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  • Recognizing U.s. Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan Mozena

    by Representative Sander M. Levin

    Posted on 2015-01-09

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    LEVIN of michigan in the house of representatives Friday, January 9, 2015 Mr. LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, as he retires from the Foreign Service next week, I rise today to recognize the outstanding work of the U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan Mozena. He led a distinguished career of public service to the United States, capped by his impressive efforts over the past several years to promote workers' safety and advance fundamental labor rights in Bangladesh.



    Following a string of tragedies in the Bangladesh garment industry, including the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory that took the lives of 1,138 workers in 2013 and the factory fire at Tazreen Fashions that took the lives of 112 workers in 2012, Ambassador Mozena has advocated for workers' safety and their right to freedom of association. He has urged Bangladesh to transform its garment sector from a model based on a race-to-the-bottom in labor standards, to one where a ``Made in Bangladesh'' becomes a label valued for the country's commitment to workers' rights and high standards for safety.

    Following the U.S. Government's decision to suspend trade preferences and issue an Action Plan focused on labor rights and factory safety, Ambassador Mozena convened the embassies of other garment importing countries (Netherlands, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union) with the responsible Bangladesh Government Secretariats on a monthly basis to track progress. This model for joint advocacy is one that merits recognition and replication as our Embassies work to elevate labor rights in developing economies.

    Ambassador Mozena worked with the U.S. Department of Labor to bring the first Labor Attachee to Bangladesh, and he leaves an institutional framework to help advance labor rights in this young and developing country. Under Mozena's leadership the U.S. Embassy became a place where workers could turn to for help when they faced coercion, repression, and anti-union violence.

    Of course, there is a tremendous amount of work that still needs to be accomplished in Bangladesh to ensure that workers are safe and that their fundamental rights are respected in the workplace. Ambassador Mozena has fought to ensure that momentum is going in the right direction in Bangladesh--we must continue this work moving forward.

    Ambassador Mozena's accomplishments extend beyond labor rights. Since presenting his Letters of Credence to the President of Bangladesh on November 24, 2011, Ambassador Mozena has strengthened relations between the United States and Bangladesh by promoting a Bangladesh that is peaceful, secure, prosperous, healthy, and democratic. He emphasized understanding the diversity of Bangladesh, making visits to each of the country's 64 districts. In the United States, he has visited Bangladeshi-Americans across the country.

    During his time as Ambassador, Mozena oversaw the largest aid budget in Asia outside of Afghanistan and Pakistan, bolstering Bangladeshi food security and nutrition, improving health, and increasing capacity to [[Page E45]] cope with climate change, natural disasters, and security challenges.

    Beyond Ambassador Mozena's current posting in Dhaka, he had an impressive career advancing U.S. interests in South Asia and Africa. He previously served in Bangladesh as Political/Economic Counselor from 1998-2001 and as a Deputy Political Counselor in India and Pakistan. A member of Senior Foreign Service, Mozena was U.S. Ambassador to Angola from 2007-2010 and previously worked in the Office of Southern African Affairs from 1993 to 1995, during South Africa's transition from apartheid to democracy. Previous postings include Lusaka and Kinshasa and a year as a professor at the National War College.

    Ambassador Mozena's family has stood by his side as he has pursued his career overseas. His wife of 40 years, Grace, is a retired elementary school teacher who served with him as a Peace Corps volunteer in then-Zaire. Their two children, Anne and Mark, followed their father throughout the world. I understand that Mozena also looks forward to spending time with the newest addition to his family, a granddaughter named Mira, as well as his mother Edna.

    As Ambassador Mozena returns to his family in the United States, we recognize his work in Bangladesh and throughout his career as a Foreign Service Officer.

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