Mission Cotonou Goes Green for Independence Day (July 8, 205)

More than 800 guests attended the first official event at the New Embassy Compound which celebrated the 239th anniversary of U.S. Independence with an environmental theme. During his remarks, Chargé d’Affaires Todd Whatley reminded the crowd that one of America’s Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, was also one of the fathers of the environmental movement in the United States and underlined the U.S. Mission’s environmental priorities and areas of engagement, noting that, “Americans know that we must be leaders in addressing the environmental challenges that we face. We are not perfect, but the U.S. Government has reaffirmed global environmental concerns, especially climate change, the plight of the ocean, and wildlife trafficking, must be at the top of our foreign policy agenda.

The audience enjoyed the event’s interactive “green theme” booths and displays, including a fair-style ‘recycle toss’ game and a popular photo booth consisting of a large U.S. flag made by a local artist entirely out of recycled materials. American Jazz singer, Joan Minor, and her band entertained the large crowd into the night.