To coincide with the recent publication of Tim Unwin’s new book entitled Reclaiming Information and Communication Technologies for Development (Oxford University Press, 2017), the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D is convening a workshop on Friday 16th June at the 2017 WSIS Forum being held in Geneva. The key premise of the workshop is that the global spread of ICTs has increased inequality, and that the poorest and most marginalised have therefore failed sufficiently to benefit. The workshop will explore whether the continued focus on the ways through which ICTs can contribute to economic growth will inevitably lead to ever increasing, and dangerous, inequality, and will make recommendations as to how different stakeholders can best ensure that the poorest and most marginalised can indeed benefit from their use.
It will begin with short (5 minute) perspectives from some amazing people (listed in alphabetical order of first names):
- Alex Wong (Head, Global Challenge Partnerships & Member of the Executive Committee; Head of the Future of the Internet Global Challenge Initiative, World Economic Forum) on The power of partnership
- Dr. Bushra Hassan (School of Psychology, University of Sussex) on The wisdom of marginalised women
- Charlotte Smart (Digital Policy and Programme Manager, Department for International Development, UK) on The delivery of donors
- Michael Kende (Senior Advisor, Analysis Mason, and former Chief Economist of the Internet Society) on The trust in technology
- Nigel Hickson (VP IGO Engagement, ICANN) on The design of the domain name system
- Torbjörn Fredrikson (Head of ICT Analysis Section of the Division on Technology and Logistics, UNCTAD) on The energy of entrepreneurship
Following these short, and undoubtedly provocative, presentations there will be an open discussion focusing on participants’ thoughts as to what are the most important priorities for action that different stakeholders must take so that the poorest and most marginalised people and communities can indeed be empowered through the use of ICTs.
The workshop is open to everyone with interests in ways through which ICTs can indeed benefit poor people, and there will also be an opportunity after the workshop for participants to purchase copies of Reclaiming Information and Communication Technologies for Development at a 40% reduction from list price.
We very much look forward to seeing you in Geneva at the 2017 WSIS Forum.
Members of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D participated in the ITU’s World Radiocommunication Seminar 2016 (WRS-16) held in Geneva from 12th-16th December 2016. This provided an excellent opportunity to gain detailed updated information on both terrestrial and space services, covering technical and regulatory issues including publications, databases and tools for countries to use in managing radiocommunications.
It also enabled us to engage in the kick-off meeting of the Network of Women (NOW) for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) held on 13th December, during which the Chairholder contributed to the panel discussion, speaking on:
- the big picture of women in the ICT/radiocommunication sector;
- how to encourage women to take ownership of the group; and
- the role that ITU should play in supporting this type of action.
As well as participating in the formal aspects of WRS-16 this was also an excellent opportunity to engage with national delegations and participants, especially from Pakistan and Kenya, as well as officials and friends in the ITU to discuss how the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D can further contribute to the ITU’s activities.
The UNESCO Chair in ICT4D featured prominently at the ITU’s Telecom World 2016 held in Bangkok from 13th-17th November, and was a partner of the ITU’s parallel Kaleidoscope academic conference held on the theme of ICTs for a Sustainable World. Three PhD alumni took an active part in the event: Salma Abbasi (Chairperson and CEO of the e Worldwide Group) who participated especially in connection with her ongoing work on ICTs for development in Nigeria; Sammia Poveda (UNU Computing and Society), who represented UNU-CS primarily in several gender-related events, especially the EQUALS working meeting and the joint session on the gender dimension in international standardization; and Caitlin Bentley (Research Associate at the Singapore Internet Research Centre at Nanyang Technological University) who represented both her present Centre and the UNESCO Chair at Kaleidoscope.
Other activities where the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D was represented included:
- The ITU Secretary General’s consultation with academia on 13th November, which considered the possible launch of a new ITU journal, an advisory board of academia to the Secretary General, and a platform to strengthen cooperation between the ITU and academia (the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D’s written contributions)
- The m-Powering Development Advisory Board meeting held on 13th November
This was a great opportunity for colleagues in the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D to engage in discussions with those in government, the private sector, civil society and international organisations and to influence policy on ways through which ICTs can contribute to development, especially for some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised. We are most grateful to colleagues at the ITU for making this possible, and for inviting our participation at ITU Telecom World 2016.
Thanks to the ITU’s official photographer for most of the above images!
The UNESCO Chair in ICT4D has recently become a partner of ITU’s Kaleidoscope academic conference which will be held in Bangkok on 14-16 November 2016 on the theme of ICTs for Sustainable Development. We look forward to participating actively in this event, and contributing to the ITU’s academic research endeavours.