Sunday, 2 November 2008

Global Innovation Forum on Education and Development in Yerevan

Everything started from the very day I got an announcement from ARMACAD Yahoo Group about the UN Global Innovation Forum on Education and Development in Yerevan. I decided to apply and as a result, two weeks later I was notified that was selected as a participant.
The Global Innovation Forum on Education and Development in Yerevan took place from October 21-24, 2008 in Armenia Marriott Hotel. The four-day interactive event consisted of keynote presentations, expert panels, informal discussion sessions, and group breakout sessions. Each presentation was followed by question and answer periods to ensure the program provided opportunity for dialogue between panelists and participants. The organizers of the event were UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development (UN GAID), UN e-Leaders Committee, Athgo International, and Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Armenia
The Global Innovation Forum in Yerevan was a follow up engagement to last year’s Global Forum on Youth and ICT for Development held in Geneva, Switzerland in September. UN GAID, ITU, Athgo and many other partners brought together over 600 young people from around the world to have an open discussion on technology’s role in advancing people’s lives. The Global Innovation Forum for Education and Development provided a platform for several hundred young people across the globe to advance their causes toward achieving the MDGs through ICT. The program was set to encourage young people to get engaged in, and develop and propose new ICT initiatives that innovatively advance local communities in various emerging regions. All 18-35 year old participants were assigned to small groups during the event. Every group had to draft and submit a social business venture that presented an innovative approach to one of the program themes. On the final day of the Forum, each group was supposed to present its social business venture on one of the Innovation panels. Our proposals had to discuss and include purpose, goals and objective, business case, sustainability, results and measurability practicality, etc.
The forum was concentrated on the basic tools that facilitate the creation of innovative solutions, particularly, systematic and quality educational opportunities. Currently, proper education is not widely available in developing regions, thus slowing innovation and hampering the implementation of existing ICT. Consequently, the forum was focused on ways to improve educational opportunities and quality through ICT, specifically focusing on building ICT skills among young people. To this end the impact of access, connectivity, private and public partnership and relevant local content in meeting educational and analytical needs were examined and methods to overcome the obstacles discussed and presented.
Participants had the opportunity to engage policy makers, experts and his/her peers during an informal discussion session to draft innovative solutions to ICT development and implementation challenges. On the third day, all the participants, guests and staff were taken to the sightseeing, particularly Zvartnots, Echmiatsin Cathedral and Oshakan Church. Later we went to Ashtarak Gorge restaurant, where all of us independently from nationality, ethics and religion danced and had fun together. On the final day, the young participants showcased their plans in innovation panels. The proposals were evaluated by leaders in government, the private sector and civil society.

Honorary guests and speakers for the Global Innovation Forum included
H. E. Cheick Sidi DiarraUnited Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States
Tigran SargsyanPrime Minister, Republic of Armenia
H. E. Mr. Nerces YeritzyanMinister, Ministry of Economy, Republic of Armenia
Dag NielsenDirector, Ericsson Response
Dr. Armen OrujyanFounder and Chairman, Athgo International
Sarbuland KhanExecutive Director, UN Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies Development (GAID)
Hayley AlexanderChief of Party, USAID Competitive Armenian Private Sector Project (CAPS)
Dr. Andrey KorotkovProfessor, Head of the Department of Global Information Processes and Resources, Moscow State Institute of International Relationships
Kamran ElahianChairman, Global Catalyst Partners


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