Thank you, Tim, for your leadership and friendship. It’s an honor to be here with you at this magnificent campus.
I’m grateful to you and Lisa, Carolyn, Semonti, Sumbul, and the health and event teams for helping us host this program today.
Honored guests, friends, it has been a pleasure spending time with you at this APEC summit.
It’s hard to imagine now, but this splendid space we’re sitting in and this company, one of the world’s largest, started from humble beginnings, in Steve Jobs’ small family garage just a 15-minute drive from here.
When Apple began in 1976, computers weren’t personal, they were intimidating and unfriendly. The purview of engineers and mathematicians, not moms and dads and grandparents.
Steve’s vision and insight wasn’t the iPhone or the idea to put a thousand songs in your pocket.
He believed that at our core, each of us is searching for connection. And that technology could facilitate that connection.
Steve sought to put the personal in personal computing.
Now, technology, computers, phones, and watches help connect us to the people who matter most in our lives – their love and friendship at our fingertips.
We can text our children, wishing them good luck on their big exam.
We can see our husbands and wives on a computer screen, even if they happen to be on the other side of the world.
We can quickly and easily let our best friends know that we’re thinking of them.
And, didn’t this all become so much more important during the Covid-19 pandemic?
As first spouses, I believe that all of us in this room have a deep understanding of that innate desire for human connection.
We see it every day in our own communities, don’t we?
The way a hug can give warmth and love, how a caring shoulder can ease heavy burdens, how a simple smile can brighten an entire day.
As I’ve traveled across the United States, I’ve seen far too many people who are missing this connection and struggling with their mental health.
I continue to teach at a community college, and in my own classroom, I’ve seen how, after the Covid pandemic, so many of my students are wrestling with anxiety and isolation, and struggling to connect.
Too often, these issues are hidden, swept under the rug and ignored.
But when we bring them into the light, when we talk about them openly, we can begin to heal.
I saw the power of this honesty earlier this year.
I met with high school students in the midwestern state of Indiana who had formed a campus club to help with mental health.
The club facilitates peer-to-peer conversations, and encourages students to talk with the adults in their lives or a professional.
We need to find ways to encourage that type of bravery.
This isn’t only an American issue. It’s a global one. I know many of you have seen similar challenges.
That’s why I wanted to bring all of us together this morning, to talk about what we’re seeing, and to share lessons we’ve learned.
Because when people have the tools and resources to support their mental health and well-being, they thrive, and they help us create stronger communities and stronger economies.
That’s what this APEC Summit is about – coming together to build a brighter, more resilient future.
I look forward to hearing from you, but first, it is an honor to introduce a young woman of incredible talent and courage. A global superstar who is using her platform as a force for good in the world.
Rosé is a wildly popular solo artist and the lead singer of the Korean pop group, BLACKPINK.
She is also an outspoken advocate for mental health and has bravely shared her story in the hopes of helping others.
I am thankful that she accepted my invitation to join us today and grateful to Mrs. Kim, the First Lady of Korea, for supporting my effort.
Please join me in welcoming, Rosé.
Thank you, Rosé, for sharing that powerful message.
It’s inspiring how you’re elevating this important issue and helping others find their way out of the darkness.
I asked the U.S. Surgeon General, Doctor Vivek Murthy, to help facilitate our conversation on mental health. Doctor Murthy is one of our leading experts working on how to balance both the benefits and risks of technology on our mental health, especially the mental health of our young people. He and I have partnered together on efforts to reach young Americans.
Vivek, thank you for joining us. I’ll turn it over to you now.
I just want to say thank you, with all my heart. I’m really honored that you joined me today for this important dialogue. What a powerful way to close our time together.
It was so valuable to hear your stories and experiences. Thank you for sharing, thank you for opening up and talking about a difficult topic.
I’m inspired by your strength and dedication. And I’m optimistic about our ability to address this urgent issue, to make meaningful change.
I’ve learned so much from you, even in this short time we’ve had together.