President Armen Sarkissian's working visit to the United Arab Emirates
President Armen Sarkissian, who is the United Arab Emirates on a working visit, met with the President of Indonesia Joko Widodo.
President of Indonesia highly valued the meeting with the President of Armenia and spoke about the Armenian-Indonesia historical ties and noted in particular the Sargis family.
Stressing the importance of carrying on with the traditions, President Sarkissian said that his objective is to encourage the expansion of cooperation of the two countries, to use fully existing potential and opportunities. Noting that Armenians are a global and closely interrelated nation, Armen Sarkissian said that thanks to a global distribution of the Armenians and Armenian business, potential for cooperation increases manifold.
The Presidents of the two countries stressed in particular the expansion of cooperation in the areas of IT, creative education, and innovations as well as the exchange of experience. In this context, President Sarkissian spoke about the ATOM (Advanced Tomorrow) presidential initiative aimed at the development of science and education and noted that this multifaceted project envisages in particular the creation of the Museum of Future for kids and the first in Armenia Disneyland based on artificial intelligence. The program aims also at bringing to Armenia representatives of the information and high technology international companies, making our country a leading center of artificial intelligence, management of large volumes of information and mathematical modeling. The sides spoke in this context about the opportunities of cooperation in this framework with Indonesian companies.
The two Presidents exchanged also views on the prospects of cooperation in the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union. The President of Indonesia said that his country was anticipating Armenia’s assistance in signing an agreement with the EAEU on the establishment of a free trade zone. President Sarkissian underscored that the bigger and more dynamic the Organization is, the more attractive it would be for the expansion of cooperation with its member states. He also spoke about Armenia’s competitive advantages which create great opportunities for the investors from Indonesia in entering new markets.
At the meeting stressed was the importance of facilitating reciprocal visits and contacts of the citizens of the two countries, boosting of tourism, and noted was Armenia’s being an interesting, culturally and historically attractive touristic destination.
They also spoke about opportunities of cooperation in the areas of agriculture and food security. President Sarkissian said that Armenia can export high-quality fruits and vegetables, hydroponic produce and goods which would be competitive in Indonesia.
President Armen Sarkissian, who is in the United Arab Emirates on a working visit, in the capital city of Abu Dhabi participated at the opening of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week prestigious international forum which was attended by the Crown Prince of UAE, Deputy Supreme Commander Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, President of Rwanda Paul Kagame, Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić, heads of state and government from other countries, diplomats, politicians and public figures, major businessmen, over 4000 participants from nearly 175 countries.
The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week forum is being held since 2008. It is a global platform which brings under one roof heads of state, politicians, reputable experts, scientists, and entrepreneurs to discuss global challenges for the world’s sustainable development and urgent issues.
The Zayed Sustainability Award ceremony also took place during the opening of the Forum.
The President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian handed the award to the Al Amali School. Al Amali is among a few schools in Morocco which educates students in the area of agriculture and teaches to overcome water shortages in summer. The school is striving also to have a positive impact on the community by implementing a number of programs which are aimed at raising the awareness in the areas of ecology and sustainable development. One of the projects offered by the schools is aimed at providing water through clean energy.
Zayed Sustainability Award is being handed since 2008 and aims at encouraging entities working in the areas healthcare, food, energy, education and water supply which put forward innovative and inspiring solutions for sustainable development.
President Armen Sarkissian, who is in the United Arab Emirates on a working visit, met with the Crown Prince of UAE, Deputy Supreme Commander Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
President Sarkissian thanked Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for the invitation to participate at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week forum and noted, “Warm relations between our countries and peoples are very precious to us. We are ready to further develop and expand them.”
President Armen Sarkissian stressed the importance of the agreement on mutual development signed during his last December visit to the United Arab Emirates between the leader in production of renewable energy Masdar company and the Armenian National Interests Fund. The agreement envisages development and implementation of solar energy production projects in Armenia totaling 400 MW which will attract nearly 300 million USD investments to Armenia.
Noting that Armenia has beautiful nature, the President said that this project, which is an important step toward the diversification of Armenia’s energy system, would make Armenia even greener.
President Armen Sarkissian and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan discussed the entire range of Armenia-UAE cooperation. Among promising areas of cooperation they noted innovations, IT and high technologies. In this context President Sarkissian presented the ATOM (Advanced Tomorrow) presidential initiative aimed at the development of science and technologies and noted that this multi-component project envisages in particular creation first in Armenia Disneyland for kids based on artificial intelligence. It also aspires to bring to Armenia major international IT and high technology companies, turning our country into a leading center for artificial intelligence and mathematical modeling. “We will be glad to cooperate in the framework of this project also with the companies from the Emirates,” the President of Armenia underscored.
The interlocutors mentioned also great potential for cooperation in the areas of food security and agriculture, exchanged views on the issues related to nuclear energy, nuclear fuel, and management of nuclear waste.
Tourism was also mentioned as an area of mutual interest. From the viewpoint of developing tourism and business ties, President Sarkissian stressed the importance of establishing a direct air link between Abu Dhabi and Yerevan. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan instructed the head of the relevant structure to discuss the issue and provide a practical solution.
The extended meeting with the participation of the delegations was followed by a private meeting between the President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian and the Crown Prince of UAE, Deputy Supreme Commander Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
President Armen Sarkissian, who is in the United Arab Emirates on a working visit, met with the Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić who is participating at the prestigious international Abu Dhabi Sustainability forum.
Stressing the recent efficient meetings and discussions, the interlocutors spoke of the process of implementation of the previously reached agreements. They noted with satisfaction that the Armenian-Serbian relations were progressing gradually. Citizens of Armenia have already been granted a free visa entry to Serbia. The agreement on this was reached during President Sarkissian’s official visit to Serbia.
The Prime Minister of Serbia informed that an embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Armenia would open in the end of February. It was noted that those were important steps aimed at the strengthening of the relations between the two countries.
The sides also praised another agreement, about holding the Armenian Seaside Startup Summit forum along with the annual EXIT music festival being held in the Serbian city of Novi Sad.
The President of Armenia and Prime Minister of Serbia discussed promising areas of bilateral cooperation. Noting that both in Armenia and in Serbia problems of ecology and green technologies were very important, President Sarkissian said that two countries could cooperate successfully in this area too. The parties noted great potential of a mutually beneficial cooperation also in the areas of technologies, IT, and artificial intelligence. In this context, they spoke about opportunities of cooperation in the framework of the ATOM (Advanced Tomorrow) presidential initiative.
President Armen Sarkissian in the framework of his working visit to the United Arab Emirates met with the President of Rwanda Paul Kagami who also participates to the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week international forum.
The Presidents of the two countries concurred that Armenia and Rwanda have multiple similarities, comparable history and problems, both nations survived a genocide, both are small but strong, have numerous advantages which can be translated into success and they also have common interests. The parties agreed that the two countries need to discover each other, familiarize with each other’s opportunities and it is necessary to work vigorously in that direction.
Stating that multiple examples prove that small countries can also be strong, efficient and successful, Presidents of Armenia and Rwanda spoke about the necessity of a close cooperation of the successful small countries.
Stressing the importance of a full utilization of potential existing in the cooperation between Armenia and Rwanda, the Presidents discussed the possible areas of cooperation. President Sarkissian noted that among promising areas of cooperation is the area of e-governance which is rather developed in Rwanda. The President of Armenia stressed the necessity of implementing exchange programs in this field.
Among perspective areas of cooperation mentioned were also IT and innovations, creative education, agriculture, food security areas, as well as students exchange programs.
President Sarkissian noted that this year Armenia would host a number of international conferences, particularly the Armenian Summit of Minds and STARMUS 6th international festival and invited his counterpart from Rwanda to participate in the mentioned events.
In the framework of his working visit to the United Arab Emirates President Armen Sarkissian met with the UAE Minister of State for Food Security Mariam Al Muhairi.
In continuation of the discussions on the implementation of the practical agreements reached during the previous meetings of President Sarkissian, particularly during his preceding working visit to the UAE, the President of Armenia and UAE Minister of State spoke about cooperation of the two countries in the area of food security, including steps aimed at making Armenia a regional platform in this field.
President Sarkissian invited the UAE Minister of State for Food Security to Armenia to once again discuss the forthcoming programs and learn firsthand about the competitive advantages of our country.
In the framework of his working visit to the United Arab Emirates, President Armen Sarkissian participated at the discussions on sustainability, environment, and renewable energy related issues and women’s participation in their resolution. Discussions were held in the framework of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
Stressing the importance of such discussions, President Sarkissian said that the pertinent issues were related to the future and projected challenges, to the risks which would emerge tomorrow. “We are living in a century where the young, innovations, and startups rule the world,” the President of Armenia said. “This country is a good example of how new technologies, knowledge, wise decisions and leadership can have good results for all.”
Speaking about sustainability and viewing it as an important factor for the countries’ development, President Armen Sarkissian in that context stressed the importance of women’s role in maintaining sustainability and creation of the atmosphere of tolerance. Underlining the role of women in the family as special and invaluable, President Sarkissian stressed their great contribution to raising children, preservation of culture, language, national values and traditions. The President noted at the same time that in a changing world the women have more opportunities to engage and show their abilities, to participate to the decision-making processing in different areas, to be successful in different fields, including technologies, politics, and entrepreneurship.
President Armen Sarkissian, who is in the United Arab Emirates on a working visit, was today at the Saint Gregori the Illuminator Church in Sharjah.
After the prayer of thanksgiving, Armen Sarkissian laid flowers in the backyard of the Church at the memorial installed on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and paid tribute to the memory of innocent victims.
At the hall of the Ohanessean Armenian School, President Sarkissian was present at a small concert performed by the students of the School. Later, he met with representatives of the community.
“I am one of you, and you all are part of Armenia. These are not the words of gratitude or appreciation. This is the truth,” President noted in his remarks. “Armenia is not only our buildings, history, land, mountains, and churches. Armenia is all of us, together. You are part of Armenia, regardless of whether you have a passport of the citizen of the Republic of Armenia, or not. I am confident that any Armenian child, regardless of where he or she was born, being born in the Armenian family together with being born in the family is also being born in Armenia. It means that it is not mandatory to be born in Armenia to have Armenia in oneself.
I dream of a day when all Armenians come back to the Fatherland but I want to believe that each of you has already come back to Armenia. You have come back because you have Armenian passports, in Armenia you have relatives, you love Yerevan, and are ready to serve the Fatherland. You have come back because in the times of need, you are ready to sacrifice a lot of things in the name of the Fatherland, because you are ready to work and make it powerful and strong. Only a powerful, strong, and resilient Fatherland will unite us, make us strong and confident. Regardless of where you live – US, Argentine, Lebanon, Russia or elsewhere, if Armenia is powerful and stable, we all know that we have a home where we can return in times of need.”
President Sarkissian urged them to visit Armenia, Artsakh, to rediscover the Fatherland and let the children know about Armenia because they are the future citizens of the Republic of Armenia. “I make no difference between Armenians in Armenia and in Spyurk. Armenia is our common land, our common Fatherland, and home,” President Sarkissian said.
Children present at the meeting with the President of Armenia, recited line of the Great Toumanin which Armen Sarkissian addressed to them with a little modification, “Live, children, and live like us because we are a victorious and strong people. Live, children, and live better then we. Live, children, and have greater victories than we have had.”
Noting that in the 21st century the world is changing rapidly, President Sarkissian said that the nations, which have certain qualities, which have preserved their national culture, identity, church, faith, language, and are tied to their native land can be successful. “Today, Armenia is strong also because of you. You can link Armenia with the world,” President Sarkissian told our compatriots. “Those nations, which have opportunities to develop new technologies and be stable and confident in the rapidly changing world, will be able to achieve success. I assure you that it will be exactly that way because it is no accident that we had been going through hardship and suffering for centuries, went through the immense calamity of the Genocide and became a nation which is able to survive and revive. We are a victorious nation and each of us should be proud of it and keep the victorious spirit within. I have no doubts about our future; I am confident that the 21st century will be our century.”
Speaking of his visits to the UAE, President Sarkissian said that in the last year the relations between the two countries registered considerable success both in making the relations closer as well as in the implementation of different programs.
President Armen Sarkissian during his working visit to the United Arab Emirates and in the framework of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week forum made a presentation at the “Young for Sustainability” conference.
“For me, it’s a journey through time, journey to the future, because one day, maybe fifty years from now, one of you will be standing here and will be telling the next generation about your life experience, will present your thoughts related to the future. I hope on that day you will remember me and fifty years from now will send me your greetings,” the President said addressing the young audience. “You are the future. I believe time is one of the greatest assets in our life.” The President suggested to turn for a moment the wheel of time back, for one hundred years, “Let’s visit one of Armenia’s small villages, meet with a shoemaker and say, “Hello, master Petros, how are you?” “I am making shoes; the entire village is wearing my shoes. My family will carry on with my business because it’s a stable income.” He will tell you how difficult it is to go to the neighboring village and use the services of the local shoemaker. I will tell him that I have come from the future. He will ask me who is making shoes in villages of the future. I will tell him that I am not a villager, I travel a lot, and I often wear shoes made in Italy. He will inquire where Italy is. I will tell him that it is thousands villages and towns away…
One hundred years ago, the people were passing on their concerns to their children, but now, as we stand on the crossroads of civilizations and new technologies, sustainability in a rapidly changing world presumes first and foremost that whatever you do will not last forever.”
According to the President, in the rapidly changing world sustainability means development. “Sustainability today means having more opportunities, and we should use that chance,” President Sarkissian said. “Today, all that has become easier. Today, those who have bright minds, are smart, learn fast, go to college, are active and have a vision, possess great opportunities because success becomes younger by day. Years ago, should we tell that it is possible to become a billionaire in 25, people would laugh. But today, when I speak to young people, everyone wants to become Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. It proves that the world is changing. Those, who can take a piece of information, examine and use it, have a vision and are able to process that information and see 30-40 years ahead and understand what will happen years later, will be successful. It is necessary to have a vision, a program, a strategy and implement it every day.” As an example, the President spoke of his dream to travel to space, “When I was very young, the first human traveled to space. His name was Yuri Gagarin. It seemed like science fiction. How is it possible for a human to travel to space? But from that day on, I was dreaming of flying to space. And all my life I have been thinking, will I be able to fulfill my dream, or not? First, I was a scientist, while for traveling to space it is necessary to be physically apt, trained, to be an astrophysicist. It meant that a young mathematician would not be able to accomplish it. Later, I became a diplomat, then prime minister, later still a free man, an entrepreneur but the dream is still there. When I was very close to the realization of my dream and had enough funds to become a space tourist, I became president. But I continue to dream and may become the first president who will travel to space.”
President Sarkissian noted that the world is changing but from the viewpoint of human values it is pretty much the same. “We should be afraid of these changes,” the President noted. “Everything will be changing much faster, every day. In 1960-70s there were only two superpowers which were able to send humans to space; today even private companies are thinking about doing it. Space travel will become a commonplace. Thirty, forty, fifty years ago people were concerned that because of computers they would lose their jobs. But computers created hundreds of millions of new jobs. The next is artificial intelligence, but there is no need to worry because our natural, human intelligence is million times more powerful than any artificial intelligence. It will help us create robots, will multiply our physical abilities; you will use robots and it will make your life more creative. You will not be engaged in physical work but in creative one.
We come to understand how profitable industrial revolution is; however, at the same time we have caused great damage to the nature and climate. But using the same technologies, which are in use for hundreds of years, we will be able to heal the wounds of the world. With new technologies and your talent, we can clean our world. There are three solutions to heal the world and move us forward: first, technologies created by the human genius. And you will carry on that job. Second is human potential which has not been fully utilized yet; it’s the talent of young people, including women’s. And third, we need to be smart.
God help us to be smart enough. We must not be afraid of technologies. The only thing to be afraid of are ourselves, because we can use nuclear power for benefit as well as for harm. Any good idea, we can use it for good or for bad.
Thus, my message to you is this: the most important values are your human values, your morality, and your humanity. Don’t be afraid of anything.”
President Armen Sarkissian, who is the United Arab Emirates on a working visit, participated in the debates held in the framework of the “Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week”.
With regard to the first agenda item of the discussions, which pertained to sustainability in the context of politics, President Sarkissian noted in particular that speaking of sustainability of a country, region, territory or the entire world, it is necessary to reckon firstly about the world of the future. “Speaking of sustainability seems easy but the reality is much more complicated because sustainability is tied not only to the time but has other components, too,” the President of Armenia said. “National character should be taken into consideration, too, the development stage the given country is in, and the system of governance of the country.
We are living in a quantum world which is almost unpredictable, where each small element, Armenia too, has influence and can be successful. The UAE is also of that type - small but powerful and successful country. In small countries individual strengths multiplies. Armenia in particular has a unique national character and people’s attachment to Facebook is great, the society is engaged in the processes aimed at ensuring sustainability.”
According to President Sarkissian, to maintain sustainability in a country, it is necessary to have a proactive society, business which has special interests. “A country needs to have a precise vision on the accomplishments it wants to achieve by creating harmony among different players, by engaging first and foremost the society, and talking to the people,” the President said. “Interaction with the society is much easier nowadays: dialogue can be held on a daily basis, engage the society and make it a party in the decision making processes since the society itself often creates problems.
Sustainability is not what we keep in our comfort zone; we have to create sustainability in a world fill of uncertainties. In the new world sustainability will mean development and opportunity. Technologies allow to solve many problems related to the environment and climate change. The latter has come into the view as a result of the industrial revolution. For instance, along with new opportunities appearing in the area of energy, certain harm has been cause to the planet. However, on the positive side, thanks to the technological development we are able to use solar energy, nuclear energy. We stand on the crossroads of a new world and speaking of sustainability we understand that it is all about vision, development, and opportunities. In the future, the greatest asset will be a human being.
Human morality and engagement become decisive because the tool necessary for progress, sustainability, development, and opportunity creation become much more powerful. The humanity is not what it used to be for thousand years when a human being had a hammer in his hand. Today, a human being has power in his hand.”
Sustainability and climate change are becoming even greater challenges with the time. What is the small countries’ role in this? In response to this question, President Sarkissian said that in the 21st century, when technologies become very powerful, innovations develop rapidly, individuals become more powerful while a startup may become a multibillion company; by the same token, a small country can be not only beautiful but also powerful. “It depends on how well you are prepared and how well you interact with the world, what far-reaching projects you have in the technological area and how much effort you put in it,” the President of Armenia note. “Speaking of my country, which is small but much bigger as a nation, we today, in the 21st century have advantages one of which is our being a globally connected nation. Think of Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network and you will see that Armenians have another network which is called national. Armenians, regardless of where they live - Argentine, California, Middle East, US, or any other country, are interested in the processes in Armenia, they are connected to their history and Fatherland, many of them have made considerable contribution to the global development. Thus, a global network is being created and this is a great advantage. Three, four or even five times more Armenians live abroad than in Armenia. They have different culture, or knowledge and tie successfully our country to the world. They can have their continuous input to the success of our country.”
Responding to another question about the role of education in public policies, the role of education in making a society more sustainable, President Sarkissian said that education doesn’t pertain to school or college only. “First and foremost, we need to realize that we are what we are, what we learn throughout our lives,” the President noted. “The moment we stop learning the human history will end because learning is the main road toward progress. Today, education is becoming not only business, which is sustainable and interesting and can help to earn great money, but also an integrated part of our development. Without a multifaceted educational system, there will be no new technologies. One can have the best laboratory in the world but if there are no young, educated students, there will be no success. Major companies of the world are trying to engage creativity of individuals because sometimes the model of training of leading engineers and later guiding them step by step doesn’t work. The 21st century is startups’ time. The world itself is a startup. It means you should use the energy of knowledge, innovations of the young. Education is a compound of production, innovation, and business. We need also to review the educational process because the classical model of teaching has become obsolete. Can you imagine students, whose life started with the IPad, huge amount of information, lightning speed of life, sit there for 45 minute and simply repeat anything? No. Sometimes I notice that small children cannot sit or stand still for 15 or 20 minutes. They are kids from the future, full of great energy.
We need to renew teaching methods for children making them more precise, comprehensive, fast, and short, and need to teach them to analyze.
Artificial intelligence can provide basic information, analysis, and your strength in using it properly, getting something new and powerful. Artificial intelligence will be everywhere and we need to think again what education is, how people should be taught. Classical university was a great achievement but reforms are also needed.
In the new world everyone is provided with a small or big opportunity. Small can be very successful, both individually and at a state level.”