UNDER SECRETARY FERNANDEZ: Thank you, Erica Barks-Ruggles, for your introduction.
Welcome! Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us. It is great to be here in beautiful Romania with the really warm welcome from the Romanian government – thank you! And thank you to Jennifer Warren and our USITUA [United States International Telecommunications Union Association] industry partners for helping to host this reception tonight.
This year’s plenipotentiary conference comes at an important time as the ICT [information and communications technology] industry is rapidly changing. Now, more than ever, the international community recognizes the importance of expanding access to information and communication technologies and connecting the unconnected. Our societies’ health, economic well-being, and national security depend on it.
We have come together at this plenipotentiary conference because we share the goal of connecting the nearly three billion people that remain unconnected. This assembly, more than any other, understands the importance of closing the digital divides and ensuring access for all.
The United States strongly believes there is no one better than Doreen Bogdan-Martin to lead the ITU [International Telecommunications Union] as we seek to achieve these important objectives.
Doreen understands that connectivity for all means providing the opportunity to harness the benefits of connectivity.
I am so glad to stand here in front of this crowd to endorse and ask for your support for someone who is committed to cooperation and harnessing technology for sustainable development, for economic growth, for educational attainment, and so many other benefits. It is an honor to partner with you, and I hope you will join us in partnering with and supporting Ms. Bogdan-Martin, the best candidate for ITU secretary-general. Doreen will ensure the priorities we share as ITU members are reflected in the ITU’s work.
We ask for your vote for Doreen – and for the United States for ITU council – during the ITU elections in the coming days.
I would now like to draw your attention to the screen for a few words in support of Doreen from other U.S. government leaders. From the beginning of this campaign, the United States has been proud to support someone with Doreen’s vision, leadership, and experience. As you’ll hear from the video, we are confident that she is the right person to lead the ITU at the right time.
Thank you all for joining us.