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Global Forum on Youth and ICT for Development
Geneva, Switzerland
24 September 2007

Speech by ITU Secretary General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré


H.E. Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, First Lady of the Arab Republic of Egypt,

H. E. Mrs Paaga Neri Safuneituuga, Minister of Communications and Information, Samoa,

H.E. Mr. Adolf Ogi, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace,

Mr. Robert Hensler, State Chancellor, Chancellery of the Republic and Canton of Geneva

Your Excellencies, Representatives of Youth,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

I would like to express my warmest welcome to you on the occasion of the Global Youth Forum. Let me also thank the Her Excellency, Mrs Mubarak for her initiative on Youth and Peace; my thanks also to the State of Geneva, the United Arab Emirates and GSM Association for making it possible for the ITU to bring some Youth alumni to this event and my thanks to all those who contributed to make this event possible.

 

This event is unique in that it brings together a number of like-minded organizations in the pursuit of a common objective of ensuring that our Youth, who are our future leaders, have access to ICTs and cutting edge technologies. I commend the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs through the Global Alliance for ICT Development for taking this initiative, as indeed all institutions that have joined hands to make this happen. ITU is proud to be part of this event and we are happy to join efforts for such an important mission.

 

As you are probably aware, ITU has itself organized a number of Youth Forums as part of Telecom events since 2001. It is with great satisfaction that I have seen the positive feedback from these events showing how they have inspired a number of youths to use ICTs as a tool for social and economic activities, to improve not only their economic wellbeing, but also that of their communities. Some of them are here among us for these three days, to share with us their life changing experiences.

 

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

 

We live in a world where we are confronted by serious development challenges, be they social, demographic, economic or political. The one common element is the glaring inequality in opportunities for development in all societies. The design and implementation of appropriate strategies to meet these challenges remain a concern for policy makers.

 

The all too familiar calls for poverty eradication, economic growth, improved education and health services, gender equity and employment to name a few, are on top of the agenda of many governments as well as development partners. ICTs have long been identified as an enabler to support progress in each of these areas.

 

Many youth in our communities are well equipped to lead this process. This is why the ITU attaches great importance to events like this, as they create opportunities for our youth to produce fresh initiatives, draw up action plans to focus on key issues and draw up strategies focused on a common agenda. During these three days, participating youth will address a number of issues including ICTs and health, education, employment, governance and others. We trust this forum have a lasting impact which will inspire our youth to be innovative in applying ICTs to solve the challenges currently facing many communities. May they find innovative solutions to achieve efficiency in investments, public policies and advocacy processes. In this way, ITU, jointly with other organizations present today, is confirming our faith in the potential of youth to achieve sustainable development and make this a better world.

 

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said and I quote, “Our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and face the challenge of change”.

 

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

There is no one better positioned to bring forward new ideas and face the changes of the future than our next generation. I am a strong believer in the power of the Youth and I am inspired by their vision of creating an equitable Information Society. Let all of us invest our time, energy and resources to empower them to realize this vision.

 

I wish you a very successful event.

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

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