“The last few months have highlighted problems we have been seeing for many years. Whether in France, Lebanon, Belgium, Mali or Egypt, we are all the same and we need to embrace our differences to connect and collaborate.”
These are the words of Ali Faramawy, President of Microsoft Middle East and Africa, addressing the recent TeenTech Global Youth Summit.
He believes strongly in the power of technology to transform society, which is one of the ideas core to Microsoft’s mission – to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.
The Summit was organised by TeenTechSF, which is run by and for students dedicated to empowering the next generation of tech innovators. Their motto is, “Innovate, Collaborate, Create: Bringing the Spirit of Silicon Valley to the World”, which Ali embraced.
“Creativity and teamwork can change the world and create opportunities if you’re ready to transform your efforts into something real,” he commented.
His address, which was shown at the Summit and livestreamed to over 1400 students around the world, focused on the role technology can play in creating transformation and hope at a time when the world is struggling.
Ali believes technology is a way for us to express our opinions and collaborate to do meaningful things. He feels that the diversity of people at Microsoft and the work they are doing to help transform society proves this.
He highlighted the 4Afrika initiative for its involvement with projects that are improving connectivity and infrastructure across the African continent. For example, TV White Spaces makes use of the unused range of TV spectrum to provide Wi-Fi hotspots for rural communities, while M-Kopa uses solar power to light up houses and AGIN uses the cloud-based Azure platform to make it easy for farmers to access loans.
Marc Wong, TeenTechSF Founder and Global Chair, said that the Summit’s attendees enjoyed hearing Ali’s message of hope. “The response to Mr Faramawy’s video message was really great,” he said. “There was a lot of positive energy and discussion during the networking break about hope and transformation and how to create practical solutions to problems.”
Aside from Ali’s address at the Summit, a team from Microsoft hosted a workshop using Minecraft to teach basic coding principles and mentored a team from Ahliyyah School for Girls, who won the Best First-Time Hacker Award at the Summit’s civic hackathon. TeenTechSF’s commitment to STEM diversity speaks very closely to Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to do more and achieve more.
If you missed Ali’s address at the TeenTech Global Youth Summit or you would like to hear it again, be sure to click here to see what he had to say. You can also visit the TeenTechSF Facebook page for more information about the Summit.