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October 2005 - ECDL Foundation Announces Winning Global ICDL Candidate

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‘ICDL Impacts Lives’ Award for Canadian Anne Mercer 

ECDL Foundation has announced the worldwide winner of the ECDL Foundation ‘ICDL Impacts Lives’ Award 2005 at a high-profile international Awards ceremony held in Zurich, Switzerland on October 12th 2005.

The Award, which was established to honour exceptional ICDL Candidates and to highlight the impact of ICDL certification on people’s lives, was presented to Canadian Anne Mercer in recognition of her personal achievement in attaining ICDL certification in difficult personal circumstances.

ECDL Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to bridging the digital divide by providing access for all to the Information Society and is the leading provider of end-user computer skills certifications worldwide. ECDL Foundation is the global governing body and licensing authority of the International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL), the internationally recognised standard for end-user computer skills. In addition to the ICDL, ECDL Foundation offers a range of internationally recognised certifications catering for every level of computer-use experience from complete beginners to expert end-users and users with specialised interests.
The ‘ICDL Impacts Lives’ competition was established to recognise and celebrate ICDL Candidates who have benefited from ICDL certification. National competitions were held by ECDL and ICDL Licensees around the world. Individual Candidates submitted entries describing the impact that ICDL has had on their lives.

The national winners were selected by ECDL and ICDL Licensees and then entered into the international competition for assessment by an independent panel of experts which included Don E. Detmer, MD MA, President and CEO of the American Medical Informatics Association; Professor Jane Grimson, Vice Provost, Trinity College, Ireland and Professor of Computer Science; Astrid Dufborg, Ambassador, Swedish Permanent Mission, and Special ICT Advisor to the United Nations; and Kurt Gladh, former Chairman and Director of ECDL Foundation's Board and ex CEO ECDL Sweden.

Anne Mercer was selected as global winner for the courage and pioneering spirit she showed in turning her life around and in achieving ICDL certification. Anne Mercer is one of the 16 homeless mothers who were among the first 30 people to achieve ICDL certification through the Woodgreen Community Services’ Homeward Bound Project in Toronto, Canada. All of the mothers on this programme are worthy candidates for this Award. These courageous women and their children came out of homeless shelters to start a new life through the innovative Homeward Bound programme. As part of that programme they achieved their ICDLs and then successfully moved through higher education to significant work placement.

Anne Mercer said, “My life has come full circle since I left the shelter and joined Homeward Bound. I was desperate for this opportunity so I said I knew lots about computers when I barely knew how to turn one on. I was not raised to believe in myself so I studied hard to pass every module with 86% or higher. Now my ICDL certificate proves that I am not useless; that I will be something. The ICDL course saved me in college too. It put me on a level playing field with other students who grew up with computers in their homes.”

The event was attended by Government Ministers, representatives from the United Nations, over 30 national Computer Societies, ECDL and ICDL Licensees representing 140 countries across the five continents and internationally respected thinkers on digital literacy. The event marked the inauguration of these prestigious Awards which will now become an annual international event.

Speaking at the Awards, ECDL Foundation's CEO Mr David Carpenter said, “We know that the ICDL has a profound effect on many people’s lives and this Award has been established to recognise and celebrate that fact. Our winning Candidate, Anne Mercer, is living proof of the ICDL ideal and shows that becoming certified opens doors and grants access to people who would otherwise be excluded from many areas of society. By achieving ICDL certification under difficult circumstances Anne has been able to turn her life around and put herself on an equal footing in the workplace with others. With this Award we honour Anne Mercer’s achievement and hope that it will serve as a testament to the many benefits of ICDL certification for Candidates in all circumstances around the world.”

More informations:
Marketing Department of ECDL Foundation
T: +353 1 630 6000