Saturday, October 5th marked World Teachers’ Day, an annualimages


established by UNESCO in 1997 to highlight the accomplishments of educators and the serious challenges they face. According to UNESCO, 29 countries won’t have enough teachers by 2030 unless 3.3 million primary and 5.1 million secondary teaching positions are created and filled. These significant gaps threaten progress for all aspects of society and require all of us to redouble our efforts to reform education.

Here at Microsoft, through our education programs, people, technology, devices and


, we’re committed to those efforts 365 days a year. And if the response to our call for applications to the Microsoft Expert Educators and Mentor Schools programs is any indication, teachers and school leaders around the world are just as committed to the future of education. As of the September 30th application deadline, 22,000 educators from over 150 countries were engaged in those programs. I see this kind of response as a clear sign that education innovation is alive and well all over the globe.

I want to thank each and every one of the educators and school leaders


applied for these programs and a chance to join us in Barcelona from March 11 – 14, 2014. For me, the response was both humbling and


, and I cannot wait to see who will win!

We’re also thrilled to announce a new name for the event: the Microsoft in Education Global Forum. Formerly known as the Partners in Learning Global Forum, we wanted to fully emphasize how this unique event will represent the depth and scale of Microsoft’s commitment to education. And this new name signifies the exciting evolution of this year’s Global Forum.  Winning Expert Educators and Mentor Schools will experience the most impactful and biggest Global Forum ever with attendees from more than 80 countries, an expanded scope, and what we believe will be an even greater impact on education innovation around the globe.  We knew we had to “go bigger” based on what we’ve heard from  global education heroes and experts to address the big needs and opportunities we face in education. As we all know, education is the most effective agent of positive change and only our collective efforts will build a better future for our students. Throughout the year, we partner with all education stakeholders, helping people around the world to empower students through the meaningful use of technology, and allowing them to reach their full potential.