Reporting from the Clinton Global Initiative

I had the pleasure of being in New York this week with Intel Chairman Craig Barrett for our participation in the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting and several other events related to the UN General Assembly. It was an exciting week that made me proud of the role Intel is playing in advancing social and economic development through the use of information and communications technology (ICT).

Craig Barrett at Clinton Global Initiative

At CGI, we participated in sessions related to both education and healthcare. At the education session on “Global Expansion of Programs That Increase Quality Education,” Intel Foundation President Brenda Musilli gave a progress report on the commitment Intel made last year at CGI to advance the quality of education in 15 countries by training online over 1.5 million teachers to effectively integrate technology in the classroom. We also announced a new commitment to collaborate with the WiderNet Project at the University of Iowa to help bring web content to communities around the world who lack adequate Internet connectivity. Intel is sponsoring the creation of a new community information platform allowing users to add local content to an eGranary Digital library, an off-line collection created by WiderNet of over 1,200 Web sites and CD-ROMs that provides Internet-like services over local area networks at speeds thousands of times faster than typical Internet connections. These eGranaries are installed at universities, secondary schools, clinics, hospitals, government offices, and libraries in developing countries, enabling access to relevant Internet content. It was great to have Professor Cliff Missen from University of Iowa at CGI with us to talk about his exciting work.

On the healthcare front, Intel Chairman Craig Barrett participated in a CGI session on Thursday morning on “Expanding the Global Health Workforce.” Craig talked about the pilots Intel has done in the Amazon, India, Egypt, South Africa and other developing countries to advance healthcare access and quality with technology. For example, in September 2006, Intel installed a WiMAX high-speed wireless network in the city of Parintins, Brazil, providing high-speed Internet access to a primary healthcare center, two public schools, a community center, and Amazon University. The connected healthcare center has continued to expand under the ownership of local authorities and allows the 32 doctors in Parintins to interact with colleagues at Amazon State University in Manaus and São Paulo University, using telemedicine systems and videoconferencing technology to enable long-distance training, real-time consultation with specialists and remote diagnostics. To date, nearly 100 patients in Parintins have had the opportunity to be assisted by specialists in Manaus. It was great to see the enthusiasm at this CGI session from Craig’s impressive fellow panelists (the Ethiopian Minister of Health, an official from the World Health Organization, and a healthcare NGO leader from Nepal) and the high-caliber audience on the potential for ICT to enable mid-level health workers to reach more patients with life-saving diagnostics.

Craig also participated in the CGI plenary session on Thursday morning with President Clinton to be recognized for Intel’s participation in the SEVA Foundation’s commitment to fight blindness. Intel’s Emerging Markets Platform Group is providing our rural connectivity platform and architecture expertise to help connect rural health clinics in India to urban eye centers that can provide remote diagnostics. In addition to the pride I felt at Intel’s contribution to fighting blindness, this session was quite an experience for me personally. The Clinton Foundation volunteers were escorting us to our seats in the second row when we were body-checked from behind by the secret service personnel bringing in Cindy McCain and Sarah Palin to sit just a few seats away from us. I sat right behind Madeline Albright and was wedged in next to the very gracious former President of Colombia, Cesar Gaviria. It was inspiring to hear both John McCain and Barack Obama speak in the session about the urgent need to advance progress on global education, healthcare, climate initiatives and poverty alleviation. It was a source of hope in these troubling times to hear the two Presidential candidates recognize the importance of focusing on these important issues underlying global instability. And I won’t even get into all the great ideas coming out of the main panel on water, food and energy, which consisted of Tom Brokaw, Shimon Peres, World Bank President Robert Zoellick, T. Boone Pickens, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, and Denmark Social Democrat Party leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt. They talked about the potential of technology to advance energy efficiency (something we are pursuing passionately at Intel) and the need for more investment in research & development to bring these possibilities to fruition. I made a note to do some follow-up research on an Israeli initiative mentioned by Shimon Peres to increase the efficiency of water usage by attaching a computer to every tree!

Finally, before we left New York, we participated in an event at the United Nations organized by the Global Campaign for Education to raise awareness around the Education For All goals. Craig spoke alongside Prime Minister Gordon Brown, European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Queen Rania of Jordan, Bono, and many other leaders about the importance of working toward quality education for the 75 million children still out of school. Intel believes that quality education depends on quality teaching, which is why Intel has provided free professional development to 5.5 million teachers in 40 countries and is committed to reaching millions more.

On the sidelines of all these events, we had amazing conversations with leaders of government, development agencies, and NGOs about the potential of improving lives with technology. I left with renewed excitement around what we can do through collaboration across the private sector, public sector, and civil society, and lots more project ideas to follow-up on!

All in all, it was an amazing week in New York and I feel fortunate to work at a company that gives me an opportunity to change the world!

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