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Chargé d’affaires a.i. Steven Koutsis’ Remarks at the SADEN-Fulbright Closing Award Ceremony
June 14, 2021

Chargé d’affaires a.i. Steven Koutsis’ Remarks at the SADEN-Fulbright Closing Award Ceremony
Chargé d’affaires a.i. Steven Koutsis’ Remarks at the SADEN-Fulbright Closing Award Ceremony

As prepared for the Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Steven Koutsis
3rd Edition of the Salon Des Entrepreneurs Conference
Hotel Kaloum | June 10, 2021 |

Good Afternoon

Members of Government & Ministers
Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my great pleasure and honor to be here today for this meaningful closing award ceremony of the SADEN-Fulbright Ideation Challenge.

I would like to express my gratitude to the SADEN Team and the Guinea-Fulbright Alumni Association for organizing this event. Such a partnership is what I believe Senator Fulbright envisioned when he drafted the legislation that led to the creation of the Fulbright program. Signed into U.S. law in 1946 by President Truman, The Fulbright Program, was designed to not only strengthen mutual understanding, but also the long-term bilateral relationship between the United States and other countries.

The Guinea-Fulbright Alumni Association now boasts close to 150 members. Through their active participation, each alum continues to forge a path forward in maintaining the enduring partnership between our two countries. Many of the returning Guinean Fulbright alumni, have become leaders in both the public and private sector. In fact, one Guinean Fulbright alum, Abdoulaye Magassouba, is now the Minister of Mines. It’s well acknowledged that those who have the opportunity to travel to the U.S. through our government exchange programs often return to their home nations with new strategies and best practices. These new strategies and ideas enable young leaders, like yourselves, to more effectively address, and at times even solve, some of the challenges they encounter at home.

I want each of you to know that the United States has been and remains unwavering in our commitment to partner with the Guinean people, standing shoulder to shoulder. We believe that the key to the continued growth and development of Guinea begins with it’s people, people like each of you in this room today. I can say unequivocally that the type of innovation that is being cemented through the SADEN-Fulbright Ideation Challenge and led by Guinean youth, will ensure a more prosperous future for tomorrow’s young leaders.

As you well know, we are all adapting to new norms created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I applaud the Guinean government and the ANSS for their work to guide Guinea through this challenging period. I would also like to acknowledge the work of SADEN in fostering a healthy space for urgent discussions on how entrepreneurship can address post COVID-19 challenges.

Entrepreneurship is a key tool for a country’s development and it is especially important to have the kind of nuanced and instructive conversations that are being held during this event as we navigate a world impacted by on-going challenges posed not only by a global pandemic but also local health challenges, such as the Ebola epidemic. We need your innovative solutions, your continued dedication to overcome these new and complex problems that this generation and the next will face.

With that, I want to congratulate the very talented participants who were chosen from a rigorous and competitive selection process. Over 100 participants submitted applications to the Ideation Challenge, but only 21 candidates were invited to move forward to the next step of the competition. Before I announce the winner, I would also like to acknowledge the 12 candidates who were selected for the one-on-one mentorship: Congrats! I encourage you all to continue diligently working towards the betterment of your generation and the Guinean people. We are with you and stand ready to assist as needed.

It is now my honor to congratulate Hadem on being selected as the 2021 SADEN-Fulbright Ideation Challenge Winner. Congratulations, I wish you all the best on this next chapter.