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US ambassador shares meaning of Fourth of July

The new US Ambassador to Cambodia, William E Todd, made a public appearance at the American Independence Day celebration Saturday at the Himawari Hotel.

“It is great to serve in Cambodia as US Ambassador and to celebrate the Fourth of July with Americans and Cambodians. Somebody asked me about Fourth of July and asked how it came to be,” he said.

Ambassador Todd’s last posting was as at the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan where he ran the largest foreign assistance program in US history on a $4 billion budget as Coordinating Director of Development and Economic Affairs.

Prior to Afghanistan, Todd served as US Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam. He is married to Ann Buckingham and has four children. He took time at the American Independence Day event to make a few comments about the United States and the enduring resonance of The Fourth of July.

“America was founded because a group of men called the Founding Fathers wanted to be a sovereign nation and they wanted political freedoms they couldn’t get under another country,” he said.

“The second line of The Declaration of Independence says that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Ambassador Todd said he will focus on ways to assist young Cambodians during his service here. After presenting his credentials to King Norodom Sihamoni last month, Ambassador Todd announced the creation of the US Ambassador’s Youth Council to engage Cambodians between 16 and 30 years of age on US policies and activities in Cambodia.

“The youth of Cambodia has been a focus of mine,” he said. “They are very interested in learning English and learning what’s happening around the world. Seventy per cent of this population is 30 years old or younger,” he said.

Ambassador Todd expressed his enjoyment of Cambodia during his last two months here.

“It has been an honour and privilege to serve here. I have enjoyed my first two months and had an opportunity to meet wonderful citizens and learn about the culture of Cambodia. This is a place where I felt I wanted to be. Cambodia has wonderful people and a wonderful culture. When I heard this diplomatic posting was opening, I made a push because I really like Southeast Asia,” he said.

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