Last week I was at the Forbes 30/50 Women’s Summit with the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska. Throughout the week I had the great privilege of spending time with him and hearing him speak about the impact of a year of war on his country and his people, and while doing so I was overcome with emotion. Just over a year ago—just weeks after Russian troops launched the largest offensive in Europe since World War II—I visited the Polish-Ukrainian border and experienced the daily arrival of refugees, and the extraordinary response is already underway.
While over the course of the war, the world witnessed countless atrocities, we also saw the best of people and communities. In opposition to Russia’s unwarranted attacks, the Ukrainian people have shown the best of the human spirit, and they continue to meet the ongoing offensive with remarkable bravery and courage. President and First Lady Zelenska’s courage, compassion, and leadership have also fueled a global network of support, inspiring governments, NGOs, the private sector, and individuals everywhere to rally around the people of Ukraine.
During my visit to the region a year ago, I saw that refugees were met by a network of people committed to helping—making resources available, offering food, clothing, and safe places to stay. . Cisconians in Poland quickly opened their arms—and in some cases their homes—to colleagues from Ukraine, and our people around the world responded with financial support and volunteered time in relief efforts.
The dedication and generosity I witnessed during that visit and in the weeks that followed have not diminished over the years. We have mobilized technology support for government entities and critical infrastructure in Ukraine and Poland of approximately US $15M and will continue to do so as the war continues. Through the Cisco Foundation and matching funds donated by our employees, we have provided approximately US $8M in cash grants to NGOs such as UNHCR, UN World Food Programmeand International Rescue Committee, Norwegian Refugee Counciland Vispala. Cisco’s Crisis Response teams, supported by 50 volunteer employees, are working to complete 29 installations of critical technology in 6 countries in the region. And through Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration program Medibuseswe were able to offer medical services to around 6500 refugees in three cities across Germany.
Developing in-demand digital skills
The war has also shown us that we are more interconnected and interconnected than ever before, and that social and economic shocks continue to reverberate everywhere. Those displaced and affected by violence need support to stabilize, rebuild, and rebuild their lives, and our actions are focused on offering skills and tools to develop new educational opportunities and work as people find their footing in new homes. Through our Networking Academies, we offer programs designed to support Ukrainian refugees. The Start IT.Cisco4Ukraine program is a collaboration with the Cisco Networking Academy and the University of IT and Management in Rzeszow dedicated to supporting Ukrainian refugees in developing in-demand digital skills. More than 750 students have already benefited from the pilot program.
Cisco technology has always focused on connectivity, and the war only highlighted the enormous power that connectivity holds—for personal connection, education, job opportunities, and as critical infrastructure. As we look to the future, we will find new ways to support the resilience of the Ukrainian people and all affected communities. At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Cisco leaders met with Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister and Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, to commit to launching our Country Digital Acceleration program in Ukraine as a first step.
As we look back on the past year and its profound effects, we are moved by the strength of the Ukrainian people and their fight for their liberation. We are pleased with the cooperation of the public and private sectors, and the NGOs who work tirelessly on the ground. We at Cisco continue to stand as part of this network, and we have hope. We hope for a quick end to this war, and we hope for a future in which the people of Ukraine have the freedom to decide their own destiny, individually and collectively.
As First Lady Zelenska recently shared, “Today we do not commemorate a year of war, but we celebrate a year of resistance to aggression, a year of courage, a year of cooperation and saving each other, a year of humanity, and a year of friendship.”
Learn more about the people behind Talos’ efforts to protect Ukrainian
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