Partnership story

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Global co-operation agreement between UNESCO and Microsoft


In 2004, the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, and Bill Gates, Microsoft’s Chairman and Chief Software Architect, signed a co-operation agreement which defines eight areas in which UNESCO and Microsoft will work together, exchanging experiences, know-how and developing projects.

The eight areas of co-operation are:

  • education and learning;
  • community access and development;
  • cultural and linguistic diversity and preservation;
  • digital inclusion and capacity;
  • exchange and promotion of best practices on the use of ICT for socio-economic development;
  • fostering web-based communities of practice, including content development, knowledge sharing and empowerment through participation;
  • facilitating exchange of information and of software applications;
  • sharing expertise and strategies.

Projects in these areas will draw on co-operation with a variety of partners: from the private sector, government, and intergovernmental organizations, as well as civil society actors. The partnership is strategic in that it is based on the exchange of knowledge and experience rather than funding. The agreement, for example, envisions the building of knowledge communities, i.e. web-based communities of practice, which will facilitate the pooling of intellectual resources independently of geographical barriers.