The session was moderated by Dr Naila Siddiqui Kamal (Senior Lecturer, Imperial College School of Medicine, London) and discussed the topic of knowledge societies, capacity-building, e-learning, and media.
Mr David Scicluna (President of AIESEC, the International Association of Students in Economics and Management) talked about the skills needed for youth in a world of technological development, arguing that recent technological advancement is not an addition but an extension to life. Speaking from a youth perspective, he argued that while young generations feel equipped with technical skills, they tend to lack certain interpersonal ones that need to be part of the training. As youth, they need opportunities to make the world better. He stressed that a key element in developing that is learning by doing, concluding that youth no longer need a voice, but rather an opportunity to create a better future.
Mr AHM Bazlur Rahman (CEO of Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio & Communication) explained that the topics of discussion in the panel are key elements for benefiting from the digital economy. Explaining the work of his organisation, he said that community media development should work to create an inclusive knowledge society in poor and rural areas as a crucial factor for protecting the human rights of rural people. In addition, elements that should be fostered are freedom of expression, addressing linguistic differences, gender equality, and media information and data literacy.
Mr Sungnam Choi (Program Director at CEABAD, Center for Advanced Studies in Broadband Internet for Development) talked about the challenges in managing and designing the context for e-learning platforms, in order to deliver content in an effective and efficient way. Focusing on the Central America region, he explained that the main challenge in the delivery of eLearning programs is connected to infrastructure.
Ms Valentina Di Felice (Head of Impact and Learning at The Womanity Foundation) explained the work that the organisation is doing in Afghanistan in offerening programmes to provide quality education and to encourage the youth to undertake professional and academic careers in the tech sector. With the goal of growing confidence and interest in the topic, the panellist explained that the main challenges relate to security and in creating universal access.
Dr Hadi Shahriar Shahhoseini [Vice Chancellor for International Affairs and Director of Research Center for ICT Strategic and International Studies (ICT-SIS), Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST)] underlined that emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and big data play a crucial role in the future of the knowledge society. In this regard, he argued that there is a need for creating more collaborative networks able to face these challenges in a more holistic way.
Mr Leonard Doyle (Head of Media and Communications, Chief Spokesperson, IOM) explained how notions of eLearning, mobility, and media are interlinked. He explained that irregular migration is growing and that social media is having a negative influence on the phenomenon. As he explained, migrants can easily be approached by smugglers through such platforms. As a result, when the topic of discussion is eLearning in terms of digital media, there is a crucial need to ensure that the learning is the right learning. Therefore, it is important to reinforce civic media, curated media, and peer-to-peer communication.
Mr Norbert Bollow (Co-convenor, Just Net Coalition) addressed the topic of how to make technologies trustworthy. He explained that the first variable has to come from real political will; to do this, it must be real. In addition, there is a need build capacity to deal with the complexity of the information societies. Society, too, has a responsibility in shaping how technology is developed and used.
Dr Subrata Roy Gupta (Principal Scientist, National Informatics Center WBSC, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, India) explained how ICT has the power to transform economies. He explained that knowledge and information have a remarkable role to play in transforming societies and the economy, and should be based on pillars such as freedom of expression, universal access to education, quality education, cultural and linguistic differences, as well as on the creation of digital infrastructures and capacity building.
Finally, additional remarks were expressed recalling the need for policymakers to become curators of project-based approaches that resonate with the younger generations.
By Stefania Grottola