Ambassador Hall’s Remarks at the Lithuanian-American Innovation Award Ceremony


Remarks at the Lithuanian-American Innovation Award ceremony

Vilnius University – Rector’s Aula
February 28, 2018

Ministers Linkevicius and Sinkevicius, Vice Rector Jankauskas, Ms. Pasky, Ms. Altman, Award applicants, and honored guests –

It gives me great pleasure to be here today to help present the Lithuanian-American Innovation Award.  This award is a combined initiative of the American Lithuania Business Council, the U.S. Embassy, and the Baltic American Freedom Foundation.  I’d like to express special thanks to BAFF for their financial support – without which this award would not be possible.

Innovation is a key element of a growing economy.  Regardless of the field, whether in medicine, manufacturing, agriculture, or business, innovation is what keeps an economy efficient and competitive.

The United States’ own National Security Strategy emphasizes the importance of innovation when it says, “We will nurture a healthy innovation economy that collaborates with allies and partners, improves STEM education, draws on an advanced technical workforce, and invests in early-state research and development (R&D).”  Fostering shared innovation with our friends is beneficial to all of us.

It is this kind of thinking that led us to sponsor this Innovation Award –calling attention to the high level of innovation and collaboration occurring between Lithuanian and American partners, and providing modest financial support to encourage this innovation to continue.

Both of our countries are on the cutting edge of innovation, and this is one small way to make the world aware of that.  Already partnerships in this field are creating jobs in both of our countries and advancing ideas for new products.

Last year, we were honored to present the award for the first time to:

  • Linas Mažutis — Droplet Microfluidics, for Single-Cell Isolation technology;
  • Virginijus Šikšnys, Giedrius Gasiunas, and Tautvydas Karvelis of Vilnius University for their CRISPR-Cas9 Technology;
  • and Mr. Rimas Gulbinas and Maalka Commercial Building Sustainability Platform.

We continue to see these names in the news, and we are very proud that we were able to be supportive of their work.

This year, I believe we have equally impressive contestants.  But before we get to that, I would like to ask Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius to speak, and then Minister of Economy Virginijus Sinkevičius to say a few words on their vision of facilitating innovation to strengthen and grow the Lithuania economy.

Minister Linkevicius and Minister Sinkevičius, we are honored to have you both join us today.