Assistant Secretary of Masachusetts Nam Pham’s Speech at the Conference “Remaking Ukraine – Toward an Age of Global Enlightenment”

May 22, 2022AIWS City and Rebuilding Ukraine, Global Alliance for Digital Governance, News

Our AIWS innovations and Massachusetts is the number one place number one place in the world for innovation. Previous speakers are talking about the need to help refugees, the need to deal with medical needs, the need to help the people. Just to give you one example, after wars many people and soldiers had been injured, lost limbs, lost legs. At the University of Massachusetts, there was one startup company that makes prosthetic (fake) legs and arms. It costs only less than twenty dollars. Think about that; it’s not a hundred, few hundred or a thousand dollars, but you could walk again. You could function normally again for less than 20. It was invented in Massachusetts, so I think Massachusetts can play a very significant role.

So what are we proposing? We proposed to build an AI World Society city or country for Ukraine. We would apply more concepts of AIWS to rebuild everything. We would try to connect historical traditional cities in Boston, New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Rome, Athens, basically all famous cities, to help to build smart cities for Ukraine. We will build a digital platform. This is a home for everything that Ukraine would need. I’m sure you all have heard of Airbnb, all right. I would like to suggest we could build “Air p2p”, people to people. We have refugees scattered all over the place. When they come back, they need resources. We have seen the destruction of Ukraine’s social infrastructure. If, I think, we can build an “Air p2p”, that would help people who wanted to help Ukrainians to connect with them. We could have initial sponsors of degrading families who may be trying to make a new life in fact or in digital. We could connect universities to universities. We could connect hospital to hospital. Basically it’s really people to people platforms, so we could save money, and it was really really an effort of people around the world actually trying to do very good routines to help Ukrainians.

So there are a few programs. It’s not just a concept, but we have suggested and volunteered a few programs to do things. Number one, we have Michael Dukakis leadership fellow for Ukraine, so right here we can do it. We could have Michael Dukakis Institute for Leadership and Innovation to educate leaders, the future leaders, the current leaders, to help lead Ukraine. Harvard University and many other universities could support Ukrainian students. And this effort, we also assigned some of our members to do this. This effort will be led by former Japanese state minister Yasuhide Nakayama, and MIT professor Nazli Choucri will be the coordinator (you saw her this morning.)

We will create or help to build a global brand name for Ukraine. Everybody will now know Ukraine. I used to manage the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. We tried to team up with some names, some brand names, but we can never match the name of New York, the Big Apple, right? When you think of New York, you think about a big apple, but I think now if we can help people to think of Ukraine as a big, beautiful sunflower, I think that would help us to look through the future with more positive energy. And this effort will be led by Professor John Quelch and our “watch” over here, Anh Tuấn.

We will also build a digital and AI platform for Ukraine cities. We mentioned about that, but some details, for example, every citizen, who will have one digital home, bring the gem cities of the world to Ukraine. And in many of these efforts, Governor Michael Dukakis will personally get involved, as well as former Prime Minister Zlatko Lagumdžija.

From my personal experience, any companies or country can do better by doing what they do best, and more. I also try to connect what we have in Massachusetts to support Ukraine. We know that Ukraine supplies a lot of food to the world: wheat and many other things. In Massachusetts there’s a very innovative company called Indigo Agricultural Operation. It has invented many new seeds of wheat, of rice, that can fight disease and drought and flow much better. We can bring those to help out the Ukrainian farmer. Tourism! I did mention the big bright beautiful sunflower. After the war, I’m sure that many of us, if not all of us, would love to visit Ukraine, right? I had one more with it: basically, many of these will be presented, but there’s one thing I’d like to share with you last, is that I hope someday, soon, very soon, we could have a very special toast in Ukraine, with a very special vodka, and this the vodka that we should all be drinking towards the future of Ukraine, with peace and security and prosperity. It’s called “Zelenskyy Vodka.”


Thank you so much.