Everyone stood up to welcome the Portuguese President. “Where is Paddy? He was just here right now. Well, let’s do this then”, he said as he got ready to close the event.”We did it”.
Those were the words that resonated through the Altice Arena this evening, as the President addressed the audience of the Web Summit. “Let me recall the three challenges of last year: the first one was to keep the Web Summit in Lisbon: we did it!” the crowd responded applauded his words, unsurprisingly.
“The second challenge was to continue the digital revolution, and you did it, you did it!” he said, with excitement in his voice.
The third challenge was the hardest one, to focus on making “more people aware that climate change was not fiction, not fake news” and guess what, the president shouted again a cheerful “we did it, it is real!” to the web summitters.
The Web Summit will now be in Lisbon for 10 more years, and for his closing speech, the President focused on how things could be improved from here on. And just like last year, he wanted to challenge summitters in three ways:
We must make it better and different every year. The President noted that we must not focus only on making this event last its four days, but rather make Lisbon, Portugal, and Europe become a permanent digital platform. That will be the first challenge.
Make society more inclusive, use digital revolution to promote peace. “I just came from a meeting with refugees and migrants, and we must not forget the rest of society. Digital is very important if we serve communities, digital education is a crucial part, you must think of the rest of the society, we must not create divergence based on differences”.
The third is the “main and tougher challenge”, he said. It is looking at how digital is all about freedom, about opening economies, opening societies, about dialogue and tolerance, and unfortunately, we are witnessing the opposite nowadays”
“Let’s use the digital revolution to promote dialogue, to bring peace. It is not easy, it isn’t. Because this new wave which is going through the whole world is the opposite of that. But we must fight for the principles of freedom, multilateralism, peace”, he added.
“That is the message, and don’t keep it just to yourself, take it everywhere you go.”
At the Web Summit this year, there were 69,304 people, from 159 different countries. Altogether, those at the Web Summit drank 363,848 coffees, marked 554 thousand speeches as favorites and sent around 180,000 messages through the official app. Those participating on the Web Summit, walked in total 935,604 km during the event.