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Back | Programme Area: Technology and Society (2000 - 2009) | Event: Information Technologies and Social Development Conference

Information Technologies and Social Development Conference

List of Speakers

(in order of appearance)
Monday, 22 June 1998
Opening Session

Thandika Mkandawire, a Swedish national of Malawian origin, was named by the UN Secretary General to the post of UNRISD Director in December 1997. An economist, he was Executive Secretary of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) from 1986-1996. Mkandawire is on the editorial boards of a number of journals, including Global Governance, Development and Change, and Oxford Development Studies; and he also serves on the executive boards of the International Institute for Labour Studies and the Swedish NGO Fund for Human Rights. His books include “Social Movements, Social Transformation and Democratisation in Africa”; “Africa’s Recovery in the 1990s”; and “Structural Adjustment and Agrarian Crisis in Africa”.

Cynthia Hewitt de Alcántara is Deputy Director of UNRISD and co-ordinates the UNRISD programme on Information Technologies and Social Development. Before coming to UNRISD in 1986, she was a research professor at the Center for Sociological Studies of El Colegio de México, in Mexico City, and a consultant for a number of international agencies. Her books include Modernizing Mexican Agriculture (UNRISD and Siglo XXI); Anthropological Perspectives on Rural Mexico (Routledge and El Colegio de Mexico); Economic Restructuring and Rural Subsistence (University of California); Real Markets: Social and Political Issues of Food Policy Reform (Frank Cass); and Social Futures, Global Visions (Blackwell).

Session I. The social implications of new information and communication technologies in the developing world
Gertjan Storm is Deputy Director-General for International Co-operation, The Netherlands.

Manuel Castells, born in Spain in 1942, is Professor of Sociology, and Professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, since 1979. He has also been professor of sociology at the University of Paris, and professor and director of the Institute for Sociology of New Technologies at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, and research professor at the Higher Council for Scientific Research in Barcelona. Has been visiting professor at 15 universities in Latin America, Asia, Europe, and North America. He has received the Guggenheim Fellowship and the C.Wright Mills Award, and is a member of the European Academy. He has published 20 books in different languages. His most important, and recent work is the trilogy "The Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture", Oxford: Blackwell, 1996, 1997, 1998.

Jesús Banegas Núñez is President of the Asociación de Industrias Electrónicas (ANIEL), (Spanish Association of Electronics Industries), and Honorary President of the European Association of Telecommunications and Professional Electronics Industries (ECTEL). As General Manager of AMPER, S.A., Spain's leading industrial telecommunications and electronics group, and President and Vice-President of some of the group's companies, Mr. Banegas played a major role in negotiating the series of acquisitions and joint ventures with leading international corporations in the sector which led to the appearance of Spanish companies on the worldwide telecommunications scene. He is President of the Commission for the European Union of the Confederación Española de Organizaciones Empresariales (CEOE), (Confederation of Spanish Industry) and is also a member of the Spanish Government's Advisory Council on Telecommunications.

Hans d’Orville, a German national, is Director, Information Technologies for Development Programme in UNDP's Bureau for Development Policy. The principal objectives of this global programme are to raise awareness about the impact of the information revolution, to promote connectivity and access, to assist in capacity- and institution- building for a broad range of IT activities and to help generate content at the local level. The modality of electronic community centres/telecentres was chosen by UNDP as the principal mode of pursuing these objectives at the country and community levels. UNDP is also responsible for the Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP), another global project, and several regional programmes - including the Internet Initiative for Africe by the Regional Bureau for Africa and the Kuala Lumpur-based Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP) of the Regional Programme for Asia and the Pacific. Having joined the United Nations in 1975 and UNDP in 1982, Mr. d'Orville has served in a number of positions, among them as Executive Coordinator of the InterAction Council of former Heads of Governments. He holds an MA and PhD in economics.

Swasti Mitter is the Deputy Director of the United Nations University Institute for New Technologies, based at Maastricht in the Netherlands. Professor Mitter coordinates and conducts research on the implications of globalization, informatics, and telematics for women’s employment primarily in developing countries. Her current major project is on the challenges and opportunities of telework and teletrade for poorer countries and traditionally excluded groups. She was Chair of the Gender Advisory Board of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development and has worked for many international agencies, including the European Commission, ILO, UNIFEM and UNDP. She has published extensively in the areas of gender, technology and employment.

Session II. National information infrastructures and strategies: The policy context in Third World or transitional settings

Robin Mansell directs the Information, Networks & Knowledge (INK) research centre at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex. She has a PhD in communication economics and policy from Simon Fraser University, Canada (1984) and worked for the OECD Information, Computers and Communication Policy Division in Paris (1985-86) before joining SPRU in 1988. Her research focuses on the social, economic and political processes involved in technological innovation and the application of information and communication technologies in both industrialised and developing countries. She is a founding member of ENCIP (European Network for Communication and Information Perspectives), based in Montpellier; and a member of the UK Economic and Social Research Council 'Invisible College' of advisors on Geography, Economics and Politics. Most recently she has been a consultant to UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD) for whom she edited Knowledge Societies: Information Technology for Sustainable Development (Oxford University Press 1998). She is the author and editor of many books and scholarly papers including Communication by Design: The Politics of Information and Communication Technologies (Oxford University Press, 1996) with R. Silverstone and The New Telecommunications: A Political Economy of Network Evolution (Sage Publications 1993).

Mustafa Anuar is Associate Professor at the School of Communication, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia, and Research Associate at the Research and Education for Peace Unit, Universiti Sains Malaysia. His research interests are in the mass media, culture and information technology. His recent publications are: Francis Loh Kok Wah and Mustafa K. Anuar (1996), "The Press in Malaysia in the Early 1990s: Corporatisation, Technological Innovation and the Middle Class", in Muhammad Ikmail said & Zahid Emby (eds.), Malaysia: Critical Perspective. Petaling Jaya: Malaysian Social Science Association; Mustafa K. Anuar & Wang Lay Kim (1996), "Aspects of Ethnicity and Gender in Malaysian Television", in David French & Michael Richards (eds.) "Contemporary Television: Eastern Perspectives", New Delhi: Sage.

Zaharom Nain is Lecturer in Communications at the School of Communication, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Research Associate at the Research and Education for Peace Unit, Universiti Sains Malaysia. His research interests include the sociology of communications, communications and power and cultural studies. His recent publications include [i.] "Rhetoric and realities: Malaysian television policy in an era of globalisation" (1996) in Asian Journal of Communication, Vol. 6, No. 1, and [ii.] "The impact of the international marketplace on the organisation of Malaysian television" in D. French and M. Richards (eds.) (1996) "Contemporary Television: Eastern Perspectives," Sage: New Delhi. Like Mustafa, Zaharom is on the executive committee of the Malaysian social reform/human rights NGO ALIRAN.

Neil Butcher works at the South African Institute for Distance Education (SAIDE), where he is responsible for the organization's interventions in higher education, technology-enhanced learning, and planning and administration of education. He has worked extensively with the national Department of Education in the areas of distance education and technology-enhanced learning. He is also coordinating planning exercises for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), which will lead to the implementation of a school based educational broadcasting service, as well as services to support the provision of adult basic education and training . In addition, he is working with a large Internet Service Provider, M-Web, to support the implementation of a pilot project that will harness the power of Internet and satellite technologies to support the professional development of teachers in South Africa. Butcher also runs the Telematics for African Development Consortium, an information network designed to keep South Africans in touch with key initiatives taking place with respect to use of the Internet to support development initiatives.

Anders Wijkman is senior advisor on sustainable development at the Swedish Foreign Ministry. He is currently working on an ICT strategy for Swedish development cooperation. Prior to this position he held the posts of Assistant Secretary General at the United Nations and Assistant Administrator at UNDP as well as Director General of SAREC. He has also been a member of the Swedish Parliament and Secretary General of both the Swedish Red Cross and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Club of Rome.

Cees Hamelink is Professor of International Communication at the University of Amsterdam. He studied moral philosophy and psychology at the University of Amsterdam where he graduated in 1968 and obtained his PhD degree in 1975. Professor Hamelink is the editor-in-chief of the International Journal for Communication Studies -Gazette. He is also Honorary President of the International Association for Media and Communication Research. He has lectured worldwide, advised many governmental and non governmental institutions, published over 200 articles, edited six books and written twelve books on world communication, ICT, and human rights. Major publications are Cultural Autonomy in Global Communications (1983), Finance and Information (1983, The Technology Gamble (1988), The Politics of World Communication (1994) and World Communication (1995).

Tim Kelly is Head of Operations Analysis within the Strategic Planning Unit of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a post he has held since 1993. Before joining ITU he spent five years as a Communications Policy Analyst with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and three years with Logica Consultancy Ltd. He has an MA (Hons) degree in Geography and a Ph.D in industrial economics from Cambridge University. Over the last fifteen years, Kelly has specialised in the economics of the telecommunications industry. He is the co-author of a number of books on the subject including the ITU's annual "World Telecommunication Development Report", "Direction of Traffic" (1996), "African Telecommunication Indicators" (1998), "Challenges to the Network: Telecoms and the Internet" (1997), and "Performance indicators for public telecommunications operators" (1991).

Heather Budge-Reid is working with the Panos Institute in London. Founded in 1986, the Panos Institute raises awareness of neglected or poorly understood issues, and communicates the concerns of marginalized sectors of society. As well as catalysing debate on a national and regional level, Panos works to ensure that perspectives from developing countries reach the Northern public through the media

Tuesday, 23 June 1998
Session Three: Technological change and livelihood: Some local experiences

Kate Wild is Acting Director of the Acacia Initiative of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The Acacia Initiative is an international effort to empower sub-Saharan African communities with the ability to apply information and communication technologies to their own social and economic development

Scott Robinson is a social anthropologist and documentary film producer based in Mexico. He teaches at the Universidad Metropolitana (UAM), Iztapalapa campus, Mexico DF, where he has been a member of the Anthropology faculty since 1983. Prior to that he spent ten years as a free lance producer of documentary films. Since returning to academia, Robinson has studied issues of involuntary resettlement and, more recently, political participation in native communities at the edge of Mexico City. In 1994, he coordinated the creation of the Red de Información Rural, an Internet website designed to facilitate information access for small producer organizations throughout Mexico. This endeavor led to offering public access to the Internet in public libraries and other cultural institutions in the state of Michoacán, Mexico.

Syed Hashemi is Program Director of the Grameen Trust and Professor of Economics at Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka. He received a Doctorate in Economics from the University of California, Riverside in 1984. He has published widely on issues of poverty alleviation, the status of women in Bangladesh, and the role of NGOs in development.

Arnaud Ventura, of France, graduated as an engineer in Networking and Multimedia. After experiencing the first boom of the Internet in the Silicon Valley with the introduction of the Web, he worked on the creation of a Provider of Internet access for France and took part in the creation of the first Internet Provider in Thailand. Ventura also worked in different consulting missions in South East Asia. While he was in Buenos Aires (Argentina), working for the "Banque National de Paris", he started an initiative -NGO-NET- that aims at empowering East African NGOs with access to the Internet. He is currently working on the PlaNet Bank initiative. The PlaNet Bank is an international financial institution created on the Internet to deliver micro credit to projects aimed at poverty alleviation

Tom Baloyi is Director of the Soweto Technology Project. He is currently working in Soweto, North West, Kwazulu-Natal and Eastern Cape with the World Bank’s World Links for Development Programme

Colman Ferrer is a researcher at the Center for European Studies in Havana. He has worked on information technology issues, and has long experience in the field of development cooperation between the Nordic countries and African States. He lived and worked in Africa for many years.

Session IV. Information technology, democratization and social movements

Ann Florini is Resident Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. For the past year, she has directed the Endowment's Project on Governance and World Security, which explores the changing nature of security and the changing needs of global governance. Her monograph on the subject will be published in fall 1998 by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Starting in July 1998, she will direct a new project at the Endowment on "Transparency and Transnational Governance." Her publications include articles in Foreign Policy, International Security, and International Studies Quarterly, among others.

Rafal Rohozinski was born in Poland and educated in Canada and the United Kingdom. Since the early 1990s he has worked to broaden understanding of the nexus between the Information Revolution and development in theory and in practice. As “father” to the UN Internet Project in Ukraine and the first FreeNet east of the Elbe, he has consulted widely for UNDP in over 23 countries and three regions (Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific). He is a member of Trinity College, and a research scholar with the Global Security Programme at the University of Cambridge.

François Fortier is a consultant in information and communication technologies, who has worked for a number of NGOs and United Nations agencies. In 1997, he completed a doctorate from York University, Toronto, addressing the political economy of computer networking and civil society in a thesis entitled Civil Society Computer Networks. The Perilous Road of Cyber-politics. His current research focuses on grassroots strategies for the development of appropriate information technologies, particularly in Third World countries

Loe Schout is working with Hivos, Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries, a major non-governmental donor-agency in the Netherlands. Hivos seeks to improve the opportunities and scope for development of people in the South. It funds more than 700 local NGOs in 30 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Respect for human rights, pluralism and democratization are key elements in their activities. As Head of the Communication and Marketing Department, Schout has played a key role in the on-line dissemination strategy of Hivos, one of the first Dutch development agencies to have utilized the World Wide Web. Schout has studied cultural work and communication and has worked as a social worker, information officer and freelance journalist.