Video message by Masatsugu Asakawa, President, Asian Development Bank, at ADB Staff Appreciation Day 2020, 11 December 2020

Hello, my dear colleagues. Here we are, nearing the end of a year like no other in ADB’s history, or our lifetimes. While many things from 2020 were beyond our ability to control, we still have the ability to show support and gratitude for one another. 

Today’s event is an opportunity to show that appreciation, because all of you have met the challenges of this very trying year and achieved so much. 

When I first took office in January, I noted how humbling it was to return to an ADB filled with such diverse talent and dedication. While none of us could have predicted what was coming in the months ahead, I had no doubt that you could rise to the occasion, as you have.

From the first lockdowns to hit our colleagues in the People’s Republic of China; to the closure of headquarters and other field offices; to the rapid halt to operational travel, you carried out our important work. You confronted, and adapted to, the daunting effects of the pandemic and helped ADB to map out a clear way forward. 

Our commitments of about $32 billion projected for this year—which include projected commitments of $15.6 billion for our COVID-19 response—have been purposeful, swift, and impactful because of you. I witnessed this every day, including your generosity through charity initiatives right here in Manila. I followed your contributions to knowledge, and your efforts to bring together stakeholders from across the world. Our board members and partners have also praised your many achievements.

I also saw how you stayed connected, resilient, and committed—and how you kept one another connected, safe, and supported. I even managed to see some of you in person.

I have said that we will someday look back with great pride at what we accomplished during this critical moment for our region. That day will come—and it draws ever closer as you carry on with our work, which will help to make vaccines available and rebuild for the future. But for now, on this Staff Appreciation Day, I can tell you that I am already so very proud and humbled to be a part of this community. You have made my first year as President a truly special and meaningful one. Thank you for this, and happy holidays.