Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) have a profound effect on society and the world. They fuel the knowledge economy and create possibilities, innovation and sustainable economic empowerment. We only advance as a society, as a planet, as businesses and as governments when all people can reap the full benefits of technologies as an enabling tool for development.
Over the last few decades, there has been massive growth in technological development and opportunities that have continued to transform people’s lives. The benefits of access to ICTs can be found across all major sectors. For young people, access to information means better access to education, capital, markets and training needed to pursue a career; increased participation in political processes, and recognition of youth as responsible citizens in today’s and tomorrow’s societies. Technologies– specifically ICTs – have played a central role in young people’s rise to prominence on a global scale. Access to ICTs have helped them mobilize and collaborate and given them a voice where there was none before. It has brought them together in response to social concerns. It has connected them across vast geo-political barriers and challenged them by pioneering the use of ICTs in various fields. ICT has also created provisions for governments at all levels to increase the efficiency of government operations and services by means of the internet while helping them develop new channels of communication to engage youth in creative and meaningful ways. These benefits offered by ICTs are however directly impacted by our ability to create and advance the necessary capabilities for their successful adoption and utilization. As such, it is important to appreciate that working models of ICT adoption must be customized and adapted to local environment to harmonize such efforts with all necessary relevant factors, such as ICT readiness levels, ICT strategies, ICT master plans, ICT usage and ICT impact, to achieve sustainable and sufficient development. Our hope is to bring together the next generation of digital innovators to reflect, discuss and share the global challenges of today and tomorrow and how ICTs can play a role in addressing those challenges.
We have decided to host the Summit on ICTs and related social innovation in the Middle East and North Africa’s region for several reasons. First of all, 30% from all the population of the region is young people. Secondly, many countries of the region have already adopted action plans declaring universal and affordable access to telecommunications and ICTs as an essential precondition for the world’s sustainable economic, social and cultural development, as well as transformation towards information society.
The Summit is designed to bring together governmental entities, media agencies, public administrations, religious institutions, universities, civil society, NGOs and of course, youth.
to provide a platform for youth as future leaders of the world that allows engaging in the discussion regarding the most pressing challenges that the world is facing
to bring together the brightest students, youth activists, leaders in the society, entrepreneurs, professors and businessmen/businesswomen to start a dialogue on global challenges of today and tomorrow and to create exact actions on the ways to solve them
What is the role of innovative technologies and ICTs in enabling youth participation?
What are the main determinants and characteristics of youth civic engagement through innovative technologies and ICTs?
What is the role of traditional innovation accelerators and incubators in an ICT connected world?
How ICTs and innovative technologies can be used to transform societies towards advanced sustainable future?
How can ICTs help with peer selection for global team development?
How do we encourage and resource the “ICT Social Pioneer”?
What role does online collaboration play in Social Innovation Knowledge Sharing?
Can a systemic approach be developed to accelerating social innovation using ICTs?
How can ICTs help build trust in the domain of social innovation and social entrepreneurship?
What are the basic building blocks of an ICT driven governance framework?
How do we bridge the “ICT Gap”?
We will try to answer these questions by focusing on the following topics
Education is a human right and drives sustainable development. Yet despite successes over recent decades, around 57 million children are still denied access to education. Too few students make the transition to secondary or tertiary education or to vocational training. And the number of adults who are illiterate has remained virtually unchanged over recent years.
Unfortunately, traditional models of education are not scalable. We simply cannot build enough schools or train enough teachers to meet the need. We require a new approach. One, which will remove the barriers to a quality learning experience and enable us to embed innovations that can be imparted to every child, regardless of location or economic status. The use of ICTs is best as a tool to support good teaching and quality learning. In crisis context, where teaching and learning are jeopardized or interrupted, and where learners are on the move, ICTs play a critical role. They have the potential to support, enhance, and enable education for the most marginalized, affected by war, natural disasters, and the rapid spread disease.
The Millennium Development Goals have already been a great success. On many measures, the lives of people have greatly improved over the past 15 years. 70% of developing countries have cut extreme poverty in half, child mortality has been reduced by 50% and less people are dying from infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and Malaria.
But there still is a lot to do. Maternal death might be near zero in high-income countries, but still 1,500 out of 100,000 women in developing countries die while giving birth, showing that there remains an enormous disparity between emerging and developed countries. Over 750 million people lack access to clean water, and women all over the world continue to face discrimination in access to work, economic assets and participation in private and public decision-making.
The improvement of quality education and environment is not the only SDG where ICT plays a major role. ICTs have already proved to play a fundamental role in the progress on gender equality, community empowerment, development of sustainable production and consumption patterns, protecting and promoting the sustainable use of ecosystems, improving water quality and ensuring healthy lives for everyone. But it is time to leverage the power of ICT to benefit all peoples – to end the isolation of the world’s most vulnerable, to give them a voice and opportunity to fully engage in the society in which they live, and to help them access the resources they need to live healthy, peaceful and prosperous lives.
ICTs have introduced a range of new capabilities for collaboration for shaping social change. The growth of platforms that leverage next generation communication, data sharing and application development has opened up new opportunities for bottom-up civic engagement across a range of ICT driven public services. The rise of socially-driven ICTs has sparked new social movements that now have the capacity to build collaborative networks at multi-scale levels, amplifying the impact of insurgent politics across a wide spectrum of socio-political environments. But it is important to ensure that these processes are sustainable and the sector has enough skills for the integration and adaptation of such technologies. Therefore, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Youth led organizations should become a critical player and help assure that ICT is used in a way that targets and addresses specific development goals and priorities. They should actively participate in global discussions and debates – and more importantly, influencing the international development agenda. As a result, there is a specific need to create awareness and educate CSOs and Youth led organizations about the potential of ICTs, how to get started and ultimately enhance the impact and outputs of their work.
Numerous researches demonstrate that the development of digital societies have the potential to help solve key challenges faced by contemporary world. These challenges range from access to essential services and enhanced disaster management to improvement in service delivery and the efficient utilization of limited resources. The research findings share common conclusions and recommendations on the potential of digital and mobile technology to advance national economies and markets, as well as overcome challenges arising from rapid population growth and increasing rural-urban migration.
With the rise of ICTs, a fundamental transformation has taken hold of the knowledge processes that define the operations of nearly every facet of contemporary life. With the development of high-speed mobile broadband technologies and the increasing availability and affordability of smartphones, mobile technology is well-suited to deliver the required connectivity and content for a digital society. Today’s wireless networks are able to cover a wide area with greater efficiency at lower costs than many other technologies, particularly in emerging countries with underdeveloped fixed network infrastructure and low levels of urbanization.
There is no question that ICTs have given a new voice to actors who had no access to services in the past and were often not even recognized as citizens. But the possibility that technology will shift towards progressive social and political organization does not happen as a matter of course. It goes hand in hand with community empowerment, the promotion of citizen values, and the development of a national conscience. Only in this case we can reach balanced and sustainable digital society – the society of the future.
ICTs can be significant tools to foster art and cultural exchanges, empower creative industries, aid cultural preservation and revitalization in indigenous communities and to promote intercultural dialogue.
It is estimated that indigenous peoples number some 350 million individuals (4% of humanity) representing over 5,000 languages and cultures in more than 70 countries on every continent. Many live on the fringes of society, in isolated rural communities and marginalized urban settings without access to ICT often lacking the necessary communication capacities to revitalize their cultural resources as a factor of intercultural dialogue. Safeguarding of indigenous cultures, their access to the means of expression and dissemination and the fostering of media pluralism have become an absolute imperative in the context of globalization, making it necessary for human diversity to take its place at the heart of cultural and communication policies for development.
In this context, ICTs are seen to have a crucial role in intercultural dialogue between cultures. With their ability to furnish almost instantaneous communication over vast geographic distances, they give a way of linking even the most remote people on the planet. With their multimedia graphical and sound capabilities, they allow the full expression of the visual and oral cultural practices of indigenous and other peoples.
The significance and role of mass media in the contemporary world have grown enormously with the development of new platforms for the distribution of information and new types of media. Massive technological change over the past decade has created new opportunities for freedom of expression and freedom of information. Information flows are now broad, diverse, reversible and accessible. ICT has ignited and provoked radical and drastic changes that has affected and revolutionized the broadcast industry, most especially in immediacy and timeliness of news. With Information and Communication Technology information spread, infinitely becomes faster and cheaper and readily available.
Moreover, in the developing world, ICTs and new media are used not only to frame people’s mindset but to aid development by providing an access to information that helps them make better decisions about their lives.
The event will include various activities such as
Debates and simulations
Networking and knowledge transfer sessions
Y2Y Action Hub contest for socially-beneficial ideas and initiatives
Development of solutions, scenarios and strategies of their implementation on the local level
by finding answers to the key questions, by exploring the topic from different perspectives, by sharing knowledge, best practices and unique experience, by connecting active youth with practitioners and experts, we want to build an integral atlas of opportunities and actions that will foster change and help to move forward to the sustainable tomorrow.
By providing participants of the Summit with a unique set of skills, necessary for their development as leaders and professionals in the field, we want to create a pool of competitive activists with a great potential for fostering the change, bringing innovation to the next level, popularizing ICTs and innovative social technologies, generally influencing the regulatory environment, creating new infrastructure and usage for ICTs and changing paradigm of solving global changes of today.