Using Technology to Improve the Lives of People
The post cold war role for businesses brought leaders into play not only for matters of profit and loss, but in support of more selfless goals: democratic institutions and strengthened security. It was in support of those democratic goals that People Technology Foundation was formed and around which its initial programs were conceived and implemented. The foundation extended its influence from Romania to other Eastern European countries, developing and implementing programs of its own, providing guidance to other organizations based on PTF’s technical expertise, and funding other charitable endeavors in the Eastern Bloc.
- Make a Difference in Romania (M.A.D.I.R.)
Make a Difference in Romania (M.A.D.I.R.) Software Engineering Internship Program was initiated in 1993, providing three-month internships in the US to allow selected college, graduate, and young Software Engineering professionals to experience American business and capitalism. During the years of the program, interns resided at Farleigh Dickenson University in Madison, New Jersey, interned in local companies’ IT departments developing software products, and participated in conferences, meetings, and various other cultural activities. The number of interns varied each year according to the funding available. Upon their return to Romania, all of the interns shared their achievements with interested colleagues in open forums, discussion and study groups. Of course the experience and knowledge gained in the US brought new and useful ideas for their activities back home, such as the courses they selected or taught or local businesses they developed.
- Applied Research Scholarship Program
The Applied Research Scholarship Program was initiated in Romania in 1994. Different teams proposed their projects, and the best five were awarded development sponsorship. All the work was done in Romania, where the teams had to provide their own computers and any facilities needed. A review committee supervised the project milestones and ensured that they completed the goals proposed in their project statement.
- Software Engineering Library
In February 1995 a Software Engineering Library was opened in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. There are more than 1,200 books and 200 magazines, covering many fields of great interest. Another 550 books were donated to universities and high schools in Cluj, such as the Computer Science department of the Technical University, the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science at the "Babes-Bolyai" University, the Faculty of Mechanics, and the University of Chisinau, Moldavia.
- TOEFL Express Program
Since September 1995 the foundation has helped its Software Engineering Library's readers to apply for the TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) and the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) through its TOEFL Express Program. TOEFL, GRE, GMAT booklets and application forms can be found at the Foundation's Library, together with tapes, video-tapes and sample tests. Library staff facilitates the submission and application fees for first-time applicants and applicants who need to update their scores.
- Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Romanian Commission
PTF became active in a number of Center for Strategic and International Studies Romanian activities in Eastern Europe:
* The initial outgrowth of PTF’s involvement in CSIS was to help create a CSIS Commission in Romania. Spearheading the Romanian Commission’s creation involved PTF representatives meeting with major US companies in New York City to lay the groundwork for the commission and a multi-year program of growing cooperation with Romania.
* Among its achievements, the Romanian Commission, which included President Constantinescu and former Secretary of Defense William Perry as the commission members, laid out an approach for micro-financing as source of business growth and after a three-year study presented to the Romanian government their recommendations in a variety of areas, to include the adoption of a standard international business accounting system.
* In 1999, PTF was invited to provide a representative to a roundtable session in Romania (also attended by former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry) with countries from across South East Europe to develop a future vision for the security of this region.
- Romanian Charitable Projects
PTF has provided funding to a variety of Romanian charitable projects, including:
* Through International Research and Exchange Board (IREX), PTF provided seed funding for the Gates Foundation project in Romania
* Funded a Clinitek urine analysis unit to Panduri Hospital
* Sponsored and funded a Romania Software Trade Mission to Washington, DC
* Provided funding toward Margareta Paslaru’s charity actions
* Provided support and funding to King Michael’s Good Will Ambassador activities for admission of Romania into the EC
* Provided donations to hospitals in Bucharest and Cluj, orphanages in Cluj, and to monasteries in Neamt and Baisoara
- Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Polish Commission
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) was becoming active in the fledgling democracies of the Eastern Bloc at the same time as People Technology Foundation.
* Based on the foundation’s growing presence in Romania, CSIS invited its representation in Poland to offer insights into technologies, business plans, and structures that Poles were ready to assimilate.
* CSIS gave PTF membership representation when a commission was formed in Poland. The CSIS Poland Commission, at that time led by former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and including French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde (then Chair of Baker and McKenzie law firm), looked to PTF for expertise in technology. This expertise was timely, as Poland joined NATO, began examining a new fighter aircraft, and initiated deepening cooperation with the US in R&D.
* The foundation was involved in meetings with the new Prime Minister, Lezek Miller and several of the ministers of that new government, providing an essential voice for high tech businesses as improvements were introduced in areas such as labor policy, intellectual property, and infrastructure improvement.
* PTF was represented at a roundtable convened by former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and former NATO Ambassador Robert Hunter to assess the framework for security and stability for the renewed NATO of 2001.
- International Research and Exchange Board (IREX) "Internet Age Conference"
People Technology Foundation, which was actively partnering on International Research and Exchange Board programs in Romania, also took an active role in and helped sponsor other IREX initiatives, including the highly successful "Internet Age Conference," which had US Congressional representation, that IREX held in Moscow.
- International Research and Exchange Board (IREX) Meeting
People Technology Foundation, which has worked with the International Research and Exchange Board (IREX), for over a decade, participated in talks in Belgrade in 2010.
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