I thought this visit was going to be my first time in Copan Ruinas.
But when I arrived yesterday, I realized that I came here 31 years ago.
I was on my first assignment with the Foreign Service, at our Embassy in El Salvador.
I see that now as before, the ruins are impressive!
Every year thousands of Hondurans and international tourists come here to discover and explore the vestiges of a great civilization.
Here you can see the work of scientists who continue to dig for ancient Mayan artifacts.
And they can learn more about the Maya-Chorti community that continues to maintain the rich traditions that prevailed in this place.
Many people do not have the opportunity to travel from their country to visit historical sites and can simply appreciate this history through museum exhibits.
I feel honored to be on this site, a World Heritage Site and a pride of the national identity of Hondurans.
And I am even more pleased that the purpose of my visit is to present the 2022 Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation Award.
A prize with a total amount of more than $358,000 dollars, which is more than 8.8 million lempiras.
With this award and under the leadership of Asociación Copán and an expert team of Honduran archaeologists and local leaders, we will make great strides in the preservation of this cultural site.
The funds will be used to carry out conservation work on the Rosalila Temple.
Thus Honduras ensures that future generations can experience and enjoy this site.
In addition, the project will promote the sustainable care of the site through an environmental education program.
This program will focus on raising awareness about the importance of Rosalila and her intimate relationship with the environment.
This education program will involve community leaders and will reach more than 10,000 students and 8,000 adults in Copán.
Through this educational campaign, Rosalila’s conservation work will be sustainable.
It is impossible to calculate the value of the magnificent ruins of Copán.
This includes the flora and fauna that surrounds it, and the rich cultural history of Honduras that lies in the Mayan culture.
But we know that this Archaeological Park has an economic impact that extends beyond its limits.
Preserving cultural heritage also contributes to encouraging tourism and commercial activities that generate the development of the local economy and the country.
This is how we create jobs, encourage entrepreneurship and creativity, and encourage the flow of income to the local economy.
That is why the United States is committed to continue working with Honduras in the preservation of its invaluable cultural heritage.
To conclude, I want to congratulate Dr. Ricardo Agurcia Fasquelle and the team of the Copán Association for their tireless work and strong commitment to preserve the invaluable cultural heritage of Honduras.
Thank you to the staff of the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History for allowing us to hold this event in this impressive and beautiful setting, and for your support of the Rosalila conservation project.
And now, Dr. Agurcia, I want to give you the symbolic delivery of this well-deserved award.
Thank you very much.