The initiative, which was recently launched in both Nigeria and Ghana, invites students enrolled at SA universities to represent Google for one academic year tenure on their respective campuses. Students will help promote the adoption, usage and localisation of Google’s products and create awareness about Google opportunities for the university community.
17 students have been selected from five SA universities to be Google ambassadors for 2011-2012 . These institutions include the University of Cape Town, University of the Free State, University of Pretoria, Rhodes University and the Vaal University of Technology. The chosen students come from various disciplines such as computer science, engineering and business and speak several South African languages.
Google will be running an orientation programme for the new ambassadors on 18th July and a half-day workshop focusing on Google applications for education on 19th July. In addition, on the 19th July, participants will attend ‘Google Engage’: a seminar focused on providing support for South African web professionals who offer services to SMBs.
“Google has selected a fantastic group of motivated and energetic South African students who are eager to follow in the footsteps of their fellow African ambassadors,” comments Luke Mckend, Country Manager, Google South Africa. “These young people understand the possibilities that the Internet presents for the continent and are dedicated to educating others about the web, as well as useful Google tools and services.”
Speaking about their appointment as Ambassadors the Google Ambassadors said:
“Serving as an Ambassador for Google will be an enormous privilege. The chance to be an integral part of Google’s outreach motivates me extensively, not only because it is a great platform to develop IT infrastructure in South Africa, but also because it will empower the people who wish to use this valuable resource.”
Francois van Greunen, undergraduate, Computer Science and Mathematics student at University of the Free State
“South Africa boasts a number of diverse cultures and languages. Google, as a company devoted to creating and encouraging the spread of locally relevant content on the Internet, is perfectly suited to complement the country’s unique environment. I look forward to assisting Google in its efforts to make the web more accessible and evermore valuable for South African users.”
Wanga Mbasa, undergraduate, Mechanical Engineering at University of Pretoria
“I am passionate about my country’s development and my university. I advocate the importance of evolving technology and admire how Google stays at the forefront of innovation. IT skills will allow people to empower themselves as they are given the tools to learn and create new things. There is definitely an opportunity to implement more extensive IT education in South Africa.”
Kirsten Eddey, undergraduate, Marketing at University of Cape Town