First Lady of Colombia to Distribute Microsoft Encarta 99 to Schools and Libraries Throughout the Country

Santaf de Bogot, COLOMBIA, December 21,1998 — Speaking at the recent launch of Microsoft Encarta 99 in Colombia, First Lady Nhora Puyana De Pastrana discussed the advancement of civilization in the age of technology, and the importance of computers in education and to the country’s future development. She also accepted 60 copies of Encarta 99 to be distributed to schools and libraries throughout Colombia.

“To us who were lucky to live in the second half of the 20th century, we have had the opportunity to witness one of the most exciting stages of history,” she said in a speech to the media and educators last month. “Somebody stated accurately that in less than 150 years technology has developed more than in the previous 5,000 years. Precisely, one of those developments is aimed to change the life of the people of this planet, and may be the most important of all–the computer.”

The First Lady called education a “fundamental concern” and one of the main objectives of the Colombian government. “We are absolutely convinced that the only instrument that will allow us to separate poverty from underdevelopment is education, and the battle against backwardness has to be fought in schools and universities,” she said. “Those who are not able to have access to science and technology will be condemned in the future to remain at the edge of the universal progress, because every day it is evident that richness is not buried in the ground but in the minds of students.”

Encarta Encyclopedia, the world’s number one selling encyclopedia for the fifth straight year, delivers a unique mix of authoritative content, engaging technology and innovative education tools to create a powerful learning resource. With the 1999 edition, Encarta Encyclopedia further extends its lead with a ground-breaking, new interface that makes it easy to seamlessly move among the detailed encyclopedia articles, original source documents, editorially selected Web sites and engaging multimedia that have made Encarta Encyclopedia popular among users. Microsoft launched the U.S. English and World English editions of Encarta Encyclopedia 99 in August. The product is also available in Spanish, Brazilian, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Dutch.

“Education is the most important use of technology in Colombia,” said Jose Luis Rodriquez, General Manager Microsoft Colombia. “We’re proud that the value of Encarta, in terms of getting and keeping students excited about learning, and bringing dynamic and interesting information to people’s fingertips, is recognized by our First Lady and educators in Colombia. As a company, we are committed to contributing to the long-term success of education in Colombia, and we see Encarta 99 as an important step in that direction.”

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