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Sun 6 Nov 2005 04:00 AM

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Bill’s royal appointment

Microsoft boss Bill Gates celebrated his 50th birthday last month with a whistle stop trip to the Middle East. In his third visit to the region in two years, the Microsoft chairman visited Jordan, where His Majesty King Abdullah II received him.

Microsoft boss Bill Gates celebrated his 50th birthday last month with a whistle stop trip to the Middle East. In his third visit to the region in two years, the Microsoft chairman visited Jordan, where His Majesty King Abdullah II received him.

Gates, who reached his half century mark on October 28, was in the Kingdom two days before, where he also met the Minister for Information and Communications Technology, Nadia Saeed, and other government officials to discuss the information economy in Jordan, along with senior executives from some of Jordan’s leading IT companies and high achieving students.

For Microsoft, the trip was very much about demonstrating its support for the region and Jordan’s IT initiatives in particular.

King Abdullah said that projects implemented by Microsoft and initiatives launched by Gates in Jordan have helped to advance the IT industry in the Kingdom.

Another highlight of Gates’ visit was a keynote address to more than 600 government officials and industry leaders at an Iftar hosted by King Abdullah.

There Gates said that Microsoft has been at the forefront of Jordan’s IT sector since it began operations in the country.

Microsoft already invests heavily in IT projects in Jordan.

These include the Jordan Education Initiative (JEI), a public private partnership to enhance education in the region, and Microsoft also works closely with Menhaj and the Ministries of ICT and Education as part of Microsoft’s Partners In Learning initiative.

This year, Microsoft opened the School Technology Innovation Center in Amman to help education professionals to make effective use of ICT in teaching.

Microsoft has also signed a strategic framework agreement with the Ministry of ICT to contribute to Jordan’s REACH Initiative, to enhance e-government, build the IT industry in the Kingdom and create training and development opportunities for Jordanians in IT skills.

For Gates, last month was one to celebrate: it was also the 30th anniversary of Microsoft’s founding.

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