Speech by ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré
ITU Telecom World 2013
Youth and Leaders Debate
20 November 2013, Bangkok, Thailand
Distinguished panelists and guests,
Ladies and gentlemen
Young innovators of 2012 and 2013,
Thank you for inviting me to join you here this afternoon, at the end of a fascinating debate and a long, interesting, and truly inspirational day.
It is a great pleasure to be with you and to see the power of bright ideas and fresh thinking on how technology can tackle development challenges throughout the world.
This brings together issues very dear to me personally: the unprecedented potential of technology, of ICT infrastructure, and all the products, services and applications it enables, to drive socio-economic development and to bring real, tangible benefits to all citizens of the world.
I am constantly encouraged by the enormous capacity of young people, wherever they come from, and whatever their background, to work to change the world for the better. To innovate, to harness technology, and to find solutions to real-life problems.
The Young Innovators Programme is now in its third year of championing young people's engagement with technology-based social entrepreneurship.
Over the course of that time, it has become much more than just an annual competition – exciting as that has been.
It has a become a community, where industry experts, government leaders, successful start-ups and mentors come together with competition finalists from this year and last year.
It is not just about the Accelerator Programme here at ITU Telecom World, with its wealth of practical workshops, the chance to pitch to an influential audience, and the opportunity to network with our delegates drawn from governments and industry around the world.
It is – in the words of one of this year's mentors – about working together, collaborating: ‘it’s the spirit of supporting each other that boosts energy and creativity’.
I am immensely proud of the young people gathered here today, and of the success they have already enjoyed, and of the many successes still awaiting them ahead.
I am very pleased to see that two of the finalists of last year's competition, ITU Telecom World Young Innovators 2012, have already reached the stage where they have patents pending for their projects.
I am sure you are all aware of what a tremendous achievement this is – and that you will join me in congratulating them.
It is therefore my great honour to be able to acknowledge this achievement by officially presenting the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Best Young Inventor award to:
- Victoria Alonsoperez, for Chipsafer, which detects diseases in livestock at an early enough stage to prevent mass infection; and
- Ivan Klimek, for Excalibur, which turns your mobile phone into a universal authentication token, and removes the need for passwords.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This is a new generation of technopreneurs; of people born into the digital age, with ideas, solutions and businesses powered – and empowered – by broadband Internet connectivity.
These young people are not just embracing the change of a digital world: they are the change.
They are the digital world.
So let me thank you once again for this opportunity to meet them here, to see their projects develop, and to witness their creativity.