SOURCE: Polycom, Inc.

Polycom, Inc.

September 25, 2009 08:30 ET

O'ia-da International Teams With Polycom to Promote Appreciation and Understanding of African Cultures and History

O'ia-da Celebrates the Grand Opening of Its Telepresence-Based Akoma Ntoso Cultural Center

CAPE COAST, GHANA and NEWARK, NJ and PLEASANTON, CA--(Marketwire - September 25, 2009) - O'ia-da International Inc., whose goal is to improve the social, economic and environmental conditions of the people of Ghana, has teamed with Polycom, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCM), the global leader in telepresence, video and voice communications solutions, to offer telepresence capabilities within its innovative center for cultural understanding and appreciation. O'ia-da is celebrating the grand opening of its Akoma Ntoso Cultural Center (ANCC), located at 191 Central Ave. in Newark at 1 p.m. Eastern time, Saturday, Oct. 3rd.

The ANCC grand opening will feature a live telepresence link to its sister center located in Cape Coast, Ghana, where Vice President of Ghana John Dramani Mahama will deliver a welcome speech followed by live cultural performances from local artists. The center provides programs and services that encourage the appreciation of African cultures and history, emphasizing the ways African culture intersects, overlaps, and complements all people and all nations the world over. O'ia-da's primary goal in forming the ANCC is to link residents of the U.S. and Ghana via the ANCC's telepresence communications center.

O'ia-da's ANCC serves as a foundation for a nationwide network of students, residents, academicians and professionals concerned with connecting or reconnecting with the African people, ultimately bridging the gap between the U.S., Africa and the rest of the world. By utilizing Polycom's telepresence technologies, communities can meet face-to-face, bridging the distance between different nations and the cultural barriers and misconceptions that separate them.

Ghanaian Ambassador to the U.S. Leslie Kojo Christian stated, "I am pleased to offer my heartfelt support of O'ia-da International's Akoma Ntoso Cultural Center. By supporting this project, O'ia-da will enhance the quality of life for children worldwide by enabling them to communicate face to face thus bridging the gap between different cultures."

In a letter to O'ia-da, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine stated, "The ANCC has identified a critical mission -- to create a channel of direct communication between students in the United States with their counterparts in Ghana. By interacting via telepresence equipment, our young people will gain an appreciation for African cultures and history, recognizing the common bonds that unite humanity.

"The ANCC has developed an innovative method to implement New Jersey's Amistad legislation, enriching our students' understanding of African heritage," he added. "I would also like to applaud Polycom, Inc. for donating the technological equipment that enables the ANCC to accomplish its mission. Because of its generosity, New Jersey's students will experience Africa's rich and vibrant cultures like never before."

The ANCC will connect students from around the world using Polycom® HDX™ 8000 series room telepresence systems in its Newark center as well as the ANCC location in Ghana. The cultural center is also using a Polycom Converged Management Application™ (CMA™) 4000 server to centrally manage and deploy its visual communication solution. Additionally, they can easily expand their video network and link to other educational and cultural facilities around the world using the Polycom CMA Desktop video conferencing application for personal computers and laptops. The Polycom solution also helps extend the benefit of live events for ongoing education opportunities by allowing ANCC to record, archive and stream educational sessions using the Polycom RSS™ 2000 recording and streaming server.

O'ia-da is also working with the American Institute of History Education (AIHE) to serve as a venue for the Amistad Commission. It's O'ia-da's goal to support the efforts of integrating the history and contributions of African-Americans and the descendants of the African Diaspora. As part of the program, students will experience the African slave trade from the other side of the sea -- by taking a "live" virtual tour of the slave castles of Ghana's Gold Coast. They will participate in roundtable discussions via telepresence with students from countries and islands involved in the transatlantic slave trade such as Brazil, Barbados, Europe, etc. The ANCC complements AIHE's curriculum by bringing history to "life."

"Each year O'ia-da continues to advance its mission of sharing the rich history and heritage of Africa through cultural awareness to all people," said Sherin Covington, COO of O'ia-da International. "On behalf of O'ia-da, I would like to thank Polycom for its generous donation of telepresence equipment to the ANCC. Polycom's commitment to distance learning and support of cultural understanding between African and U.S. students is deeply and sincerely appreciated."

"Our executive team was very impressed with O'ia-da's ANCC project. We strongly believe in the power of visual communication and the role it plays in building powerful relationships," said Bob Hagerty, chairman and CEO of Polycom. "We're delighted to help O'ia-da connect people, and remove the barrier of distance to enhance cultural understanding among a number of communities. We're honored to be a part of O'ia-da's ANCC program."

About O'ia-da International Inc.

O'ia-da International Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c) (3) organization whose goal is to improve the social, economic and environmental conditions of the people of Ghana, Africa through education, healthcare, cooperative economics and community development. Since 1997, we have been able to empower the people in the villages by showing them how their land and resources can more than supply them with food, clothing and other amenities.

About Polycom

Polycom, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCM) is the global leader in telepresence, video, and voice solutions and a visionary in communications that empower people to connect and collaborate everywhere. Visit for more information and follow us on Twitter @AllAboutPolycom.

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