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At a ceremony held last week in Washington, DC, Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers was presented with the prestigious Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

From a record 78 nominations this year, Cisco won the 2010 ACE in the Multinational Enterprises category for its partnerships and initiatives designed to enhance socio and economic development in Israel and Palestine.

This prestigious award is presented annually in recognition of the vital role U.S.-owned businesses play in exhibiting good corporate citizenship, innovation and advancing democratic principles around the world.

It all started in January 2008, when Cisco announced a $10 million commitment to seed a sustainable model of job creation and economic development in the Palestinian territories over a three year period through key initiatives that help elevate the ICT sector and enhanced the ecosystem to support a high-tech industry.

And what was kicked off as a CSR initiative to create jobs, ended up today as an investment model where business processes and IT development work is now being outsourced to Palestinian IT companies.

Engineering project collaboration between Cisco Israel and Palestinian software development companies: Exalt, Asal Technologies, and GSSI, venture capital investments in high-potential small businesses throughout the region, and training programs that support the development of ICT skills.

Additionally, Cisco was also recognized for its engagement in supporting education and bridging the digital divide in underserved communities through the Net@ Program, and a $2.5 million investment in education and social inclusion through the creation of the Digital Cities Project (Nazareth and Nazareth Ilit) and the Mediterranean Young Technology Club (MYTecC).

See the entire ACE award event ceremony here.

Worth noting that Cisco received the ACE in 2005 in recognition of the company’s Jordan Education Initiative and commitment to the education of Jordan’s youth.  Cisco was also named one of 11 ACE finalists in 2009 for the company’s Partnership in Lebanon efforts.

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