01, 2020

President Armen Sarkissian spoke at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week: small can be very successful, both individually and on a state level

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 oppor
tunity. Small can be very successful, both individually and at a state level.”

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