Leveling the Playing Field for Youth Using Technology in a Flat World
Youth and ICT as Agents of Change
There was an extraordinary conference held in Geneva, Switzerland.
At a Glance
Who? Youth, policy-makers, high-ranking government officials, representatives from the private sector and civil society, UN agencies and other stakeholders
What? Uniting agents for change in an open discussion on technology’s role in advancing people’s lives
Where? Geneva International Conference Centre, Geneva, Switzerland
When? September 24th – 26th, 2007
How? Co-hosted by the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
“Young people should be at the forefront of global change and innovation. Empowered, they can be key agents for development and peace. If, however, they are left on society’s margins, all of us will be impoverished. Let us ensure that all young people have every opportunity to participate fully in the lives of their societies.” – Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General
The conference used the collaborative communities of youth to let them participate in collaborative communication , in blogging and in the use of the
Taking It Global website.
The conference was formed to reach the youth of the world. There were preliminary events to this conference with an on line collaboration in the form of a blog, and a gathering of other participants in a pre-conference in New York City.
Imagine your classroom being the world, and think of the diversity of the youth whom they wish to serve. In an increasingly globalized world, the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the economic, social, cultural, political and individual spheres of life has dramatically transformed societies. Today, the role of young people in shaping their societies is becoming increasingly evident, particularly in terms of challenging the mores and practices that have redefined traditional concepts of social interaction, means of communication and participation, development of ideas, and involvement with issues of global significance.
The Forum aimed at actively engaging youth in debates and discussions with their peer representatives, policy makers, private sector, technology and thought leaders and others in exploring ways to empower the community and to participate more fully in society through the appropriate and responsible use of ICT.
Youth were involved in creating the event. This project was also supported by Taking It Global. http://www.takingitglobal.org/
The Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) organized a Global Forum on Youth and ICT for Development: Youth and ICT as Agents of Change, that helped harness the creativity and dynamism that the youth has in exploring and exploiting ICT for their own benefit and for the benefit of their peers and communities in advancement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). You may not know the Millennium Development Goals. All of the countries of the world participated in forming these goals.
What are the Millennium Development Goals?
The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 – form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest.
The goals, simply stated are:
To eradicate extreme poverty, and hunger
To achieve universal primary education
To promote gender equality, and empower women
To reduce child mortality
To improve maternal health
To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
To ensure environmental sustainability
To develop a global partnership for development
It is today that we create the world of the future.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Information and communications technologies have a central role to play in the quest for development, dignity and peace.” – Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General
There were some glitches in the conference. One simply being that such a diverse group of youth was impatient to get on with the work. The speeches and the introduction to projects probably was not the focus of their attention. After speech after speech they railed. They were anxious to share in the marketplace, to thrash out ideas, and to explore the uses of technology. In the end they let their concerns be known. They did not want speeches, but action. And action they got. They revised the conference and began to work in the committees to define their goals, and ambitions for the use of technology. They were a little impatient even with the funders. In a world in which youth are asked to participate their interest, their wish to collaborate, their action items, seemed to be slipping away as speeches dragged on. Today’s youth, worldwide are excited about the use of ICT. Three days seemed too short a time for them to work.
They responded to questions posed
What are the barriers to ICT?
What does ICT mean to you?
What Youth and Adult partners work?
Is there an age limit with ICT?
Are there problems with language and ICT
Much was accomplished. This was only a beginning but an auspicious beginning it was.
Their responses will be shared and the results will be on the wiki for the event.
Bonnie Bracey ( not a youth , but a thought leader)