Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen,
Lockheed Martin James Robinson
Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education and Science Karina Angelieva
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences Chairman Julian Revalski
President of the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria Dr. Solomon Passy
Former Ambassador to the U.S. Elena Poptodrova
Good afternoon everyone – Welcome to the most interesting class you’ll have all day! Before we begin I want to acknowledge the excellent cooperation between Lockheed Martin, the Ministry of Education and Science, and the Atlantic Club that enabled us to gather together for this exciting experience.
During your lifetimes the Berlin Wall became a memory and Bulgarian membership in the world’s largest defense alliance – NATO – became a reality. I encourage you to ask your parents and your grandparents what they experienced before the wall fell 30 years ago, and ask them about the sense of security that NATO membership gives to Bulgaria.
And now let’s talk about the future –Bulgaria’s future includes professionals specializing in STEM careers – science, technology, engineering, and math. U.S. Embassy Sofia is committed to offering STEM opportunities, like today’s event, to Bulgaria’s youth. Last year the America for Bulgaria Foundation helped fund a complete renovation of the math and science classrooms and laboratories at William Gladstone #18 High School here in Sofia. William Gladstone School now has five digitally equipped classrooms in chemistry, biology, robotics, computer programming and math. That project – a partnership between the America for Bulgaria Foundation and the school’s state-funded budget – is a great example of the strong relationship the U.S. has with Bulgaria.
STEM is the key to the future. Tomorrow’s jobs – some of which haven’t even been invented yet – will require today’s students to be fluent in the language of STEM. Because Bulgaria has a history of strong performance in the sciences – particularly computer science, I am proud that the Embassy supports a variety of STEM education programs, from teaching robotics to children at libraries throughout Bulgaria, to sending Bulgarian students and teachers to Space Camp in the United States. And now, letting them fly the skies through virtual reality.