Consul General Hunter’s Remarks at GIST Bootcamp

(As Delivered) February 5, 2015

Good afternoon, I’ll try to be brief particularly because I’m the one standing in between all of you and finding out who the winners are.

I’m delighted to be here.  To be perfectly honest, when my public affairs colleagues asked me to come attend at least part of this event, I had no idea at all what to expect.  I was not especially familiar with the GIST Program and certainly didn’t have a sense of what kind of projects might be involved with it. I have to say that I found this morning’s session – hearing the presentations both worthwhile and inspiring to see the kinds of energy and ideas this event brought together and hopes to refine.

Everyone who participated in it is deserving of congratulations. I hope the certificates that you get will simply be one more encouragement to keep you on a path of entrepreneurship which has such great potential for unlocking creative ideas and connecting people to one another.  The GIST Program has been successful during years of its existence in doing just that.  You’re probably all aware of that GIST basically out of the speech President Obama gave in 2009 in Cairo to foster cultures of entrepreneurship.  He was speaking particularly about Middle East Region but it really is something that is needed worldwide and just now it is working in over 85 countries all around the world. GIST programs to date have helped people work on something above 4,500 different projects, a very impressive number. There is much more to come.

We had two GIST events here in Istanbul.  I hope there will be more of those as well.  I want to thank those who made today’s events possible, our colleagues from the University of Texas, our colleagues from all TTGV, all the judges who were involved as well, and my colleagues from Public Affairs. It’s wonderful initiative and I sincerely hope that everyone who’s been involved with it feels the same, wants to continue, and will carry these ideas forward, because clearly,  a number of them have the potential to make big changes and not just to deliver products, but to make a positive difference in people’s minds.

Congratulations, I wish you well. Thank you for taking part and congratulations.