Prime Minister Kovačevski, Minister Petrovska, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2022 NATO Communicators Conference, in beautiful Skopje. I regret being unable to join you in person but wanted to take this opportunity to say a few words at the outset of your conference.
First, congratulations to the Republic of North Macedonia for hosting your first NATO conference as a member of the Alliance. We are very grateful that you have agreed to host this event, and we thank you for your warm hospitality.
To the expert panelists joining us this week, thank you for sharing your expertise and viewpoints with us. NATO values diverse viewpoints and your thoughts will prove most useful to us. Engagement and respectful debate expand our perspectives, and ultimately make us stronger.
To Allied and NATO communicators, I hope you will make the most of this unique opportunity. I have three challenges for you over the next two days.
First, seize the opportunity to learn. You are surrounded by senior leaders and experts from across our Alliance. Ask questions, challenge your own assumptions, and seek out topics that fall outside your daily routine. There are a wide range of opportunities at this event: from deterrence communications; to joint effects and targeting; to assessing our impacts in the information environment. All of these are critical to operational success.
Second, cohesion is the foundation of our Alliance, so do not miss the opportunity to build relationships. I challenge each of you not only to connect, but also to stay connected, with at least five new people that you meet this week.
Third, during your trip back home, take some time to reflect on what lessons and insights you can implement at your own headquarters. What have you learned that will help NATO to be stronger, more effective, and better understood by audiences who matter to us?
Communicators are critical to the success of our respective armed forces and our Alliance. I am very proud of the vital work you do in communicating NATO’s capability and resolve, and in preserving our credibility and legitimacy around the world.
Together, we are NATO. Enjoy your conference!