YEREVAN — Lebanese-American innovator, founder of Nest Labs and creator of iPod trademark Tony Fadell received on Thursday 2017 Global IT Award of Armenian President for Outstanding Contribution.

Thousands of men and women involved in the information technology sector help Armenia move towards a knowledge-based economy, President Serzh Sarkisian said as he handed the award to Tony Fadell.

Addressing the guests of the ceremony held in the Presidential Palace Sarkisian went on to describe the IT sector as a major potential locomotive of growth for Armenia.

“Some 600 companies are involved in this sector [in Armenia] and among them are offices of many world-renowned organizations. They provide jobs to nearly 20,000 people. For several years we see on average a 20-25 percent growth in this sector,” the Armenian president said. “But while providing such rates of development, we should not limit ourselves to such indices. We should dream, think and create new projects and implement them. The number of companies working in the IT sector should reach thousands and the number of their employees should be in the hundreds of thousands.”

In this view, Sarkisian put an emphasis on the establishment of a “dynamic system” of professional education. “I think that our specialists should be interested in the solutions of Mr. Fadell in terms of iPod or other innovations,” he added.

Accepting the award, Fadell thanked the Armenian President, the Prime Minister and the Committee for nominating and electing him for this award.

“You truly believe that there is a way to take your country from where it has been, where it is today and where it’s going. I would like to leave you with a few words about things I have seen about success in my 25-30 years career in the IT business. The first thing is about creating an environment for success to happen. There are three important things that President has already mentioned, the first one is education, education at all levels, from primary school all the way up and it is not just after postgraduate, but even beyond. The world is a changing place; it is changing faster than ever. Today is the slowest the world will ever be, it will only accelerate through technology and the people, world citizens not just through the school they have done, but each day. And so whatever programs that you can create to continually educate yourselves as well as your constituents, as well as your population, the better off your economy will be and will allow new things to flourish that we haven’t seen before”, Tony Fadell said.

According to him, the second is about government, it is about government leadership. He said the Armenian government now has an ability to not just have technology inside the government, it’s now about shaping a digital society and creating laws, regulations and working in public-private partnerships to define what digital society is. It is about how we are going to embrace technology, what does privacy mean, what does security mean, what does data access mean for all demographics. “I believe that Armenia has this, after talking to the Prime Minister, after talking to the President; you are on the press of this, onto creating a digital society, as the world has never seen before, because you have a microcosm here and if you look at start-ups, they always start with a small team. You are a small country, but it can grow outsize if you take advantage of this microcosm that you have and this community you have and lead, not just follow, not just adopt technology, but actually think about what your society can be and work towards it every day and unlike a start-up I know tenacity of the Armenian people. The government is not going away, so if you imagine it in 10 or 20 years and even if there is ups and downs, you’ll get there, because the government is not going away, it’s a state of mind and you will have different start-ups that will be able to create this digital society for all”, he said.

The third thing, according to him, is the public-private partnership. “It’s really about opening up to accept things, people such as myself, investors, teams, mentors into your society as well as having them come into ours so that we can learn and communicate and take the best of the world, because I believe if you can set a digital society sooner than any other country, the world will be looking at you to see how it is done the right way. So those three things I believe is what’s going to bring you forward. You will try, you will fail, but you will learn and you keep going, you don’t stop, you keep trying, because if you know what you believe is true, it will be the future, you will get there one day as long as you keep learning along the way. So again, I challenge you, I hope to come back, I hope to help you in someway to create that digital society, to show the world what it really means to embrace the next millennia. You have been around many millennia, this country, this people have been around many millennia, just like you have done to create the alphabet, to adopt the Christianity as the first country in the world. Adopt a digital society that is equality for all for all in the digital world and you will again set the stage like you have done in the past”, Tony Fadell concluded.

Fadell is the eighth international IT personality honored in Armenia since 2010 with the Presidential Award which is given to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to humanity through advancing the world of IT.

Among the previous laureates were retired CEO/Chairman of the Board of Intel Corporation Craig Barrett, co-founder of Apple Computers, Inc. Steve Wozniak, CEO of Kaspersky Lab Eugene Kaspersky and others.

One of the objectives of the award is to bring to Armenia leading IT sector individuals, thus raising the profile of the country and its recognition in the world IT industry.

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