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Welcome Address by President Valdas Adamkus at The World Lithuanian Economic Forum


Distinguished Participants of The World Lithuanian Economic Forum,
Dear Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,


I am very pleased and honored to open this exclusive event and to welcome you, the participants of The World Lithuanian Economic Forum, who have come here from different parts of the world - in fact from more than twenty countries - to share your knowledge and experience.


Many of us have met and talked more than once during my visits abroad. Together we participated in business forums, round tables and seminars. I always invited you to come to Lithuania and bring new ideas and to share your experience. Therefore, I am delighted to see you here today!


From my personal experience I well know how much strength can be drawn from the past experiences of our parents and grandparents, from Lithuanian resourcefulness and talent while pursuing professional aspiration even though far away from Lithuania.


We have to admit that Lithuania has not as yet fully used the valuable knowledge and experience gained by Lithuanians in foreign countries. I know very well about the achievements of Lithuanian business people the world over, but it is nevertheless unfortunate that we held only three World Lithuanian Economic Forums over nearly two decades of independence and that the second and third forums were separated by as many as seventeen years!

It would be now very hard to tell what we have lost by not developing a closer relationship and how much worldly experience we have failed to pass on to each other. During these years, Lithuania has lived through both exhilarating growth and economic slowdown. However, I believe that this is a mere coincidence that the Third World Lithuanian Economic Forum is held at a time of uncertainty for Lithuania. The extensive knowledge and experience accumulated by Lithuanians across the world are imperative for Lithuania and they cannot be affected by any economic cycles.


Although there is much talk these days about the many challenges faced by the global economy, we have to admit that they call for new daring solutions. I honestly believe that you, representatives of the business community who have always been flexible in your approach to new economic realities and challenges, will be the driving force behind success and competition in the global market.


I believe in your enterprising skills and spirit. Even though throughout the history of Lithuania, political conditions for free enterprise were often not in place, it commits us even more to spare no effort to protect by deeds, not words, private property, free initiative and competition. We must endeavor that the importance of private enterprise and entrepreneurship is not merely stated, but clearly recognized and reflected in government decisions. We have to seize the historical opportunity to create a business-friendly environment that would allow us to advance, to fulfill our potential and to benefit from the global economy.


Every crisis also means an opportunity. This is especially true of the business sector which in times of slowdown can not only test the decisions made, but also reconsider its investments and adapt to new market needs. I believe that The World Lithuanian Economic Forum provides an excellent platform for bringing Lithuanians across the world together to search and find fresh and unexpected business ideas. It is a great opportunity for the Lithuanian nation to once again join their efforts to develop business and strengthen the country's economy.


History offers many examples of business people who contributed in a major way to the economic recovery of their country after coming back home. I firmly believe that we will learn from this experience and that The World Lithuanian Economic Forum will become a tradition for all of us. I believe that we will lay the foundation for closer cooperation ties between business people inside and outside Lithuania and that we will get Lithuanians from all over the world, both economists and entrepreneurs, involved - and keep them involved - in the economic life of Lithuania.


A cordial thank you to the initiators, organizers and supporters of this very special event. I wish you all fruitful discussions, constructive contacts and the best of success!

Press Service of the President


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