Thessaloniki is leading the way towards Greece’s future as the digital hub of southeastern Europe, noted U.S. Consul General at Thessaloniki Elizabeth K. Lee while addressing the two-day Thessaloniki Future Thinking Dialogues (TFTD) conference on Tuesday.
Starting off with praising the city’s strong ties with the U.S., Lee noted that it has been the home to two American-affiliated educational institutions for more than 100 years: Anatolia College and the American Farm School, and also home to the YMCA since 1919.
With the central theme of the First TFTD conference being the potential transformation of Thessaloniki to a model nerve centre of digital innovation, technology and entrepreneurship, Lee underlined that the U.S. “remains strongly engaged in this area because we know that teaching entrepreneurship and STEM skills to Greek youth will lead to sustainable economic growth and a stronger Greek workforce.”
“Major U.S. companies like Cisco, Deloitte, and Pfizer have made “the strategic decision to grow their footprint in Thessaloniki so they can tap into the city’s highly educated young workforce and the Balkan market of 30 million people,” Lee highlighted, in line with using the case of the northern city as a jumping point to discuss the cities of the future as innovation ecosystems.
“As Ambassador Pyatt has said, American business leaders do not longer ask ‘Where is Thessaloniki?’ but rather, ‘where else can we invest?’,” Lee pointed out.