His Royal Highness, The Duke of York, will open the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum 2007, which takes place in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday, 30 and 31 January. The Duke of York is the UK’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment.
Delegates will gather to consider a range of 21st century challenges. These include how to engage 21st century citizens in governance issues, how European governments can respond to the demands of globalisation by unlocking the potential of their citizens, and how economies can be grown when the public and private sectors work together.
The aim is for government and academic delegates to formulate successful strategies in key areas relating to connected government, digital learning, employability skills and the transition to the knowledge economy.
Presiding Officer, the Rt Hon George Reid MSP, said:
"This is the first time the conference has come to the UK, and has taken place in the live context of a working legislature such as ours in Scotland. I look forward to welcoming The Duke of York to this meeting of key decision-makers. Scotland, with its tradition of enlightened engagement, is a natural location for this event, which adds considerably to our reputation as a modern, Parliament offering a forum for innovative political discussion.
"Speakers at the Government Leaders Forum in Lisbon a year ago clearly saw Holyrood as a model of participative governance, working closely — through petitions, extensive consultation and cross-party groups — with the people we represent.
"The presence of so many leaders from around the world, from both the public and private sectors, promises a Holyrood Forum of international interest and importance.”
Other leading international figures to attend the forum include Rt. Hon. Jack McConnell MSP, First Minister of Scotland, Danuta Hübner, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, and Mr Wim Kok, the former Prime Minister of the Netherlands.
Microsoft will be represented at the forum by several senior Microsoft executives including Jean-Phillippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International, and Gerri Elliott, corporate vice-president for Worldwide Public Sector.
The Microsoft Government Leaders Forum is one of Microsoft’s flagship events for government, parliamentarians, education and business leaders, and is being supported by a partnership of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Executive.
This is the first time that the Global Leaders Forum has taken place in the United K ingdom – previously, it was held in Lisbon (2006), Prague (2005) and Rome (2004).
As the UK’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, The Duke of York, is responsible for promoting the UK as an attractive business destination for inward investors. He is also responsible for helping British business to improve its prospects in international markets and for improving opportunities for UK companies wishing to expand their export potential.