Today, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, gave the commencement speech for winter graduation at Washington State University.
Brad spoke about the importance of seizing every opportunity by fully committing yourself to your endeavors, how innovation and new ideas are the catalyst to move not only the state of Washington, but the country forward, and the need for everyone to make a commitment to community involvement.
Posted by Bonnie KearneyDirector of Marketing, Trustworthy Computing Baby Boomers—the 78 million Americans born in the wake of World War II (1946-1964)—have been called the most influential generation in history, and are recognized historically as trendsetters who have actively reshaped society at every stage of their lives. Nearly a decade ago—about the time the youngest Boomers were turning 40 and the oldest Boomers were hitting their late-50s—it became increasingly clear that technology could greatly benefit Baby Boomers who were beginning to grapple with aging issues such as reduced vision and dexterity. Technology also offered solutions that would empower Boomers to help their parents get the care they need, yet remain independent and in their own homes for as long as possible.
Posted by Anthony SalcitoVice President, Worldwide Education
Thirty-five years ago this week, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law, and the U.S. government committed to “ensuring that children with disabilities have opportunities to develop their talents, share their gifts and contribute to their communities.” For more than 20 years, Microsoft has focused on making computers easier to use for individuals disabilities. During that time, we’ve seen many students with disabilities integrated into general classrooms and technology has become an essential part of learning for students of all abilities.
Today, educators are trying new ways of integrating technology into the classroom and looking for ways to help students of all learning styles and abilities. Microsoft’s education mission is to help students and educators throughout the world realize their full potential. We recognize that nearly every classroom has a student who has difficulty seeing the board, concentrating on their homework, or expressing their ideas. Those are some of the reasons that Microsoft builds accessibility features into our products, ensuring that all students have access to the best learning available and that can be enhanced through technology.
I have long believed in the power of technology to make a profound impact in education and I’ve been fortunate enough to see some amazing examples around the world where teachers are truly making magic happen for their students. The examples that often most standout and illustrate the transformative potential of technology are those that use accessibility technology integration to empower and enrich the world of students that otherwise might have had an extremely difficult time communicating, collaborating or socializing with their peers. Early in my career at Microsoft I supported work in hospitals and schools and saw the potential of this work first hand and it has long fueled my passion and recognition of this importance of this work.
Posted by Orlando AyalaSenior Vice President, Chairman Emerging Markets
This week in Cartagena, Colombia, Microsoft along with the Colombian Government is hosting the first National Security Leaders Forum. The event brings together leaders in the public and private sector to discuss helping transform multi-agency operational effectiveness, reduce costs, and improve collaboration and information-sharing to tackle the threats to public safety and national security. Technology not only plays a key role in helping prepare and respond to a disaster, it also plays a key role in helping rebuild infrastructure after one.
On January 12, 2011, the world’s eyes will be fixed on Haiti at the anniversary of the quake that killed 300,000 and left 1.5 million people homeless. 4,000 schools – 90% of the educational institutions in Haiti – were destroyed. Much of the media attention will focus on how little is being accomplished. The people of Haiti deserve a better future.
As terrible as this tragedy was, what stings most is the realization that much of this tragedy may have been averted if investments had been made in basic infrastructure – specifically in education. In an op-ed in the Seattle Times this past March, Richard Stearns, President of World Vision, the world’s largest humanitarian organization, states “most of the deaths would have been prevented — if Haiti hadn't been so very poor.”
Mr. Stearns points to a tale of two cities: