Remarks by Ambassador Osius at Connecting Viet Youth 2017 Conference

Ambassador Osius's Keynote Speech at the 4th Industrial Revolution Forum, Hanoi, 8/9/2017

Keynote Remarks by Ambassador Ted Osius
Connecting Viet Youth on Innovation and the 4th Industrial Revolution
Marriott Hotel, Wednesday, August 9, 2017, 8:00 am

Thưa ông Trần Văn Tùng, Thứ trưởng Bộ Khoa học và Công nghệ.
Thưa ngài Trần Văn Tuấn, nguyên Bộ trưởng Bộ Nội vụ.
Thưa Đại sứ Hoàng Long.

Chào tất cả các bạn! Thank you to my friend Mr. Vũ Quang Nam, the Global Shapers and Hanoi Student Union, Mr. Phạm Minh Tuấn, Topica, and Mr. Trần  Quang Hưng for inviting me to speak on a topic of great interest to me: innovation, youth and education. It’s an honor to be here.

I’d like to start by asking you – all of you – a question. If you have played Pokemon Go, Minecraft, or Sim City, please raise your hands.  Don’t be shy! If you raised your hand, then you have played an online game, and you are already a part of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

But what is it, exactly? To answer that question, let’s take a step back in time. The first industrial revolution took place about 300 years ago. For the first time, people started using water power and steam engines to produce the things we need. The 2nd Industrial Revolution used electric power and led to mass production. Next, the 3rd Industrial Revolution used electronics to automate production – we can think of robots welding cars at a car factory. Now, we find ourselves in a new and exciting era: one defined by cyber interconnectivity and artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things. We can think of self-driving cars and, yes, online games such as Pokemon Go. This is known as the 4th Industrial Revolution…and we are all a part of it.

Vietnam Television interviewing Ambassador Osius at the 4th Industrial Revolution Forum, Hanoi, 8/9/2017

So that’s what the 4th Industrial Revolution is.  But what does it mean for us? I’d like to give you two answers to that question.  First, I’ll talk about what it means for our two nations. Second, I’ll talk about what it means to each of us as individuals.

At the highest level, President Trump and Prime Minister Phuc pledged to continue our cooperation on science, technology, and innovation when they met in Washington, DC this May. Here in Vietnam, my Embassy has worked to encourage these skills through initiatives such as the Ambassador’s Entrepreneurship Challenge, Arts Envoys, and technology clubs. Thanks to Phạm Minh Tuấn for supporting Ambassador’s Entrepreneurship Challenge.

We sponsor summer camps so young people in Vietnam can learn skills that will be critical in the future, including using 3D printers, coding, and creating robotics.

USAID’s Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) is an international grants program that funds scientists and engineers in developing countries who partner with U.S. government-funded researchers to address global development challenges. To date, this innovative partnership has supported 15 projects to improve and protect human health and the environment in Vietnam. There’s one more thing we’re doing to help Vietnam build an innovative economy, and that’s education.

But what if you don’t live in Hanoi? We don’t want anyone to be left out, which is why we will offer entrepreneurship courses in rural areas such as Hà Tĩnh, Nghệ An, Quảng Ninh, Thanh Hóa, and Ninh Bình and other 10 provinces. We also don’t want women to be left out…so we’ve created a year-long program to teach women to code, create real products and start businesses.

U.S. companies are bringing innovative technologies to Vietnam. Companies such as Intel are innovating to create higher-quality and higher-value products to capitalize on this movement. U.S. companies are also collaborating with Vietnam on its Smart Cities initiatives which use the technological and scientific advances of industry 4.0 to tackle some of Vietnam’s biggest development challenges.

I don’t need to tell you how important education is, but I do want to mention something both our governments are working on. Right now, we are eagerly awaiting the opening of Fulbright University Vietnam, which will be the first private, non-profit university in Vietnam that is rooted both in key the American educational principles of critical thinking and independent analysis, and in Vietnam’s cultural heritage. We believe Fulbright University is not just a great example of our two nations working together, but will also help develop Vietnam’s next generation of entrepreneurs, inventors, and problem-solvers.

What does this mean for Vietnam? What Can You Do?

So, now you know what the 4th Industrial Revolution is, and how the United States and Vietnam are working together on science, technology and innovation. At this point, though, you might also be wondering what this means for you. A major component of success in this new environment will be the “STEM” fields:  science, technology, engineering, and math. Since our world is increasingly interconnected, another major component of success will be learning a foreign language. And a third component of success is creative thinking skills, so you can adapt and invent new solutions for the problems of the future. After all, Internet connectivity and automation don’t replace innovative thinking and interpersonal relationships.

For those of you still in school, I encourage you to consider studying STEM fields, a foreign language, and critical thinking skills. Once you graduate, you might consider working for an innovative, high-tech company. Whatever path you choose, please remember the reason innovation is so important. New inventions, and new technologies, can improve people’s lives. If you start a new company, and give people jobs, you change the trajectory of their lives forever. If you invent a cure for cancer, or dengue fever, or any other illness, you will save thousands of lives, and spare countless people from suffering. Technology and innovation make our lives, and our world, better. This is the promise of invention, and it is why my country, and my embassy, care so much.

In closing, I wish you every success in school, in your professional careers, and in working together to solve the problems of the future.

Good luck, and thank you. Xin cảm ơn!

Kính chúc các bạn một buổi thảo luận thành công!