The Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT) in collaboration with the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) and the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoIT&T) organized a 2 Day Workshop on ‘ICTs for Development: Mainstreaming the Marginalized’ on January 12-13, 2016 at a local hotel at Islamabad. The Workshop was inaugurated by Rana Tanveer Hussain, Federal Minister for Science & Technology and Defence Production. The Federal Minister expressed pleasure in the organizers’ choice of the Workshop theme and the fact that it relates to the application of knowledge for the benefit of common man and more so for those marginalized.
Professor Tim Unwin, UNESCO Chair ICT4D and Emeritus Professor at Royal Holloway, University of London was the principal resource person at the Workshop. It was attended by over 60 participants coming from academia, development & ICT sector, financial and government institutions and media. Six technical sessions were convened over the 2 day Workshop.The topics of the technical sessions were as follows:
1. ICTs for Development;
2. Understanding ICT’s Needs of Developing Countries: Case of Pakistan;
3. ICTs for People with Disabilities and the Elderly;
4. ICTs of Education for the Marginalized;
5. Mobile Applications for Empowering the Youth; and
6. Possible Research Agenda for Development through ICT’s.
Each session started with a plenary talk by the lead speaker followed by panel and group discussions. Questions and answers sessions encouraged participants to reflect upon their understanding, aspiration and resolve with the use of ICTs for development. The technical sessions were concluded with the wrap up by Prof. Tim Unwin.
While speaking at the opening session, Mr. Tahir Naeem, Executive Director, INIT stated that overtime ICTs have not only become an important part of our lives but have altered the very meaning of ‘literacy’ itself. While, the highly qualified of yesteryears seem ‘marginalized’; the use of ICTs has given a new hope to the actually marginalized i.e. those; deprived, disadvantaged or underprivileged on account of their social or economic deprivation, geographic location, gender, physical impairment or any other count of social exclusion.
Dr. S.M. JunaidZaidi, President, INIT & Rector CIIT thanked the Honourable Minister for gracing the opening session. He also thanked the resource persons, participants and the organizers for taking up issues that have a bearing on improving the quality of life of those marginalized. He assured his continued support to the initiative.
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