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  • Voices of Courage
    Awards Luncheon

    May 3, 2018

    Micosoft's Voices of Courage Award Remarks

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    Thank you Dina,

    It is an honor to receive this award from the Women’s Refugee Commission and for it to be presented by you, Dina! As the Co-Chair of the Women’s Refugee Commission Board of Directors and a Member of Microsoft’s Board of Directors – your leadership, in the business world and your commitment to philanthropic work focused on “empowering” woman globally, inspires so many of us. Thank you Dina.

    To our co-honorees, Amalia Guzmán Molina and Deogratias Niyizonkiza. You are true “innovators for change.” Against all odds – you survived and immediately became “change agents” in your community. It is truly a great honor to receive this award with you.

    On behalf of the 90,000 women and men of Microsoft, I want to thank the Women’s Refugee Commission for recognizing Microsoft’s work. There is a “kindred connection” between Microsoft’s work in communities around the world and the innovative work of the Women’s Refugee Commission. We have felt this for a number of years. KIND (Kids in Need of Defense) is an excellent example. As all of you know, the Women’s Refugee Commission emerged a decade ago as a leading advocate for the better protection of unaccompanied children in the U.S. One issue the Commission identified was the need for legal representation for the thousands of children who were appearing in U.S. immigration courts without a lawyer, despite the formal proceedings and the sometimes life and death consequences of the judge’s ruling. Eighteen months ago, Microsoft, co-founded KIND with actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie, to help close this gap, by developing a national network of more than 1,200 pro bono attorneys from law firms and corporations to represent unaccompanied children. Now with operations in seven cities across the country, KIND has identified and begun to assist 1,100 children with their immigration cases.

    At the same time, the Women’s Refugee Commission and KIND have become effective advocacy partners in the halls of Congress and with the Obama Administration. Microsoft is proud to be involved and to support this important work.

    We also appreciate the work of the Women’s Refugee Commission on developing and identifying economic opportunities for refugee women and children. The goals that drive the Commission’s efforts in this area are also reflected in Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential commitment. Since the founding of our company, we have felt an intense responsibility to harness technology to help change things for the better. It is underscored by our Unlimited Potential programs, which focus on increasing access to technology to help people improve their lives. Through one of our programs, The Unlimited Potential Community Technology Skills Program, which began in 2003, Microsoft has supported more than 50,000 technology centers in more than 100 countries. Through this program, we have brought basic information technology skills to 170 million people worldwide, opening up doors to new and better jobs and increased economic opportunity. Microsoft Unlimited Potential comes to life through partnerships. For example, Microsoft and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees collaborate to apply creative technology solutions in support of refugee protection, assistance programs and educational opportunities. This partnership brings computers and internet access to camps, helping refugees in 19 countries. In Indonesia, for example, working with two local foundations we partner on the prevention of trafficking of women and girls by providing IT skills training programs and employment opportunities.

    Through partnerships, we are helping people improve their lives every day – with KIND, with The Microsoft Unlimited Potential Community Technology Skills Program, and with the Women’s Refugee Commission.

    At Microsoft, our mission is to help people and organizations throughout the world realize their full potential. For over twenty years the Women’s Refugee Commission has known the potential of refugees, and has passionately fought for systemic change for refugee women and children – it is an honor to be recognized by you and on behalf of Microsoft, thank you for all you do!