Good morning. I’m sorry I can’t be with you today in person in Mostar, but I’m delighted to be able to greet you virtually.
Thank you to Professor Sanja Kapetanović, coordinator of the FIT coding challenge, and Dr. Nina Bijedić, Dean of the Faculty of Information Technology and also an alumna of our Fulbright program and to all at the University “Džemal Bijedić” for inviting me to address you.
I am a huge believer in the promise of technology. We’ve seen over the course of this pandemic year that technology has allowed us to remain socially engaged even while physically distant. It has allowed festivals, throughout BiH such as the Sarajevo film festival to continue to reach people, not only in BiH, but around the world. When travel wasn’t possible, technology allowed President Biden to meet virtually with Canada’s Prime Minister and allowed US government leaders in Washington to meet with members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo. Information Technology is also a crucial skill for almost every job in the 21st century.
I’m also huge believer in the talents of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We know that far too many talented people have left for jobs in other places, but IT can be a powerful tool in keeping that talent here in BiH. IT allows people to stay here and invest in their communities even if they work for a company elsewhere through virtual or free-lance work. Even more importantly, those of you who learn coding and other IT skills can use your talent and innovation to start companies here at home. I’m pleased to see that one of your panels will address the question of BiH’s presence in the global IT market.
Best of luck to all the competitors in the FIT Coding Challenge. Whether you win a particular competition in this challenge or not, know that you are building a foundation for your future success and for the future success of Bosnia and Herzegovina.