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UNRISD at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)

1 Dec 2003



The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) is participating in the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which is being held from 10-12 December 2003 in the PALEXPO exhibitions centre, adjacent to Geneva International Airport.

Along with other UN institutions and agencies, UNRISD will have a stand at PALEXPO (Halle 4), where it will be presenting a comprehensive range of its publications in the area of development and information and communication technology. You are most welcome to visit the stand and meet with UNRISD staff members who will be present there.

The Institute will hold a press conference on 10 December 2003 from 11:30-12:30 in the press conference's room at PALEXPO to launch its new publication: Communicating in the Information Society. The publication's two editors, Seán Ó Siochrú and Bruce Girard, as well as Michael Powell, who in charge of UNRISD's project on information and communication technology, will be presenting the book to the media.

Accreditation is necessary to enter the site as it is anticipated that there will be very significant security measures on the occasion (for more information please consult: www.itu.int/wsis).

The World Summit on the Information Society is to be held in two phases. The first phase of WSIS will take place in Geneva, hosted by the Government of Switzerland, from 10-12 December 2003. The second phase will take place in Tunis, hosted by the Government of Tunisia, in 2005.

UNRISD has been working on the links between informational development and social change for six years. Its publications range from global overviews of development and information related change, including network societies, media policies and distance education, to detailed empirical studies of the changes taking place in a single African country, Senegal. Whilst covering many subject areas and involving many authors from various backgrounds and disciplines, this work has seen a remarkable consistency of message:

· that there are no easy technical solutions to deep-seated issues;
· that solutions touted as blueprints should be examined with great rigour;
· that power relations are as connected to the development and deployment of ICT as to any other activity and need to be recognized; and
· that it is worth identifying the barriers because there is the potential – and often evidence – for the creative exchange of information to advance the interests of the less powerful.

UNRISD plans to continue its programme in this area in collaboration with others. It intends to support and disseminate empirical research on the ways men and women use and exchange information in their daily life and how these are changing, and contribute to a greater theorectical clarity of the social implications of such change and the choices they offer both policy makers and citizens.

We look forward to meeting you at WSIS!