Good morning. It’s my great pleasure to congratulate Doreen Bogdan-Martin on her historic election to serve as the next Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union [ITU].
Doreen, you are the first woman to be elected as Secretary General of this organization in its 157-year history. I know that I speak for many when I say it is inspiring to be a part of this historic, and yes, overdue moment. It’s a testament to your campaign, your qualifications, and your vision.
But you know that this election is more than about you. It’s also reflecting a broad endorsement by member states of an agenda for universal connectivity, digital empowerment, and an innovative and inclusive ITU that excels with integrity and with accountability.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the ITU members for their work, and particularly the government of Romania for its generosity in hosting this plenipotentiary conference and for this momentous occasion. I commend our hosts for their inclusiveness and for their leadership in ICT [information and communications technology]. It’s fitting that this election occurs here in Romania where there is such broad alignment and partnership in support of Doreen’s vision.
The United States strongly supports that vision and looks forward to working with Secretary General Elect and all member states to close the digital divides, to connect the 2.7 billion (almost 3 billion) people who remain without reliable access to the internet and to chart a new course for the ITU that expands cooperation between all stakeholders.
Doreen, your past work at the ITU to connect the unconnected has made a real difference and has empowered people with new opportunities. Your impact will only grow in your new role. And I know first-hand from our work together what an outstanding leader you will be.
We wish you all the best as you assume your duties as Secretary General. And personally, I can’t wait to come back for the next plenipotentiary to celebrate the accomplishments of the ITU under your leadership.