Ambassador Pyatt’s Remarks at Junior Achievement Awards Ceremony

Ambassador Pyatt and President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos congratulate the award recipients (State Department Photo)

Ambassador Pyatt’s Remarks at Junior Achievement Awards Ceremony

Foundation of Hellenic World

June 1, 2018

Good evening, everyone. Your Excellency President Pavlopoulos, Mr. Mitsotakis, Deputy Minister Vaxevanakis, honored guests, students and teachers, it’s a great pleasure to be here to celebrate the successful completion of this year’s Student Company Program.

I want to express a special thanks to the outstanding Junior Achievement team, especially Honorary President, my good friend Litsa, and also President Markos Veremis, for hosting us all today and for what you do.

I’m thrilled that the U.S. Embassy enjoys such an excellent relationship with Junior Achievement, which was founded in the U.S. in 1919 and has expanded to more than 120 countries.

I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Education for recognizing and embracing the work that Junior Achievement is doing in schools all over Greece.  Bringing innovation and entrepreneurship into the educational curriculum helps prepare students for the modern globally connected economy and has proven to be an important element in the U.S., as well.  I hope that JA’s collaboration with the Ministry of Education continues and expands in the future.

JA’s mission to help build the next generation of business leaders coincides with one of the U.S. government’s top priorities here: to support Greece’s full economic recovery.  The United States has a strategic interest in Greece’s economic success.  The stronger Greece is, the better our ability to work together on our shared goals in this region.  And we firmly believe that the best means to achieve this objective is to cultivate Greek entrepreneurship and innovation.

The U.S. Embassy works with local entrepreneurship groups, such as the MIT Enterprise Forum, Mindspace, Found.ation, Impact Hub, and many others – to bring U.S. experiences with entrepreneurship to Greek students and startups. Indeed, some of my most inspiring experiences through my two years in Greece have been pitching competitions and visits with young Greek entrepreneurs, and I know you will be key to this country’s future.

We are also very busy organizing our participation as the Honored Country at this year’s Thessaloniki International Fair 2018, which will focus on the theme of “Innovation.” The U.S. Pavilion at TIF will feature companies and organizations that represent the best examples of American enterprise, innovation, technology, culture and education: big tech companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Cisco.

We will also have special activities aimed at helping startups, and I know Coca Cola plans to continue some of its youth empowerment activities at TIF as well. So we see the Thessaloniki Fair as an opportunity to bring Greece and the United States closer together to foster more partnerships between the entrepreneurs and creative minds of both countries. We also hope it will be an opportunity for Greece to highlight – on the world stage – the investment opportunities here.

So now, a last message to our guests of honor: all of the student company participants we just saw on the stage today.  Entrepreneurial skills are essential life skills. Whether you actually become entrepreneurs, or like me have a business career that tops out with a newspaper delivery route, through your participation in Junior Achievement you have acquired skills that will better prepare you for the future.