President Sarkissian was a keynote speaker at the “Young for Sustainability” conference in Abu Dhabi: Success becomes younger by day
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.”