Remarks at reception for “Conquering Cancer in Armenia with a Smile”

I want to welcome you all — our visitors from America, our friends and partners from here in Armenia — welcome to Armenia and thank you for your efforts to fight, treat, and cure cancer and care for the health of those around you.

Healing is a science, but I know for many of you it is your passion, a calling you feel to help those in need. It is a noble calling, and I applaud you for your work. We live in an amazing age, where the cutting-edge research is leading to new breakthroughs that help those with cancer survive and thrive.

Through events like the “Conquering Cancer in Armenia with a Smile” conference, we see experts from across borders share their knowledge and insights. The benefits of this information exchange will extend beyond your patients.

What you learn here — and I mean both our Armenian and our U.S. doctors — what you learn will not only help you provide better treatment, but you will then share your new knowledge with other colleagues who are not able to join us. As mentors to others, the skills you gain from this conference will continue to spread for years to come.

And to the Armenian military doctors here today, I want to say thank you for your participation in the Saber Junction exercise. I know the U.S. military medical staff you worked with learned a lot from your participation in the exercises, and I hope you did as well.

You practice a different type of medicine than the oncologists visiting us tonight, but you share their commitment to healing both in times of war and peace. Thank you for your service, and thank you also for attending tonight and sharing with our American visitors more about your profession and experiences.

I want to thank those who made this conference possible — the Armenian Association of Hematology and Oncology, Yerevan State Medical University, City of Smiles Foundation and the IDeA Foundation. And, I must single out one particular individual, the catalyst behind it all, Gevorg Tamamyan.

As you may know, he was an exchange student, studied at MD Anderson Cancer Center and at the Dana Farber Institute. And this is the power of exchange programs. He went to the U.S. and learned from many of the top minds in the field, and has brought that knowledge and passion back to Armenia.

As an exchange program alum, he is a bridge whose contacts served as the foundation for this event. So I want to personally thank him for all he has done.

So, welcome to the Embassy, and I hope to be able to meet and talk with most of you. I am sure I will learn a lot about the latest state of cancer treatment. And I promise — no personal medical questions tonight, so relax!

Thank you.