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Digital and Social

A few months ago, I held a two-hour TelePresence session with 30 energetic youth from Kibera in Kenya and showed them how to create a blog, twitter account and drive their engagement through Facebook.  I was in California and they were in Kenya and TelePresence allowed us to connect as though we were in the same room.  I have been inspired by these youth, ever since, as they are making a difference in their own and others lives.  And of course none of this would have happened without the exceptional leadership of Hital Muraj, who runs Cisco’s Networking Academies in east Africa.

When I joined the Cisco Canada executive team six months ago, I met so many leaders with a strong passion around corporate social responsibility (CSR).  It is core to the vision of Cisco Canada where CSR is also a way to bring collaboration to many groups across the country and not just about philanthropy.

Hena Prasanna and Hital Muraj helped make the world smaller and encourage more girls to pursue a career in IT by connecting girls from Brampton’s Cardinal Leger school and Kenya’s Cisco Networking Academy via TelePresence.    You can read the article in the Globe and Mail and also experience it for yourself here Connecting Girls in Toronto and Nairobi

The outcome?  The girls in Toronto felt like they had traveled to Kenya and had a conversation with girls just like them.  They also shared that IT is not just a profession for chubby, geeky guys.  On the other side of the world, the girls in Kenya told their friends that they went to Canada today thanks to Cisco.  We had 20 new girls join the academy in the hope of pursuing a future with ICT.  And, they continue to stay in touch through social media tools so the connections continue to build.

My lesson from all of this is that emerging technologies can help create greater equity and understanding in the world … what are your thoughts?

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