Leonid Meteor Shower, The 2009 Tech Awards – Part 1

LeonidSkySmall.JPGWhen I heard that the Leonid meteor shower this year was predicted to be one of the most active in years past, I was determined to head out and catch the sight of the “shooting stars” myself. And boy was it an amazing sight to see! Sitting under a moon-less night with nothing but the stars and the frequent meteor to light up the sky was nothing short of breathtaking. Granted, it was quite a chilly night even for California weather, but that didn’t stop me from staying out for quite some time in the wee hours of the night.

You may be wondering, “What does the Leonid meteor shower have anything to do with social responsibility?”

As I sat gazing in the sky, I was thinking about the activities that were in store for me this week. The Tech Awards. Call it coincidence, but like shooting stars the 2009 Tech Award Laureates had just flown into San Jose nearly the same time as the Leonid showers had. But let me not get ahead of myself – The Tech Awards is a yearly international awards program that recognizes and honors innovators from around that world that use technology to impact humanity in profound ways. There are five categories that these innovative programs would fall under: Environment, Economic Development, Education, Equality and Health. Of the countless submissions each year, there are three finalists, or Laureates, selected for each category. Even though the recognition as a Laureate is prestigious enough, one Laureate from each category is honored with $50,000 for their work. Since its inception in 2000, The Tech Awards has gained worldwide recognition, which in turn brings attention to the amazing programs that are selected as Laureates. As the sponsor of the Environment category, Intel has returned year after year to witness and honor the Laureates.

TechAwardsEBCsmall.jpgToday, we hosted all 15 Laureates at Intel Headquarters in Santa Clara. After a welcome by one of our VPs Stuart Pann and an introduction by our Director of Corporate Responsibility Michael Jacobson, Intel World Ahead’s Chief Strategist Chris Thomas shared with the Laureates the Intel World Ahead vision: that doing socially responsible and humanity-benefitting programs can also be good business, and that technology is at the core of making these programs profitable, and thus sustainable. The excitement in the room was electric, as the Laureates realized that not only was a tech giant like Intel aware of the struggles and challenges they face on the front lines of social change, but that we too were out in the trenches alongside them. The questions began pouring in, at times challenging Chris and at other times echoing his words of support.

There are more activities lined up for The Tech Awards this week, so stay tuned for more to come. In the meantime, I encourage you to take a gander at this year’s Laureates, who come from all corners of the globe – their programs and accomplishments are nothing short of outstanding. And the next time you see a shooting star lighting up the sky, remember that there are those out there around the globe impacting humanity and serving as beacons of light for their communities.

Here are the 2009 Laureates:

Environment Award Laureates – Intel

> – Cows to Kilowatts

> – LeafView: an Electronic Field Guide

> – GRUPEDSAC: Ecotechniques Toolkits for Self-Sufficiency

Economic Development Award Laureates – BD Biosciences

> – Alternative Energy for Empowerment

> – Driptech

> – Solar Ear

Education Award Laureates – Microsoft

> – Akshaya Patra Foundation

> – GeoGebra

> – Khan Academy

Equality Award Laureates – Katherine M. Swanson

> – kiwanja.net: FrontlineSMS

> – Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha: SuryaHurricane: Electrification for the Landless

> – World of Good Development Organization: Fair Wage Guide Open-Source Platform

Health Award Laureates – Nokia

> – mPedigree Network

> – PATH: Ultra Rice

> – VillageReach

As always, your comments are most welcome!


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