The Youth Forum, sponsored by the state of Geneva and the ITU, brings together students with the vision and talent to take on key leadership roles in the future within the global information and communication technology (ICT) sector.
“Once young people are equipped with information and know-how, they will be able to use their ingenuity and resourcefulness to develop their potential. Helping them to realize their personal goals through ICTs will also drive their country’s socio-economic development,” said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Tour.
During the course of the ITU TELECOM WORLD event, Youth Forum Fellows (participants) will follow a packed programme of discussion and debate, with opportunities to interact and develop mentor relationships with senior members of the ICT sector – government officials, industry executives, technology leaders, content providers and strategists. Fellows will elect their own leadership and, as a culmination to the week, will draft and present a Declaration and Action Plan conveying their global vision for expanding the benefits of ICT. Additionally, they will also have the opportunity to involve themselves in the main ITU TELECOM WORLD 2009 event, learning about the array of new technologies on display on the show floor as well as taking part in key sessions of the Forum programme.
This year’s Youth Forum Fellows have been selected on the basis of their written responses to the question, “What is the biggest problem facing your community and how would you use ICT to solve it?” The essay submissions discussed a broad range of topics – from ICT’s role in tackling child slavery, the spread of disease, famine and drought, to innovative applications of mobile, GPS and virtual technologies that can improve transport systems, manufacturing processes, health services and education. One of the key issues under discussion this year will be how public-private partnerships can promote school connectivity.
“ICT has already proven its ability to transform the way we do business,” said one Youth Forum 2009 Fellow. “It also has the ability to provide the crucial infrastructure and capability required to revolutionize the way we deliver education to all communities.”
The Youth Forum initiative – which many Fellows proclaim to be a life-changing experience – was first launched at ITU TELECOM AFRICA 2001 and has since been a regular and valued part of ITU TELECOM events.
“As the Youth Forum enhances synergies between governments, the private sector, universities and other higher institutions of learning, we are building a commitment among young people to work for development – and giving them the skills and contacts they need to be effective in this work,” said Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. “The programme is designed not only to provide an enlightening and exciting five days at ITU TELECOM, but to engender and support proactive developmental activities in communities throughout the world. We consider our investment in the Youth Forum to be crucial for future innovation and development in our sector – and the fact that many of our Youth Forum alumni have gone on to work in the field of telecommunications is demonstrative of the programme’s worth.”
ITU is pleased to announce that Cisco Systems, the Internet Society and Nokia Siemens, along with ITU’s own Radiocommunication, Standardization and Development Sectors, will generously sponsor lunch sessions for Youth Forum Fellows.