Ambassador Levine’s remarks at the Sports Club Portugues in New Jersey

Ambassador Levine’s Remarks at the Portuguese Sport Club
New Jersey
September 22, 2023
(As prepared)


Hello Ironbound!!

I am so excited to be back here tonight – especially with my good friend and long-time good friend to the American people, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

Special thanks to Ambassador Duarte Lopes, Consul General —- and the Sports Club Portugues for hosting us.

It speaks volumes about the importance of the Portuguese diaspora and our strong bilateral relationship that you have made time in your busy schedules to be with us. And shout out to my dear friend Garret McNamara – whose HBO show the 100 foot wave helped put Nazare on the map and has become a great symbol of our two countries’ friendship.

When I was nominated as the next U.S. Ambassador to Portugal, Jeff and I made our first visit to the Ironbound district to discover “little Portugal” and I was so touched by the warm welcome I received.

I was hosted by my Portuguese language teacher Christiano Liborio, and although I was not one of his strongest students, he laid the foundation for my love of Portugal and the Portuguese people.

The Portuguese American community — from the East Coast, to California and all the way to Hawaii –has made its indelible mark on American culture.

Your traditions, language, music, and of course food have enriched our nation’s multicultural identity.

Portugal is so much more than just fado, football and Fátima. And the Portuguese diaspora’s importance extends far beyond cultural contributions. Your economic impact cannot be underestimated.

Last year’s report from FLAD described the meaningful mark Portuguese Americans have made across a whole range of fields, from entrepreneurship to academia and healthcare to technology.

You’ve created jobs, fostered innovation, and contributed to America’s economic growth. Whether it is in energy transition or digital transition, Portuguese and American companies are providing global solutions and creating jobs and opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic

It is such an honor for me to represent the U.S. in Portugal. I have traveled all over the beautiful country – from the Azores to Alentejo, Madeira to Melides, Porto, Braga, Guimaraes and more – and been welcomed warmly at every stop. I have met with Portuguese government officials, musicians, artists, businesses, tech leaders, energy leaders and manufacturing sector to support bilateral investment and work towards our shared goals and democratic values.

Although I will always be a New Yorker – in fact I live only 20 minutes from here in the West Village – Portugal has stolen a piece of my heart. It is an honor and privilege to represent America in Portugal and I will continue to work on behalf of both of our countries to enhance and strengthen our friendship and pave the way for continued growth and success.