In October 2012, Microsoft Citizenship launched its inaugural YouthSpark Master Class, an initiative focused on empowering the next generation of change makers to realize their potential.

A Master Class is all about learning from the best, but also about sharing experiences and taking those insights and applying it to our own endeavours. This Master Class programme is part of the global Microsoft YouthSpark initiative,
which is aimed at creating opportunities for 300 million youth in more than 100 countries over the next three years.

“It was a very insightful event, and it’s so good to know that there is so much information and programmes that today’s youth can benefit from,” said panellist Simy Paul, Associate Technical Manager, Microsoft Singapore, and Innovate for Good Youth Ambassador.

Sixty-one young people, who have previously participated or been beneficiaries of Microsoft’s various youth-focused programmes, were invited to the Master Class held in Singapore.

Muhammad Sufi Bin Amran, 2010 Microsoft Unlimited Potential Scholar, said, “The YouthSpark Master Class has inspired me to broaden my mind and pursue the things I want to do in the future.”

The participants got together to share their views on the future of innovation, gain new perspectives and exchange ideas with Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s Chief Research and Strategy Officer.

Helene Auriol, Managing Director of Microsoft Singapore, kicked off the event with her welcome address, highlighting Microsoft’s commitments in Singapore through investing in talent development and capacity building to help create a more inclusive Singapore society as well as to close the opportunity divide for young people.

“We are very committed to the development of the youth in Singapore. It’s a matter of being prepared to be a role model of the future, to innovate and enable creation of new business. That’s something we really believe in — that together, we can empower the youth around this country to create, realise and imagine their full potential,” said Ms Auriol.

Her presentation was followed by Mr Mundie sharing his thoughts on the new era of personal computing, and how maturing technologies will change the way people engage with computing systems and gain insights from big data to make better decisions. According to him, the computing ecosystem is evolving rapidly and requires new ways of thinking about computing in the years ahead.

Mr Mundie also took part in an interactive panel session with several participants, discussing how the latest personal computing technologies have a key role to play in addressing many of the challenges facing the world.

This first staging of the YouthSpark Master Class received a rousing response from the participants, who were impressed by the breadth of ideas shared during the event. 

Leonard Tan Ming Fong, a Nanyang Polytechnic student, said, “The dialogue with Craig Mundie was the event highlight for me, as he provided good insights into areas where computing can be used or improved to help others.”

“The integration of a wide range of devices, cloud services and natural experiences that span the technology ecosystem will enable truly personal computing – nothing will work in isolation, and everything will work for you.”

- Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Microsoft