You are holding a copy of the Annual Report for Fundación Telefónica 2008, a summary of our projects in various countries –Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Mexico and Venezuela. Through the application of information and communications technologies, we are working to improve people’s quality of life and to promote equal opportunities for all.
Fundación Telefónica is strongly committed to the Knowledge Society and to research and development into new communications tools. However, we recognize that knowledge is a composite of experience, human values and the will to transmit these.We are also aware that our work is made possible by our close involvement in cutting-edge technology, an area whose advances allow for greater social equality. Nevertheless, social burdens still exist in many places across the globe. Precisely for this reason, Fundación Telefónica has been focusing its social commitment on eradicating these problems and alleviating those who suffer because of them.
Our clear vocation is manifested many ways: in the use of ICT in classrooms, in the schooling of children who previously were forced to work, in encouraging Telefónica staff to volunteer at various NGOs, and in the public dissemination of our artistic, cultural, historical and technological collections. The guiding principle behind this is one we are very comfortable with – education. Every small achievement in this area renews our conviction about the efficacy of what we do. We are confident that Fundación Telefónica plays a useful role in helping numerous communities and countries escape from hardship. Such dramatic problems are usually the result of economic and political circumstances, which at the same time hamper development.
As mentioned, we believe education is essential in order to tackle these challenges effectively. Indeed, we have made it our highest priority. Due to our corporate history and experience in the field of telecommunications, Fundación Telefónica has decided to engage in a social dialogue regarding the use of ICT, through our five central programs: EducaRed, Proniño, Telefónica Volunteers, Debate and Knowledge, and Art and Technology. EducRed is a leading program in Spain and Latin America for applying ICT to schools, working in cooperation with all elements of the educational community; Proniño brings us into close contact with Latin American children and adolescents who work instead of going to school. In 2008, the program successfully redirected 107,000 minors back into school in three Latin American countries. A good deal of this success is owed to the efforts of Telefónica Volunteers, a corporate volunteer program whose membership expanded in 2008 to more than 21,000 participating employees.
The idea of technology merging with general society has been given a convenient boost by the creation of social networks. Fundación Telefónica is beginning to work with these, not only as a stakeholder, but also through research projects that study their enormous potential, such as those sponsored by the Debate and Knowledge program. The burgeoning reality of social networks was one of the topics analyzed in several studies and lecture series organized by this program. In the short term, these new realities will change the way we relate to others and to our surroundings, creating new collective notions about the important role of telecommunications technologies. We strongly favor this and act as permanent advocates of the uses of ICT. Another goal of Fundación Telefónica is to stimulate interconnection between the visual arts and new technological tools and formats, exemplified by VIDA, an international competition and one of the many art events sponsored by Art and Technology.
With firm commitment, our principal goal is to help solidify these values and shape them into something tangible. We do so through a pragmatic regrouping of resources at the local, regional and intercontinental levels. From the outset, we have adopted a strong stance in favor of a socio-educational dialogue between Europe and Latin America, one that we intend to maintain. Clearly, there are just as many logical arguments for the advancement of cultural enrichment and social well-being as there are for the economic development of nations.
Our achievements (both large and small) have been formally recognized in various ways, among them, the Gold Medal of Merit in Fine Arts from the Spanish government. Such achievements demonstrate the importance of being closely linked to society. Telefónica’s broad capabilities and areas of professional focus must be directed, unquestionably, towards continuing this work.We see ourselves as parties to a tacit agreement with society; our role is to build a world more grounded on mutual respect, safety, welfare, fundamental rights and education. Proper development of all countries rests on this solid foundation, since it is the only means which can offer individuals the keys to their own future.
We are firmly committed to doing everything within our power to help open doors that still remain closed for many. Our knowledge base and resources will be put to continual use in our unyielding quest to reach the goals we have set, the same goals shared by each society and country in which Fundación Telefónica operates.
César Alierta Izuel
iChairman of Fundación Telefónica