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LONDON -- Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft Corp., made the following statement on receiving an honorary knighthood from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II today:
"I am humbled and delighted. I’m particularly pleased that this honour helps recognise the real heroes our foundation supports to improve health in poor countries. Their incredible work is helping ensure that one day all people — no matter where they are born — will have the same opportunity for a healthy life, and I’m grateful to share this honour with them.
“This honour is particularly poignant given the deep connections Microsoft enjoys with the United Kingdom. Over the past 23 years we have benefited greatly from strong business alliances and the tremendous wealth of talent and creativity of our UK employees and researchers. The UK was the first country in which Microsoft set up a subsidiary outside the US, and our experience in the UK has been significant in shaping our international growth. The companies and organisations that we have supported and partnered with since, and their employees, have been an important part of the positive impact technology has had on economic growth and on the lives of people in the UK. I am proud of this special relationship and the role we have helped to play in the development of the UK technology industry.”
According to the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the honorary knighthood recognizes Gates’ contributions to improving health and reducing poverty in parts of the Commonwealth and elsewhere in the developing world. Gates also was recognized for his contribution to enterprise, employment, education and the voluntary sector in the United Kingdom.
Microsoft employs nearly 2,000 people in the United Kingdom. The company also supports a strong ecosystem of 17,000 partner businesses that have helped spur technology growth and adaptation in the UK economy. In addition, Microsoft Research Cambridge was Microsoft’s first research laboratory to be established outside the United States. The lab was set up in July 1997 and today employs 80 world-class researchers.
Her Majesty conferred the honour in a private ceremony held at Buckingham Palace. Gates was accompanied by his wife, Melinda Gates, co-founder of the foundation.
Later in the day, Gates will speak on a panel at the Wellcome Trust titled “Global Health: Putting Science to Work for the Developing World.” The panel will focus on innovative approaches to increasing research on diseases of the developing world, including strategies to engage private industry in global health research.
About Microsoft Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.
About Honorary Knighthoods Honorary knighthoods are awarded by the Queen, on the advice of the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, to those who have made an important contribution to British interests.
Previous US citizens receiving honorary knighthoods include former US presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, and entertainer Bob Hope.
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