KUALA LUMPUR, 3 June 2016 – Microsoft Malaysia today concluded its Philanthropy Week, by empowering and enabling NGOs as well as youth, and embracing diversity. The week-long campaign ended with YouthSpark Live, held at Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus, which was organized in partnership with Yayasan Generasi Gemilang – Microsoft’s partner NGO that works to develop youths to equip them with skills to boost their employability.
YouthSpark Live was officiated by Yang Berhormat Dato’ P Kamalanathan, Deputy Minister of Education, who explained the importance of initiatives like YouthSpark in tandem with the country’s efforts to create a globally competitive workforce, “The theme of this forum, YouthSpark Live: Empowering Youth, is a very important agenda of the Government under the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and the intellectual development of students are subjects very close to my heart. The Ministry welcomes the involvement of the private sector and NGOs to assist in making STEM education the preferred choice for our students. A STEM workforce is vital to growth of the country’s economy, and I believe the future of the nation will depend very much on the skills and knowledge that our young generation possess especially in the sciences, to sustain our country’s competitiveness and socio-economic wellbeing.”
Jasmine Begum, Director, Corporate, External & Legal Affairs, Microsoft Malaysia and Emerging Markets, echoed YB Dato’ P Kamalanathan’s sentiment, “At Microsoft, we believe every young person should have the opportunity to learn computer science, giving them the power not only to use, but also to create with technology. YouthSpark Live will discuss computer science being a fundamental skill for the next-generation workforce, and a skill that is valued by employers in every sector, not just technology.”
The event also addressed some of the emerging career opportunities and how youth can and should compete in an increasingly global economy. Nick Foong, Head of Youth Development & Communications, Generasi Gemilang explained, “Generasi Gemilang’s mission is focused on four main pillars – community development, youth development, counselling and care, and strategic alliances, all of which serve to build human capital for a better tomorrow. Microsoft YouthSpark partnership and technology donations will help the Foundation reach over 1,200 youths across urban Malaysia and into the far interiors of East Malaysia. YouthSpark Live will identify the skills they need to reach their goals, figure out how technology will accelerate them forward, and get connected to programs that will help them get there.”
Through 30+ programs and partnerships with more than 350 youth-serving nonprofits, Microsoft YouthSpark has created new opportunities for more than 227 million young people in over 100 countries around the world. YouthSpark Live brings to life Microsoft YouthSpark, as a platform for youth to learn about careers in technology, entrepreneurship, online safety, and today’s employment landscape.
Microsoft Philanthropy Week
Four Powerful Initiatives Embodied
YouthSpark Live was just one component of Microsoft Malaysia’s Philanthropy Week. The entire week-long campaign was an opportunity for Microsoft to reiterate its commitment in connecting the benefits of technology to those who needed them most, and communicate the impact of Microsoft’s initiatives in Malaysia to date.
Through Microsoft Philanthropies, Microsoft is investing its strongest assets to drive greater inclusion and empowerment of people who do not have access to technology and the opportunities it offers and enables.
The other 3 events under Microsoft Malaysia’s Philanthropy Week are:-
[28 May – 12 June] Microsoft-Kidzania partnership – inculcating STEM amongst children
The collaboration between Microsoft and Kidzania addresses concerns toward children’s increased exposure to technology, by showcasing technology’s ability to enable fun and interactive learning. As part of this partnership, KidZania will be providing Microsoft with 200 KidZ & Tech event tickets for children in underserved communities. Jasmine expounded, “Microsoft is committed to ensure that children from all walks of life have access to STEM education. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn and create with technology. Microsoft is always looking for opportunities to ensure that we build the next generation of leaders, and equip them with 21st century learning tools. We look forward to harnessing technology for greater good, and creating opportunities for our younger generation, in partnership with KidZania.”
[31 May] Tech4Good – empowering modern Malaysian NGOs with digital transformation
The second initiative under the Philanthropy Week umbrella was Tech4Good, an initiative aimed at providing non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with the technology, knowledge, community and resources they need to fulfil their missions. Held at Microsoft Malaysia, Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development – Yang Berhormat Senator Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, launched Tech4Good and commended the company for its efforts in supporting NGOs with 21st century technology and resources for their digital transformation.
Tech4Good provides a platform for NGOs to have access to world-class solutions and technology that support their efforts in serving their communities, including youth, women, undocumented children and persons with disabilities.
[1 June] Expert panel on cybersecurity & vulnerable communities – catalyst for conversations on cybersecurity, diversity and inclusive technology
Following Tech4Good, a panel of cybersecurity experts addressed over 100 university students at Taylor’s University to discuss the importance of cybersecurity, particularly in relation to the vulnerable members of our community – children and senior citizens. Microsoft approaches online safety and child online protection with four key areas in mind: technology, self-governance, education and partnerships.
Angela McKay, Director, Government Security Policy and Strategy at Microsoft Corp highlighted the company’s approach, “As a technology company, we have a responsibility to create software, devices and services that have safety features, functionality and considerations built in from the outset. In addition, we devise and implement internal online safety policies, standards and procedures that extend beyond pure legal requirements in an effort to self-govern product development and operations.”
Microsoft’s cybersecurity sessions like the panel discussion that was held earlier in the week initiates conversations on cybersecurity, diversity and inclusive technology, delve deeper into challenges, solutions and opportunities, and hear various stakeholders’ perspectives, in an effort to encourage and support digital inclusion and inclusive behaviours in relation to the use and development of technology. “We also have a responsibility to stay abreast of the risks that individuals and families may face online; alert consumers to such developments and educate them about how they can help protect themselves and their families. Perhaps most importantly, we embrace a multi-stakeholder model, and partner with others because no one entity or organization can successfully tackle these significant and nuanced issues alone,” added McKay.
Microsoft Philanthropies – advocating diversity & inclusion within a mobile-first, cloud-first world
Despite global expansion, increased access, and democratization of technology, the benefits of technology are not yet encompassing the broader segment of the world’s population. This has been the aim of Microsoft Malaysia’s Philanthropy Week as it is committed to empower and enable NGOs as well as youth, and embrace diversity.
“At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Delivering on this mission starts with great technology, but great technology alone is not enough. Too many of technology’s benefits have yet to reach the people who need them. Through Microsoft Philanthropies, we’re investing Microsoft’s strongest assets to drive greater inclusion and empowerment of people who do not have access to technology and the opportunities it offers and enables. As we do so, we will build on the foundation of Microsoft’s 30-plus years of giving, seeking new ways to achieve greater outcomes for a broader segment of the world’s population,” concluded K Raman, Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia.