Chargé d’Affaires Marcus Micheli’s Opening Remarks at American-Lithuanian Technology Forum
September 18, 2019
Good morning/Labas rytas. I am delighted to have this opportunity to be here this morning to welcome you all to the American-Lithuanian Technology Forum. I would like to thank all the organizers for their hard work in putting this event together. Thank you to all who are present, for finding time in your busy schedules to join us today. And I’d even offer a thank you to those who are not present, but who are working tirelessly to instill a culture of innovation in Lithuania and advance the field of technology here.
We all now live in a world with ever-present technology. It penetrates our homes, our friendships, our work relationships, our governments, and our global networks. We recognize the benefits of the rapid development of modern technology, but we also recognize the challenges, including cybersecurity, privacy issues, and the loss of human dimension in the face of technology. The United States cooperates with its partners and friends, like Lithuania, as we reap the benefits and address the challenges of technology. Together we’re looking for solutions to those challenges — solutions that are the most optimal and beneficial for our countries and for human development as a whole.
It’s with that cooperative spirit in mind that I want to turn to the Lithuanian-American Innovation Award, which will be presented later during this event. The Lithuanian-American Innovation Award was established in 2016 as a joint effort between the American-Lithuanian Business Council and the Baltic American Freedom Foundation. ALBC proposed the establishment of an annual award, with the aim of strengthening the U.S. connection to the high-tech industry in Lithuania, and promoting innovative partnerships between U.S. and Lithuanian entities. Since then, the U.S. Embassy has partnered with the American-Lithuanian Business Council and the Baltic American Freedom Foundation to administer the award.
Every year we receive applications from businesses, individuals, and academic institutions representing a wide range of topics. The actual content of these applications is truly fascinating stuff, but even more than that, the applications are a tangible reminder that the relationship between our countries goes well beyond government-to-government cooperation. It’s the individuals, the universities, and the companies in Lithuania and the United States that are the real heart and soul of our relationship — trailblazers who take initiative, create partnerships, and develop ideas and businesses together. This cooperation creates opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic and contributes to our mutual growth and security.
I want to thank the Baltic American Freedom Foundation for providing the financial support for this award, and the American-Lithuanian Business Council for coming up with this brilliant idea.
I wish all the applicants best of luck in their future endeavors. To me, they are all winners. They took the initiative to do something they are good at, something they enjoy doing, and something that benefits their society — and on a personal note, as chargé d’affaires, I appreciate that they did something to promote U.S.-Lithuanian cooperation, which means they made my job that much easier.
Thank you, and I look forward to celebrating many more of our mutual achievements in this field.