U.S. Embassy – Honolulu MTG Room
To be Delivered – December 12, 2020, 09:00
Greetings Mr. Kaloustian, distinguished judges, entrepreneurs, and guests. Thank you, Johnson & Johnson and The Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, for inviting me to speak at this important event—Hackathon 4 Health. The United States has proudly supported this event since its inception. We are again proud to offer our support to this year’s edition, the fourth of this amazing program.
We are living in challenging times. I commend everyone for successfully organizing and taking part in this event during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Your participation embodies the strong entrepreneurial and indominable spirit of Romania and its people that will be needed to revitalize Romania in the pandemic’s aftermath.
In many ways, the Hackathon 4 Health represents the best of the burgeoning Romanian Renaissance. Hackathons originally started in the United States, but Romania has taken them to a new level and made a name for itself in international hacking competitions and in the information technology field in particular. Last year, Romanian teams won top prizes in the Open Banking Hackathon and the Global Legal Hackathons. This year, Romania produced four finalists for NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge – a truly remarkable achievement. It is clear why so many U.S. and international technology companies come to Romania to set up R&D labs and technical support offices.
Today, scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs are revolutionizing healthcare through innovation. By engaging young people in competitive and challenging programs such as this, you are creating a better future for Romania, a future in which health professionals, scientists, businesses, and computer professionals are able to fully develop their talents, create new medical solutions and ultimately save lives.
The United States has long supported Romania’s entrepreneurial development. As you all know, I have worked to strengthen the economic ties between our two countries, and in turn, creating jobs and economic security in Romania. Entrepreneurship plays a key role. We know that when entrepreneurship increases, market-based economic growth, innovation and prosperity follow shortly behind. Entrepreneurship creates new jobs, new businesses, new ways to deliver services…these are the marks of innovation and prosperity, and the opportunity is ripe to apply this innovation to the health care sector. I also firmly believe that entrepreneurship and democracy are closely linked; one cannot flourish without the other.
The United States supports President Iohannis’ and (former) Prime Minister Orban’s efforts to reform public administration and health care in Romania. We hope the new parliament will continue to make tangible reforms in this sector. As I have said before the United States stands ready to assist in all of these efforts.
To the teams competing today, I look forward to hearing how, through hard work, you will transform your own ideas into solutions which will improve the lives of your fellow Romanians. We all know how hard you have endeavored to develop the skills necessary to be here today. I admire your courage, passion and determination. Don’t be discouraged by failure; keep persevering. It is a natural part of the entrepreneurial process. As Benjamin Franklin said, “I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.”
Romania is truly blessed with talented young people who are full of bright ideas. With these ideas focused on health care innovation, I have no doubt that Romania will continue to be a leader in the region, and in Europe.
Thank you and good luck today.