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Microsoft joins forces with Israel to educate people for the future

November 29, 2007. Jerusalem Post: Greer Fay Cashman

Software giant Microsoft Corp. has entered into a cooperative technological training project with the state of Israel expected to provide some 250,000 Israeli women, youth and disabled people with a springboard to a career in science and technology related industries.

"You have a good company so we're happy to do business with you," said President Shimon Peres at the ceremony launch the project on Thursday at Beit Hanassi.

Jean-Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International, said it was no coincidence, that the global software company Microsft had chosen to work with Israel, adding that the country had the technological vision to open up new horizons. "Microsoft sees Israel as being a specialist country in innovation and creativity, leading the world in technological initiative. Moreover, Israel is regarded as one of three major technologically progressive countries outside of the US,", said Courtois.

"Technology is what literacy used to be," said Courtois.

The start of the project will be a national competition in robotics as part of Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations. Participants of the project will be trained in robotics, engineering and computers.

Microsoft seeks to encourage young people to be science and technology leaders by involving them in programs and projects that help to develop the skills that could lead to innovative ideas and products.

Peres added that he was pleased with the attention that Microsft was giving to women.

"In a country like Israel this was especially important, because there is a large religious community in which women are the breadwinners so that their husbands can continue their studies," said Peres. "If they can work with computers, they can do so in an environment that does not compromise their sensitivities."

Peres noted the importance of making technological education available to Israel's Arab community.

"The Arabs will never enjoy equality unless they enter the world of high tech," he said.

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