By Lori Harnick, General Manager, Citizenship and Public Affairs

Microsoft’s attendance at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland is a tradition that was started by Microsoft Co-Founder and Chairman Bill Gates. It’s an opportunity for us to participate in an international dialogue about the world’s most pressing economic and social problems and how government, business, nonprofits, and civil society can come together to ignite change and make a real impact for a better tomorrow.

Each year our involvement has grown. I’ll be part of this year’s Microsoft delegation, which will also include Craig Mundie, senior advisor to the CEO, Brad Smith, executive vice president and general counsel, Eric Rudder, chief technical strategy officer, and Jean-Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International.

As we strive to create a real impact for a better tomorrow, we’ll join a series of important conversations at the Annual Meeting on the topic of the global challenges facing youth, such as high unemployment and skills development. Brad Smith will join a panel hosted by McKinsey & Company to discuss ways to help youth more easily navigate the path from education to employment. This is an area where Microsoft has made a significant investment, including the support of a national proposal to fuel talent mobility and the launch of Microsoft YouthSpark, our global, company-wide initiative designed to create opportunities for 300 million youth over the next three years. We believe we can play an important role in helping to build a strong global economy by providing technology, education and opportunities to young people, to empower them to imagine and realize their full potential and help them create a real impact for a better tomorrow.

Microsoft will also have a presence at two other events: a session organized by WEF titled “From Data Deluge to Data Dividend” and a workshop organized by WEF titled “The Business of Human Rights: Current Challenges and Opportunities.”

And for the second year - one of the biggest product launch years in our history - we are delighted to host the Microsoft Vision Center, which will showcase current Microsoft products and provide attendees a glimpse into the future. The future innovations on display will include the Illumishare project and Kinect for Windows, as well as newly-released devices, including Surface, Windows Phone 8 and a variety of Windows 8 touch devices. All will demonstrate the power and promise of technology to make a real impact for a better tomorrow.

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As we work collectively to rebuild the global economy, we believe the technology industry can make many critical contributions to help increase employment opportunities and drive global economic progress. We look forward to sharing our perspectives as the week unfolds through the Microsoft Corporate Citizenship blog and the Microsoft on the Issues blog. You can also track the conversation on Twitter by following @WEF and the Forum’s hashtag #WEF.