Prime Minister of Samoa Tuala Tevaga Iosefo Ponifasio in Apia, Samoa. The Second Gentleman emphasized the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to strengthening the U.S.-Samoa relationship including broader engagement with Pacific Island countries based on shared values, mutual trust, and close people to people ties. The Second Gentleman and the Acting Prime Minister discussed how the United States and Samoa are working closely together to address critical issues facing the region, including combating the climate crisis and increasing resilience. The Second Gentleman and the Acting Prime Minister spoke about the importance of gender equity and empowering women and girls. They also underscored the importance of investing in women entrepreneurs and reviewed U.S. efforts to do so in Samoa and around the world. The Second Gentleman reiterated the United States’ commitment to continue to expand engagement with the region and grow the U.S.-Samoan partnership.

###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2023
Remarks by Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff in Apia, Samoa

As Prepared for Delivery

SECOND GENTLEMAN DOUGLAS EMHOFF: Thank you, Ms. Adi.

Thank you to the people of Samoa for the warm welcome on this historic trip. I am grateful for your generous hospitality and the chance to visit this beautiful country.

I had a good meeting with the Acting Prime Minister earlier today.

And it’s been great to see firsthand all the work the Biden-Harris Administration is doing with Samoa.

President Biden and Vice President Harris are committed to our partnership with Samoa.

Our relationship has never been stronger. And, we will strengthen it further.

We are neighbors and friends.

We have shared goals: tackling the climate crisis, investing in economic development, and empowering women.

And we have longstanding people-to-people ties.

I am here to help strengthen these ties.

The United States is proud to invest in Samoan women and families through Women in Business Development Incorporated.

Thank you to WIBDI for everything you do to promote economic development.

We are with you. And we’ll continue to invest in your work.

President Biden and Vice President Harris are fighting every day to empower women and girls – both at home and abroad.

My wife has spent her career fighting for women and children — as a prosecutor, a United States Senator, and now as Vice President.

I’ve seen Kamala all around the world – from Southeast Asia to the continent of Africa – meeting with women entrepreneurs, and investing in them.
Because she knows, when you lift up women, you lift up the status of families and communities, and all of society benefits.

President Biden and Vice President Harris are also committed to deepening our engagement throughout the Pacific region.

Last July, Vice President Harris participated in the Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ meeting and announced an expanded U.S. diplomatic presence.

Then in September, President Biden hosted the first-ever U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit at the White House.

He announced $810 million in additional investments for the region.

Since then, the Biden-Harris Administration announced our plan to invest over $7.2 billion in new funding and programs for the region.

And President Biden and Vice President Harris are looking forward to welcoming Pacific Island leaders back to Washington for a second Summit later this year.

A core part of our engagement with this region is on the climate crisis.

We know that Samoa and other island nations are on the front lines. We know this is an existential threat.

And that is why the United States stands with our Pacific partners in tackling the crisis head on.

Today, I am proud to announce $2.6 million from USAID in disaster risk reduction for Samoa and other Pacific countries.

These funds will help local farmers improve their resilience against disasters and help improve messaging around preparedness.

This builds on the great work Samoa is already doing, alongside our friends and partners, to prepare for emergencies.

The United States would like to further support Samoa and listen to its needs, such as the threat of tsunamis.

On that note, I am announcing today that the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will provide additional expertise to the Pacific Islands to assess risks and prepare plans. This includes committing $117,000 to work with Samoa.

We are eager to continue these conversations.

As always, we are here to listen and learn.

I want to conclude by expressing my gratitude for the collaboration with the Samoan government and all of our partners here.

As your friend and neighbor, the United States will continue to stand proudly with Samoan people moving forward.

Thank you again for the warm welcome.

###