Iqbal Noor Ali and Michael Rawding at the Aga Kahn Development Network, August 12, 2008. Robert Sorbo/Microsoft

I had the opportunity to participate in a signing ceremony today between Microsoft and the Aga Khan Development Network, a group of agencies administering a broad set of programs in education, health, and social development. Shown here is a photo of Iqbal Noor Ali from Aga Khan along with my UPG colleague Michael Rawding.

The agreement between our two organizations involves a collaboration across a broad set of activities including education, youth empowerment, NGO/Civil Society capacity building, rural access, microfinance, and health. A key theme across all of these programs will be the appropriate and sustainable application of technology (see my previous post.) They are strong believers in achieving generational impact with their programs and understand the importance of local training, support and infrastructure.

In some areas like rural access, our collaboration has already begun.

I have to tell you, in a week where there was a great deal of tech industry rhetoric around the questionable motives of corporations participating in this space, to be in the presence of the people from Aga Khan was a refreshing change of pace. The dignity and thoughtfulness they used to describe their values and mission will stay with me for a long time. It was a personal reminder of why we do this work and the type of societal impact we can achieve. I am looking forward to working on these projects with them.