Cross Post: Empowering and creating opportunities for youth in Latin America and the Caribbean

Cross Post: Empowering and creating opportunities for youth in Latin America and the Caribbean

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This week, Microsoft participated in events to discuss the challenges facing youth globally and how we can all work together to empower youth in Latin America and the Caribbean, specifically women and girls, and create opportunities for them to combat unemployment.

Laura Ipsen, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector, Microsoft, represented Microsoft at two events on opposite sides of the globe, specifically focused on empowering women and girls, an issue that is critical for both countries and global companies like Microsoft. She participated in a panel discussion led by Irina Bokova, Director-General UNESCO, to mark the first anniversary of the launch of “Better Life, Better Future”, UNESCO’s Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Microsoft aims to align once again with UNESCO to prioritize gender on the education agenda and to apply ICTs to augment teachers’ education and training. The panel discussion can be viewed here.

And on Wednesday at Microsoft’s Government Leaders Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and senior women government leaders from the region discussed “Women and their Impact in Latin America”. Ispen moderated a panel discussion featuring Dorothea Werneck, State Secretary of Economic Development, Minas Gerais, Brazil; Carolina Schmidt, Minister of the National Directorate of the Service for the Women of Chile; and Lorena Martínez Rodríguez, Mayor of Aguas Calientes, México.

Central to the discussion is the mounting evidence that empowering women means a more efficient use of a nation’s human talent endowment, while reducing gender inequality enhances productivity and economic growth. You can read a blog post on her experiences on the Microsoft on the Issues blog here.

Also at the Government Leaders Forum, the company drew attention to the growing challenge of unemployment for youth in Latin America and Caribbean. Thursday’s keynote, delivered by Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president of Legal and Corporate Affairs, spoke to the issue and detailed Microsoft’s commitment to creating opportunities for youth in the region through various initiatives, programs and partnerships.

One new program, which will have a substantial impact in the region, is Nuevos Empleos y Opportunidades, or NEO. Microsoft has committed $5 million to the program, which will provide job training to one million youth, and aims to place at least 50 percent of graduates in jobs. NEO is a growing initiative that partners with both the private and public sector – an important aspect of the program that aims to not only train youth but to encourage and educate governments and companies on the importance of investing in this generation.

Learn more about NEO and a number of other programs creating opportunity for youth in Latin America and the Caribbean here.

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