Ambassador Pyatt’s Remarks at Junior Achievement Awards Ceremony

Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 3:00 p.m.

Delivered (virtually)

Thank you, Maria. Thank you for having me back. You know, I’ve always enjoyed these Junior Achievement events, and it’s nice that we’re able to use technology today to connect virtually. I’m really glad as well that I’m joined this afternoon by Minister Digalakis from the Ministry of Education and, of course, my friend, Minister of Digital Governance Kyriakos Pierrakakis. I think it’s fantastic that the Ministry of Education has been so supportive of JA, and that sends a really good signal about the technology future of this country.

But I also want to commend the fantastic progress that Minister Pierrakakis and his whole team have made over the past few months in accelerating Greece’s digital transformation. It’s been fantastic to watch from the outside and see how Prime Minister Mitsotakis and his government have captured the challenges created by the global Coronavirus pandemic and turned it into an opportunity to move Greece into the forefront in terms of using digital tools to deliver governance, to help make decisions, and to make government more responsive.

So it’s really appropriate that we’re doing this online today. I also want to note how proud I am of the role that America’s technology companies have played in helping Greece to respond to this crisis. Whether it’s Google or Cisco or Microsoft, all of these American technology giants have been at the forefront working with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Digital Governance to empower the government’s response to this crisis.

And for all the young people watching today, it’s worth remembering that all of those technology companies started out as startups founded by university students like yourselves who were trying to build a more exciting future. So I think as we look to Greece’s return to economic growth, we see the startup sector and technology companies playing a really important role. The United States expects to remain Greece’s preferred partner in this area, using institutions like JA to build bridges to continue the investments that we at the Embassy have made over many years in the startup ecosystem.

And it’s already showing results.  I was so excited earlier this spring when a technology startup that I had visited in Patras, Think Silicon, was acquired by one of our biggest chip design companies in the United States, Applied Materials. But importantly, Applied Materials plans to keep the work in Patras. It’s going to continue to develop and invest here in Greece. And I think that’s exactly the right message.

So you’re going to see us continuing to work in this area. I hope very much that the startups that JA is highlighting today will also be able to capture opportunities to build bridges to the United States, but most importantly, to help Greece move forward into this new, technology-driven future that we’re all working towards. So thank you again for having me with you.Ευχαριστώ πολύ. And I very much look forward to making a presentation in just a minute.

I’m very pleased to announce that the award will be going to Crowdy.