"Killing Three Birds With One Stone": The Microsoft UP - ISEF Project
Dr. Sydney Engelberg
A slight young Ethiopian adult we can call Simon has one ambition. He dreams of becoming a lawyer. His dream has a long history, for Simon is an Ethiopian Jew. His story, or rather the story of his family, begins in November 1989, when Ethiopia and Israel reached an agreement that would allow Ethiopian Jews to move to Israel under the context of family reunification. With this resumption of diplomatic relations, the Ethiopian government soon after indicated that it was willing to allow immigration to Israel beyond the original framework of reunification.
Between January 1990 ...view middle of the document...
Regrettably, Simon and his family were not among the fortunate to be rescued. Despite the success of Operation Solomon, the Quara Jews were left behind. Their province was under rebel control and they could not make their way to Addis Ababa to take part in the exodus. In 1992, about 3,500 Jews living in Upper Quara were brought to Israel, while the 2,500 Jews of Lower Quara were once again left behind because of civil unrest in the area.
In 1999, the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea escalated, which further exacerbated the already desperate situation of the Quara Jews. Since there were no internal flights to Gondar, the Jewish Agency sent buses to bring the Quara Jews to Addis Ababa. Under difficult conditions, including flooding and rough terrain, the Jewish Agency over the course of 37 days, brought 1,388 Quara Jews home to Israel.
This is Simon's background and the hardships he has had to face. Today, Simon is a Microsoft student and preparing to enroll at university. But the personal story of Simon intertwines with two organizational stories, that of Microsoft UP and that of ISEF, and the partnership that has been developed between the corporate giant and the NGO.
Rationale and Objectives
Microsoft Unlimited Potential: Empowering the Next Five Billion
Through a combination of advanced technologies and strong
partnerships with governments, partners, NGOs, educators and
academics, Microsoft Unlimited Potential takes an innovative
approach to help enable new avenues of social and economic
empowerment for the majority of the worldâ€™s population. Built on
the principles of relevance, access and affordability, the initiative
is focused on delivering solutions in three key, interrelated
areas that are foundational drivers of economic opportunity:
transforming education, fostering local innovation, and creating
jobs and opportunities.
Education is the cornerstone of economic opportunity, so
any efforts to help young people realize their full potential
must begin there. Increased demand for secondary and
higher education around the world has strained education
infrastructures and created significant shortages of qualified
teachers. To help address this challenge, Microsoft is working
with partners, educators, governments and NGOs to increase
access to quality education through dynamic, learner-focused
technologies and resources. They are committed to helping
improve the quality of teaching and learning, and helping people
of all ages learn valuable new skills. They are now building on these
efforts with a comprehensive offering of customizable education
solutions, targeted where the need is greatest, and focused on
enabling schools, teachers and students with a comprehensive
set of innovative educational tools.
Partners in Learning: Partners in Learning is a five-year,
US$250 million program that broadens access to technology
and helps educators transform teaching and learning....