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Technology, Kids and a Guinness World Record

On October 2, 2010, the day after Singapore celebrated Children’s Day, close to two thousand children and Cisco volunteers led by Edzard Overbeek, President of Cisco’s Asia Pacific and Japan theaters, created a little piece of history by attending the World’s Largest Art Lesson across 12 countries and 33 locations around the globe.

Sitting in Cisco’s Singapore office, Peter Draw, a gifted young artist with a passion to bring joy to the lives of underprivileged children through art, achieved his dream of reaching out to hundreds of children simultaneously thanks to Cisco’s technologies including TelePresence and WebEx.

The event was recognized by Guinness as a new world record but the real rewards lay in the squeals of laughter from the children who came from different backgrounds, different cultures and different nations; united for those few hours through a combination of technology and good old fashioned drawing.

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Cisco Live Bahrain 2011: The Biggest IT Event in the Middle East for our Customers and Partners in the UAE

Each year, tens of thousands of IT and communications professionals attend Cisco Live events held around world. Cisco Live offers an unparalleled combination of education and training on the latest technologies and trends; testing and certification on Cisco products; and the opportunity for attendees to extend their professional networks by forging new connections with like-minded colleagues.

Fortunately for us IT professionals in the UAE, Cisco Live is taking place for the second year in our neighboring country, Bahrain.

The first-ever Networkers Bahrain 2010 in the Middle East region was a huge success for Cisco in the Middle East where the event attracted more than 4000 attendees live and online from over 75 different countries.

This year, and under the patronage of HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and developed in collaboration with the government of Bahrain, Cisco is bringing an even bigger networking forum to Bahrain at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir, from 10th to 13th April 2011.

Cisco Live Bahrain 2011 is a great opportunity for our customers and partners from the UAE to network and connect with more than 3,000 key technical and business decision makers among their peers from across Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Visitors will gain insights into the new and emerging technologies and trends that will transform how companies  do business and maintain competitiveness  in the current economic climate. Moreover, visitors  will have the opportunity to attend networking, technical seminars, service provider and IT management programs and more than 280 technical sessions across the event delivered by world-class Cisco and Cisco partner experts.

Cisco Live Bahrain is the biggest IT event in the Middle East for our customers and partners in the UAE and I look forward to see you in Bahrain!

Poetry, Technology and Education Across the Ocean

The TelePresence room at Cisco’s Sofia office in Bulgaria was converted into a virtual classroom where ten students from the American College in Sofia, attended a Poetry Master Class with Dr. Linda Gregerson, Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan.

Professor Gregerson, whose fourth book of poems, Magnetic North, was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award, discussed her poems with the students over a distance of 8,100 kilometers and across seven time zones.

We really felt we were sitting across the same table and could interact with Dr. Gregerson as if she was here with us in Sofia

“Video makes such a huge difference. We all use video over the internet, but the quality of this session was amazing. We really felt we were sitting across the same table and could interact with Dr. Gregerson as if she was here with us in Sofia. This technology opens up new horizons in education, I can bring my students in touch with the best teachers from around the globe, without the need for physical travel. This will not only help them learn in new ways, but they will develop the skill of communicating and collaborating with other people, a skill which is very valuable in today’s globalizing economy” said Paul Johnson, President of the American College of Sofia.

The American College hopes to continue this relationship with Dr. Gregerson and the University of Michigan and is also planning to build closer ties to different educational institutions across the globe using TelePresence technology.

Can Technology Help Bring Peace and Prosperity? I Say Absolutely

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.

French and Russians fight Alzheimer’s disease with Chess and TelePresence

Last week, the French Embassy in Moscow and Cisco successfully completed a Russia-France virtual chess tournament that wasn’t exactly your average everyday chess tournament type.

The tournament aimed at increasing awareness and research to fight Alzheimer’s disease. The two day event was supported by Cisco, IBM, The French Presidential Commission On Alzheimer Disease, French Ministry of Healthcare, Moscow State Healthcare University, University Hospital of Nice, Chess Federations of Russia and France. Additionally, the tournament was attended by Anatoly Karpov, Russian chess grandmaster and winner of the multiple world chess championships, French Grand Master Joel Lautier and Anatoly Weisser, current world champion in the seniors category.

Over the course of two days, Russian and French teams of eight chess players competed in an immersion collaborative experiences using Cisco TelePresence rooms located in Cisco offices in Moscow and Nice. Simultaneously, players were closely observed by medical specialists who monitored their cardiac and cerebral reactions.

All players were senior citizens who were at least 60 years old. One of the French participants was 94 while notably, another chess player from Russia, born 86 years ago was a decorated WWII veteran.

By the end of the tournament, a trilateral press conference was held with journalists participating from Moscow, Paris and Nice on TelePresnece and WebEx who discussed topics related to the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and the role technology can play in advancing the research to defeat it.

Journalists engaged in lively conversations with speakers that included Karpov, Weisser, Lautier and senior healthcare experts from France and Russia. Weisser referred to TelePresnce as a fantastic technology, while healthcare specialists from both countries described this project as a breakthrough in terms of increasing research and effort to prevent Alzheimer disease.

The French counselor for social affairs at the  French embassy in Moscow called the event as an “excellent conclusion of the Year of France in Russia and Russia in France”.

I will leave you below with some snapshots from this amazing event!