Zelenska recounts “Russia’s terrorist hits on Ukrainian cities” at Web Summit’s Opening Night in Lisbon.
In a surprise address at Web Summit tonight, the first lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, called
for help from the tech community amid Russia’s invasion of her country.
“Your chosen profession – your field of expertise – is now a battlefield in Russia’s war against
Ukraine,” she said. She called on Web Summit’s attendees to support the work of the Olena Zelenska Foundation,
which provides humanitarian aid and seeks to restore educational and medical facilities in
On the Opening Night of Web Summit in Lisbon, the first lady shared accounts of the effects of
the Russian invasion of Ukraine:
“The dystopias we read about in science fiction novels and all the threats of life destruction
are much closer than you think. We felt it in Ukraine because of Russian terror – because
Russia puts technology at the service of terror.”
Zelenska said technology was now a “battlefield” in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and
described how drones and missiles were killing families.
She told the founders, startups, executives and journalists in the Altice Arena that technology
should be used to save people.
“I believe that technology should be used to create, and to save and help people, not to
destroy. I believe that such technology is the future. If it’s not, there simply won’t be a future to
look forward to,” she said.
“You are the force that moves the world. You have a potential and technologies that can help,
but not destroy. I am certain that, by helping Ukraine, you can move the world in the right
direction. So I invite you to do so. Let’s do it together.”
Zelenska described the work of her newly established foundation. “I believe that our big
victory consists of small ones. Small victories of every person. Victories over cold, hunger and
despair,” she said.
Web Summit, the world’s largest technology event, this week welcomes more than 70,000
attendees to Lisbon, returning to full capacity following a reduced capacity event in 2021.
Other top speakers at this year’s event include Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, author and
linguist Noam Chomsky, Mercedes Principal Toto Wolf, Signal president Meredith Whittaker
and Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk.
More photos are available here.
About Web Summit
Web Summit runs the world’s largest technology events, connecting people and ideas that
change the world. Web Summit events have gathered half a million people across Web Summit
in Lisbon, Web Summit Rio in South America, Collision in North America and RISE in Asia since
Web Summit’s beginnings as a 150-person conference in Dublin in 2009.
Web Summit’s mission has been to create software that enables meaningful connections
between the CEOs, founders, investors, members of the media, politicians and cultural
figureheads who are reshaping the world.
Forbes says Web Summit is “the best tech conference on the planet”; Bloomberg calls it “Davos
for geeks”; Politico “the Olympics of tech”; the Guardian “Glastonbury for geeks”. In the words
of the Financial Times, Web Summit is “the world’s largest tech conference”, and the Telegraph
calls it the “planet’s best tech conference”.
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