Posted by Anthony SalcitoVice President of Worldwide Education, Microsoft
One of the profound privileges of my job is that, every year around this same time, we host the Partners in Learning Global forum – this is the Olympics of innovative education. All of the participants (nearly 500 educators from more than 80 countries) are remarkable, but it gave me chills Saturday night as I watched a teacher from Pakistan – a woman named Munazza Riaz – take the stage and receive the equivalent of the gold medal for education. She beamed as she held up the flag of her nation.
Consider the enormous challenges and obstacles Munazza must have overcome to reach this moment. And yet, she is just one teacher – an island of excellence amidst an ocean of schools who don’t have these opportunities – due to lack of training and lack of digital access. There is a lot of talk these days about the cloud. While the cloud offers enormous promise, the reality is that, without access, that promise is empty. In countries like Haiti and throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa, 90 percent of rural schools have no electricity. Without power, digital access is a non-starter. And the opportunity divide for young people widens every day.
Posted by Jeff MeisnerEditor, Microsoft on the Issues
At the Social Innovation Summit today, Microsoft announced the winners of the second annual Microsoft Imagine Cup Grants program, a three-year, $3 million competitive grant program that provides students with funding and support to help transform their projects into social enterprises or nonprofits that will address a specific social issue. Below is a photo of Team StethoCloud from Australia. Its members include (left to right) Kim Ramchen, Hon Weng Chong, Andrew Lin and Mahsa Salehi. The team took the second place grant consisting of a US$75,000 cash award for their solution that will help diagnose childhood pneumonia.
The Imagine Cup Grants program is part of the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative, which aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth during the next three years. Check out this feature story on the Microsoft News Center and this post on the Microsoft Corporate Citizenship Blog.
Posted by Jacqueline BeauchereDirector, Trustworthy Computing Communications, Microsoft
It’s no secret more and more consumers are turning to the Internet to find those perfect holiday gifts. For most, the hustle and bustle of this time of year only makes online shopping even more attractive. According to a recent comScore report, Cyber Monday 2012 marked the heaviest online spending day in history, with Internet sales totaling $1.465 billion, up 17 percent from 2011. In addition, it was the second day this season (the first being Black Friday) where sales surpassed $1 billion.
Perhaps some of the gifts being purchased include the latest Internet-enabled gadgets like the new Microsoft Surface, a Windows Phone 8 device or a Kinect for Xbox 360? No matter what you may be buying for family and friends this season, it's important to remember to exercise the safest habits and practices when shopping online – in December and throughout the year. For instance, always do business online with reputable stores and sellers, and give only to legitimate charities. While most popular online merchants offer safer and more secure ways to make online purchases, it’s best to think like a “Grinch” and beware of offers that seem too good to be true. Evaluate businesses by consulting sites such as www.Epinions.com and www.BizRate.com, and check the genuineness of charities at www.charitynavigator.org. Review buyer feedback about auction sellers, which can be a key indicator of reliability.
Today, 20 organizations issued a letter in support of Microsoft’s new National Talent Strategy, which outlines ideas for securing U.S. competitiveness and economic growth through citizenship efforts and strategy related to STEM education, skills training and high-skilled immigration reform.
As you may remember, Microsoft’s Brad Smith launched the initiative at the Brookings Institution event, “Education and Immigration Reform: Reigniting American Competitiveness and Economic Opportunity.” The announcement generated coverage in a wide range of prominent publications, including an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal and articles in The Seattle Times, The Hill, National Journal and Politico.
The link to the letter can be found here (please reference “Coalition Joins Group of NGOs Urging Congress to Take Action on National Talent Crisis”).
Posted by Frank McCoskerGeneral Manager, International Organizations (IO), Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector
Persons with disabilities make up 1 billion of the world’s population, yet they face challenges in equal opportunity and access to society in critical areas like education, employment, healthcare, transportation, information communications technology and justice. Every year on Dec. 3, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we recognize the importance of providing this underserved community with equal access opportunities and livelihoods. This year’s theme is “removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all” – an area in which technology plays an important role.
Our company was founded on the belief that putting technology in the hands of individuals could enrich and improve their lives, and, for many years, Microsoft has been dedicated to providing persons with disabilities access to technology they can use.
On this day, Microsoft pays tribute to the contribution our United Nations partners are making toward addressing accessibility issues through innovative technology initiatives.