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The President of the Republic is on a working visit in San Francisco

President Arnold Rüütel began his working visit in the city of San Francisco, in California, where on Wednesday he met with Mayor Gavin Newsom, investor Steve Jürvetson and visited some Silicon Valley technology companies.

President Arnold Rüütel met with Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco.During the meeting with Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco, President Rüütel introduced Estonia’s progress in providing public services based on modern technologies. Issues related to social problems that are common to both sides were also discussed, for example, accessibility of health care services and unemployment. In the words of Gavin Newsom, San Francisco is one of the wealthiest cities in the world, but at the same time one of its greatest challenges is the number of homeless people and a lot of time is devoted to dealing with that problem.

President Rüütel met also with Ron Swegles, Mayor of Sunnyvale, and members of local chamber of commerce, and gave them an overview of Estonian business environment. Following that, the Head of Estonian State visited some globally operating technology companies located in Sunnyvale, which are generally known as Silicon Valley companies. In the words of President Rüütel, it is remarkable that while developing the world’s best-known technology centre, the construction of high-rise urbanistic buildings has been deliberately avoided, and a modern, human-friendly living and working environment has been achieved with the help of low buildings, various greenery and spacious public areas.

President Arnold Rüütel visited globally well-known Internet company Yahoo!David Filo, co-founder of globally well-known Internet company Yahoo! and Chief Operating Officer Dan Rosensweig gave an overview of the company’s activities, and expressed their interest to cooperate with Estonia. In the words of David Filo, Yahoo! earns most of its revenue from USA, but most of their users are now elsewhere in the world. At Yahoo! the Head of the Estonian State acquainted himself with their customer service, data processing centre, and their recreation possibilities for employees.

Bill Haerle, Director of Government Relations for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), a company that produces microprocessors and other computer components, gave an overview of the company’s worldwide activities. AMD server, which by its technical specifications is one of the most powerful servers in the world, was also demonstrated to President Rüütel.

The Head of the Estonian State visited also the Ames Research Centre of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), where he was given an overview of NASA’s exploration of the planet Mars, but also of NASA’s cooperation with egyptologists.

During a dinner, President Rüütel met an Estonian origin venture capitalist and investor Steve Jürvetson and several other local business people who had shown interest in developing business ties with Estonia. The meeting addressed potential areas of cooperation, and it was noted that Estonia’s image in Silicon Valley is very good.

Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to the United States of America Jüri Luik, Estonian Defence Attaché to the United States of America Vello Loemaa, and Estonian Honorary Consul in California Jaak Treiman accompany the President of the Republic on his working visit.

On Thursday, January 19, President Rüütel will visit the University of California San Francisco Mission Bay Biotechnology Research Centre, will meet with local Estonians, and will deliver a speech at the World Affairs Council of Northern California. The topic of his speech is: “Back to the Free World: 15 Years of Building Modern Baltic States." The Head of State will return to Estonia late Saturday night.

San Francisco is one of the most important U.S. West Coast centres, its spirit and development has been shaped by the 19th century gold rush, the youth counterculture movement of 1960-ies, and an Internet boom of 1990-ies. Today it is a city with interesting architecture and unique infrastructure, but also a west coast banking and financial centre where per capita income is among the highest in USA.

There are many world’s leading technology companies in San Francisco region that by today have overcome an economic downturn caused by bust and are enjoying a new growth phase. Closely linked with those companies is the Stanford University ? a world’s leading institution for developing research and technology, but also a globally recognised research centre for international studies, environmental, health and security policy.

Public Relations Department of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, January 19, 2006

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