Working visit of the President Armen Sarkissian to the Italian Republic
President Armen Sarkissian, who is in Italy on a working visit, had a working lunch with Alessandro Profumo, Chief Executive Officer of Leonardo - one of the world’s leading technological companies.
Leonardo is a partner of the prominent international conference Cybertech on the issues of cyber security which has opened today in Rome.
President Sarkissian noted that Leonardo could successfully cooperate with Armenia in the areas of cybersecurity and artificial intelligence and underscore that the mentioned areas have a great potential of development in our country.
An engaging discussion ensued regarding the cooperation in the areas of education and high technologies. Discussed was one of the new Presidential initiatives named ATOM (Advanced Tomorrow) which is aimed at the development of science and technologies in Armenia. It is envisaged to create in the framework of the ATOM, which has multiple components, a city of science and technologies where the worlds’ leading technological companies and organizations will be represented, also scientific and research institutions and universities will be established. In was noted that Leonardo too, could be interested in this program. The parties agreed to implement joint scientific and educational programs and continue consultations.
The Leonardo company is specializing in the equipment production for defense and security areas and aerospace industry with a wide implementation of high technologies. The firm has over 45 000 employees and is manufacturing helicopters, aircrafts, aerosystems, land and see defense electronics and exports its production to dozens of countries.
Leonardo has a significant industrial presence in Italy, Great Britain, US, and Poland and maintains strategic ties at the most important international markets.
On September 24, in Rome President Armen Sarkissian participated at the largest in the world Cybertech Europe 2019 international conference on the cybersecurity related issues.
Before the opening of the conference, President Sarkissian watched the Cybertech Europe 2019 exhibitions which present the latest technological achievements of the leaders in this area, new challenges existing in the global cybersecurity area, and avenues to thwart them.
Cybertech is one of the leading world platforms dedicated to cybersecurity which is attended by over 5000 state figures and heads of businesses, from nearly 40 countries as well as representatives of the security, defense, healthcare, insurance and other fields, as well leading companies from all over the world. In his remarks, President Sarkissian first thanked the government of Italy, Leonardo company and its head Alessandro Profumo for the invitation. In his intervention titled “Armenia as an emerging regional hub on the issues of cybersecurity and an attractive venue for investments” President Sarkissian said in particular:
“I am a former professor of theoretical physics and relative astrophysics. However, the quantum nature of the global risks is not related to quantum physics or quantum programming. Living a life of a scholar, businessman and later of a political figure, I understood that we are living in a period of great historic changes. The world, we are living in today, is totally different from the world we were living 10,20, or 30 years ago. Changes, which took place during the last hundred years, have totally changed our lives. Indeed, the world has changed.
Each newborn child starts to discover the world, but children born after 2000s are discovering not one but two worlds. One of them is a material world in which we live. It is the classical world in which all our actions are of a classical nature. The laws of Newton’s physics work here. But, at the same time, we are living in a non-classical world which a child starts to explore and does it through iPad, iPhone which he sees from day one. One or two-year-old child is living in two worlds – one is classical, the other is digital, virtual…
One month ago, Roma football club signed a contract with Henrikh Mkhitarian who is the captain of Armenia’s national football team. By signing that contract, the club has gained millions of new supporters who will not only cheer at the Roma’s matches but will also wear its T-shirt, etc. Through that Armenia came closer to Italy and Roma football team. All this will develop further because now the most interesting hobby is not football or Game of Thrones but interactive computer games, which one can not only watch but also participate in. In the whole world, the two areas of human activities become closer and closer and meet at some point. I am talking of entertainment and politics. Politics, which have a great deal of entertainment, have a direct impact on the society. It is no accident that we see more and more political figures who use successfully the tools of social networks, bypass traditional political institutes, such as political parties, and become successful, appealing directly to the public…
Democracy, which is emerging today, is a modern, real democracy of our times. You can exercise your rights through social networks, every day. That’s why we witness how the classical democracy, which exists in parliaments and organizations, sometimes is conflicting with the modern democracy which is manifested daily on Facebook. We live in a totally new world. But we shouldn’t be afraid of it.
Why cybersecurity is important? Cybersecurity is important because so much money has been invested in the form of research in the fight for information through the digital tools. In fact, all this talent and knowledge will be necessary to protect tomorrow social public because of cyberthreats of our times such as “fake” news. These are hackers’ attacks on the truth.
The real values of cybersecurity are secrecy, integration, and availability. This should be used also in our social life. From here we see that we live in two worlds – one is a classical, real world, the other is non-classical, quantum world in which our movements reach the speed of light. Gradually, we will be living more and more in a virtual world. Risks of the virtual world will have a direct impact on the material life. Thus, welcome to the 21st century. Welcome to a complicated life which will gradually become more and more digitalized. Digital speeds up risks, changes their nature. In my future book, which is titled “The Quantum Nature of Global Risks” and which will be published soon, I am trying to explain how global risks become quantum. To understand how we will live in the new world, we need to try to understand how human life manifests itself in a digital world. At the beginning of the 20th century the scholars were somewhat confused because they were discovering things, phenomena which were difficult to explain – the structure of the atom, elementary particles and their behavior and so on. All this was against the elementary logic. People were confused – what's going on, where are we heading to? The answer was simple: We need to understand and change ourselves. And what happened as a result was that we adapted to the new philosophy which was the philosophy of quantum physics. After that, everything became more clear and the risks of being not understood properly started to dissappear. Thus, to overcome risks, we need to get to their sources, their nature.”
In his remarks, President Sarkissian also said that we stand at the threshold of another revolution which will take place not only through scientific discoveries but also through the discovery of a new life which will be unconventional, it will be quantum. “Armenia is a classic example of a country of the 21st century,” President Sarkissian said.
“As the first Christians of the world, we have a rich history. We have always been a global nation. We had merchants engaged in trade in the early Middle Ages, traveling from China to Samarkand, Bukhara, and Manchester. I am proud that years ago, as the Ambassador to Vatican I was one of the organizers of the exhibition titled “Rome-Armenia: Republics 2000 year before.” I am confident that the 21st century will be the era of the countries like Armenia because natural resources will not be as important as in the past. There will be opportunities for innovation, adaptation, science, and technologies. We inherited and now have a high-level educational system for natural sciences – mathematics, physics, and others. Any revolution starts with kids, education. In Armenia you will see unique schools which we are exporting now to Paris, Berlin, and Moscow. That school is called TUMO. Besides, we have other schools called Aib, Quant, etc, and each of them provides a unique, innovative method of teaching kids. This is the basis of the future.
As the President of Armenia, I have my own initiative called ATOM (Advanced Tomorrow). Imagine a place where children can come and play and through it discover the laws of nature and acquire engineering qualities. A place where the young people can visit the Museum of Tomorrow. All this will be connected to science and technologies and not their history but the future. Here, one will be able to see major companies working with artificial intelligence, mathematical modeling, management of information, research in the area of cybersecurity. A platform where Armenian, American, Russia, French and other universities will conduct and coordinate their research. ATOM is a presidential initiative which is in the process of implementation. I invite you all to Armenia to become part of that project.
We have many achievements, including startups. The Seaside Startup is held in Armenia. In the framework of that project startups gather under one roof for a week, live together and communicate. From that point of view, I am confident that I am also president of a startup, and our startup is called Armenia. A young but ancient nation which has excellent qualities and knowhow, has ambitions to become big, just as any startup. I am proud to be the president of a startup, a country which strives to become one of the leaders of the world of the 21st century.
When my book is published, I will be happy to come and discuss it with you. At the same time, I would like to invite you all to Armenia, to invite Cybertech to Armenia. Cybertech should also be present in Eurasia, and Armenia is the center of Eurasia. We have very close relations with EU based on the Agreement, at the same time we are a member to the EAEU.
In Armenia, which is a truly European country and a European nation with excellent infrastructure, for instance, banks, and has ambitions to become a leading technological country, you will have a full support of the government and the president.
I hope that in coming years the Conference will come to Armenia; at the same time, I promise that next year, you will have Armenian participants here in the person of different organizations.”
In the framework of his working visit to Italy, President Armen Sarkissian met with the owner of the famous Rizzani de Eccher construction company, Claudio de Eccher.
The company, which was founded in 1831, is working mainly in four areas: construction, infrastructure development, equipment production, and specialized engineering solutions. The company is a leader in this field and maintains its presence in different countries of CIS, Eastern Asia, Middle East, Mediterranean, Africa, North and Central Americas.
During a dynamic exchange, the parties discussed opportunities of cooperation, particularly in the areas of construction, implementation of investment programs in the area infrastructure development. President Sarkissian said that the experience of Rizzani de Eccher company, which is famous for its high standards in constructions, introduction of research and innovative engineering solutions, is very important for Armenia.
Claudio de Eccher in his turn noted that they were interested in the implementation of joint programs with Armenia.
President Sarkissian offered to view the opportunities for cooperation in the reconstruction of Gyumri. They also discussed one of the President’s new initiatives aimed at the development of science and technologies in Armenia named ATOM (Advanced Tomorrow) and possibilities for cooperation in the framework of this project.
The project envisages the creation of a city for science and technologies where the leading international companies will be represented, a research center and universities will be established. Rizzani de Eccher might an interesting partner for this program. At the meeting the parties agreed that a working group would visit Armenia shortly to continue discussions and evaluate what programs could be carried out.
President Armen Sarkissian, who is in Italy on a working visit, visited today the headquarters of Elettronica Group in Rome and met with the CEO and President of the company Enzo Benigni.
President Sarkissian noted that Armenia is a leader in the technological area and cooperation with Armenia might be carried out predominantly in the areas of mathematics and artificial intelligence. Our dream is to make Armenia one of the best world centers of artificial intelligence,” the President of Armenia said.
Mr. Enzo Benigni welcomed the President of Armenia and expressed hope that friendship and cooperation in the areas of technical culture, new technologies, and cybertechnologies would continue. “I am aware that your country is willing to make investments in the research area, and research is the future for all countries,” he said and informed that he has been to Armenia on several occasions and would like to visit again.
“As an industrial company, we would like to see what kind of cooperation programs we can have in the future. I am confident that thanks to you a lot of things in your country will change,” Mr. Enzo Benigni said addressing the President of Armenia. The CEO of Elettronica informed that it is a private company founded by the Benigni family 70 year ago. The company employs nearly 1000 people from Italy and Germany. Considerable resources are channeled into the research and development programs.
“We are examining the opportunities of cooperation with Armenia, particularly would like to see our presence in Armenia in an important area such as defense,” Mr. Enzo Benigni noted. President Sarkissian said that to understand Armenia’s potential, the Italian company, as other major companies, should visit our country.
“Our potential are our scientists, as well as our young generation,” President Sarkissian noted. “It is important to understand the critical importantce of the educational system. All those major companies, which come to Armenia, come for the future, not just tomorrow. I want Armenia to have relations with the best of the best in the world. If we want to create a new generation artificial intelligence in Armenia, we need to work with the best. All this requires time, patience, and hard work.”
The interlocutors expressed hope that efficient cooperation would be established and would stem from the interests of all parties.
President Armen Sarkissian, who is in Italy on a working visit, met today with the President of Italy Sergio Mattarella.
President Sarkissian informed his counterpart on the meetings he held with various Italian companies in the framework of the visit and reached agreements and noted that he wants to assist them in organizing visits to Armenia and familiarizing with the opportunities of a mutually beneficial cooperation. He added that with some of them agreements have been reached to take practical steps in that direction.
President Sarkissian thanked the President of Italy for the invitation to conduct a state visit to Italy. He hailed the adoption last April by the Chamber of Deputies of the initiative regarding the recognition of the Armenian Genocide as well as the ratification on September 25 of the Armenia-EU CEPA agreement by the Italian Senate.
Stating existing great opportunities for cooperation in the economic, educational, cultural, and scientific areas and stressing the importance of a full utilization of the existing potential, the Presidents noted that high-level reciprocal visits will considerably contribute to the deepening of the bilateral relations and will give a new impetus to a multifaceted cooperation of the two friendly countries.
They expressed readiness to put great efforts into the development of the bilateral relations. Noting the vast experience of Italy in parliamentary governance, the interlocutors stressed the importance of cooperation between the presidential structures of the two countries, particularly, the implementation of exchange programs between the presidential administrations.
“For me, visits like this one have a very concrete working nature,” President Sarkissian said in his conversation with the journalists speaking of his working visit to Italy. “We had an invitation from the Europe’s largest cybersecurity conference. I had the opportunity to make a statement and present Armenia. As a result, next year the cybersecurity conference will be attended also by the Armenian companies. The best 40-50 companies of the world participated at the conference but Armenia was not presented, while our presence is necessary to understand how the market works and to learn from the great. I hope that after this, one year later we will hold a large cybersecurity conference in Armenia.”
The President noted that Armenia’s main areas of development are not just simple information technologies. Speaking about presidential ATOM initiative, Armen Sarkissian said that with the famous Dassault, Thales, Siemens, IBM, Leonardo and Elettronica companies in particular the preliminary agreements have been reached to start scientific, research and educational programs in Armenia.
“They understand that if they want to work in our country for a long time, they will constantly need good specialists in Armenia,” President Sarkissian said. “We need to work on many things, need to work hard, need to work well, engaging the best.
First and foremost, we need to work in the area of education. Coming to Armenia, Dassault, Thales, and Leonardo must be confident that there are high-quality specialists. The ATOM project is all about that.” In this context the President said, “By focusing on Yerevan, we deprive the young people of good employment opportunities, deprive children of good education, deprive talented future scientists or artists, who live in Gyumri, Vanadzor, Sisian or Syunik and Artsakh, of the opportunity to express themselves.”
Urging to learn about the Fatherland also beyond Yerevan, President Armen Sarkissian spoke of Gyumri and said that to revive it doesn’t mean to construct apartment buildings. “Life should be brought back, and to do it we need to visit, to discover, to find, to assist, to engage,” the President of Armenia said.
“I was in Gyumri on Independence Day. I am really happy that by the decision of the government, this year we celebrated Independence Day out of Yerevan. The residents of Gyumri were glad that in the first half of the year the city received three times more visitors than during the whole last year. It means that the taken course is right. After that we need to think about Vanadzor, Kapan and Artsakh…It’s an ongoing process.
After my previous visit to Gyumri, a large group of Italian constructors arrived to Gyumri, then we sent our representatives. The plan is the following: to bring major Italian construction firms which have huge experience in the reconstruction of old buildings, to find financing mechanisms for the reconstruction of multiple sites in Gyumri. This is first of all a culture related to the reconstruction of old buildings which we don’t have even in Yerevan.” President Sarkissian said that many of the companies, which come to Armenia, didn’t know the location of our country.
“But they come, and it’s a result of hard and consistent work,” Armen Sarkissian underscored. “I am glad that even UNESCO sent its experts to Gyumri and a process has begun to make it a UNESCO protected city. We have to learn to value our assets.”
In the framework of his working visit to Italy, President Armen Sarkissian met with the IBM Director for research, innovation and technologies in Italy Fabrizio Renzi.
Fabrizio Renzi has conducted a visit to Armenia this year and during his meeting with President Sarkissian an agreement was reached to start cooperation in the area of preservation of the cultural heritage.
The interlocutors noted that the cultural supremacy of the two countries is a serious base for working together. They discussed opportunities of making art and culture more accessible for public at large and stressed in that context the role of modern technologies, particularly, of artificial intelligence. Assessing this idea as rather interesting and promising, President Sarkissian said that often technologies are being associated with arms, the area of defense, while they might play an important role in the cultural area.
It was noted that this area could become another perspective field for the Armenian-Italian cooperation. In arts and culture in particular Armenia has a great potential for developing artificial intelligence. The creation of a platform based on artificial intelligence in this area could boost the cooperation of the two countries. It would be practical to consider the creation of such a platform where modern technologies and elements of artificial intelligence will be used, Armenian cultural assets from Armenia and from all over the world will be presented.
The parties stressed also the importance of conducting research in the areas of arts, culture, education, and science.
President Sarkissian stressed the significance of turning the reached agreements into practical steps, stressed the necessity of a consistent work of the two countries’ teams, establishment of a precise timetable and implementation of the agreed steps. All this will be finalized during Fabrizio Renzi’s upcoming visit to Armenia.
President Armen Sarkissian continues series of meetings with the heads of the leading world companies. After the meeting with the CEO of Leonardo Alessandro Profumo and the leadership of the company, which took place days ago, the discussions have entered a practical stage.
On September 26, in Rome a representative of the company presented to Armen Sarkissian documents prepared by Leonardo company on cooperation with Armenia which summarized the company’s position on cooperation areas. Leonardo company is a partner of the leading global Cybertech Europe 2019 international conference on cybersecurity which was held in Rome on September 24-25.
President Sarkissian has met a number of times with the leadership of Leonardo on different international platforms and discussed opportunities of cooperation with Armenia.
To present during his visit abroad the opportunities of cooperation with Armenia to the world’s leading companies and to establish working relations with them is a pivotal part of the President’s activities. As a result, Armenia is becoming more comprehensible and graspable for major companies which state their practical intentions to establish their presence in our country.The Italian Leonardo company is the best example.