Deputy Chief of Mission Burger’s Remarks STEM STARS Greece Competition

Deputy Chief of Mission Burger’s Remarks

STEM STARS Greece Competition

April 2, 5:00 p.m.

Technopolis City of Athens

As Prepared

 Kalispera to everyone.  I would like to thank Minister Kerameus for being here this afternoon, and for placing this competition under the Ministry’s auspices.  I would also like to thank the STEM Stars Greece sponsors, Microsoft, PriceWaterhouseCooper, and O3 (oh-three) for your support to this great initiative. And of course, a heartfelt thank you to the judges, the students, their teachers and their families.

It’s great to be with you to celebrate the final round of the STEM Stars Greece competition.  Congratulations to all the participants on the extremely hard work you’ve put in to make it here!

Our cooperation on the STEM Stars Greece program came to life during our U.S.-Greece Strategic Dialogue in 2019.  We wanted to come up with a way to expand our countries’ cooperation in the fields of science and technology.  Despite the pandemic, we’ve done just that.  I’m exceptionally proud of how far we have come.

In the last two years of the competition, we’ve all been amazed by the brilliant young minds that inspired us through their originality, innovative ideas, and passion for science.

My special thanks to Theo, Pandora and Lilly, our partners at the Athens Science Festival, and SciCo for organizing STEM Stars Greece again this year.  Your resourcefulness has kept the initiative alive throughout the pandemic.

I want to offer a special thank you to Minister Kerameus and the Ministry of Education for being such outstanding partners with the U.S. Embassy.  This is another example of how we are working closely with the Ministry of Education to strengthen educational ties between our two countries.

Minister Kerameus and her team are supporting groundbreaking reforms in the Greek education system, including encouraging the extroversion of Greek schools and universities, with an eye toward creating more joint, dual-degree, and exchange programs with the United States.  This is something we wholeheartedly support!

Her efforts will have a lasting impact on current and future Greek students, providing enhanced opportunities for international exchange and more diversified skill building to prepare them for careers in all different sectors of the Greek economy.

We are thrilled that following today’s competition, several of you will represent Greece at the next International Science and Engineering Fair in the United States.

My entire team and I at the U.S. Embassy believe in your potential.  That’s why we are supporting this program and others like it.

For example, we’ve hosted a program called “Code Girls” since 2015, an initiative offering coding training to girls ages 10-16.

We’re also implementing a project with The Hellenic Initiative called “Connect the Dots” to mentor young entrepreneurs who represent the future of the Greek economy.

And last September, we sponsored TechCamp Thessaloniki, a hands-on training program for women entrepreneurs from Greece and throughout the Balkans.

Leading American companies are already witnessing the dynamism of Greek human capital and have invested in Greece.  Microsoft, a key supporter of today’s event, announced its plans to develop three data centers in Attica, making Greece a hub for cloud computing in southeastern Europe.

Other leading U.S. tech companies like Cisco, Google, Amazon Web Services, and Apple have also helped Greece accelerate its digital transformation during the pandemic.

In 2020, the United States and Greece signed the Science and Technology Agreement which we are already leveraging to strengthen our technology cooperation.

Working with Minister Kerameus and the Ministry of Education, we’re committed to leveraging all of these developments and preparing Greek youth for a globally connected and digitized future.

The STEM Stars competition is a part of that effort!  No matter what the outcome today, I hope all of you honed your skills, explored the fields of engineering and STEM, and can better see a place for yourself in Greece’s digital future.

Efcharisto poli, and congratulations once again to all of the participants!