Photo - US President Barack Obama and Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak with Code For Malaysia participants at the launch of Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Center (MaGIC).
Technology solutions provider Microsoft's recent inaugural Code for Malaysia campaign, launched with the support of local celebrities, has attracted more than 1,500 students, and also saw the involvement of the US president Barack Obama and the Malaysian prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Microsoft Malaysia managing director Carlos Lacerda said the campaign, launched on 19 April with help from celebrities such as actress Sazlini Shamsul Falak, national youth icon Michael Teoh and beauty pageant title holder Deborah Henry as well as Khairy Jamaluddin, minister of Youth and Sports, Malaysia, is in line with the Malaysian government's launch of MaGIC [(Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre], an initiative to further technology and coding skills among the country's youth.
Code for Malaysia was inspired by Code.org's 'Hour of Code campaign supported by Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama, Ashton Kutcher and Shakira, said Lacerda.
"Every nation knows that the future wellbeing of a country lies with the younger generation - this is the same with Malaysia," Lacerda said. "We've seen the government collaborate with various parties over the years to empower entrepreneurialism and leadership amongst the young."
"A prime example of such collaboration would be the launch of MaGIC, and as a technology company, we too share that responsibility, which is exactly what initiatives like Code for Malaysia is set out to achieve," he said. "By focusing on one simple, attainable campaign, and tying it to the younger generation's innate love of gadgets and apps, we hope to channel the energy of youth into a loud demand for more resources, education and skills training in coding."
MaGIC co-launched by Obama, Najib
MaGIC was recently co-launched by Obama and Najib at Cyberjaya late last month during the US president's visit to the country. During the launch, Obama, said, "As Prime Minister Najib indicated, we are here because we have a shared commitment to fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship, especially among our young people. We want you to be able to create things and start your own companies and your own businesses, and come up with your own products and services, because that's how our societies grow. And the dreams and talents of these young people help to fuel our economies and create jobs, and they also bring our countries closer together."
During the launch, 70 of the students taking part in Code for Malaysia met with Barack Obama and Dato' Sri Najib Razak as the two visited the exhibition booths and spoke to entrepreneurs and young students.
"By 2020, there will be 1.2 million computer science jobs available worldwide with only 400 thousand students learning to code. There is a great opportunity to be filled against a backdrop of a highly competitive workplace. It is therefore imperative that young people understand computer science and basic programming as those skills are the foundation for many jobs today as well as the future," said Microsoft Malaysia's Lacerda.
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