17 May marks the anniversary of the signature of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union. World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated since 1969.
The Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society identified 17 May as "World Information Society Day". This was endorsed by the UN General Assembly in March 2006.
The ITU Plenipotentiary Conference which met in Antalya (Turkey) in November 2006 therefore decided to henceforth celebrate 17 May as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.
As the leading ICT agency of the UN system, ITU looks towards its members to raise awareness of the role of ICT in reducing poverty and creating opportunities for long-term development. This year, World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is therefore held under the theme "Connecting the Young: the opportunities of ICT" to highlight the importance and urgency of providing access to the benefits of ICT to the younger generation around the world.
World leaders at the World Summit on the Information Society, recognized young people as the future workforce and earliest adopters of ICTs and called for their empowerment. The Geneva Action Plan calls upon governments in their national e-strategies to address the special requirements of children and youth, especially the most marginalized, and other disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, and through appropriate educational administrative and legislative measures, to ensure their full inclusion in the Information Society. It also encourages ICT services and assistive technologies that will facilitate easy and affordable access to children and youth and promote ICT applications suited to their needs.
World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2007: call for action
ITU has launched a special global initiative for children and youth from developing countries and countries in transition. The aim is to increase their access, use and knowledge of ICT to facilitate their integration in and contribution to the Information Society.
Under this umbrella initiative, governments and private sector are called upon to work together to extend the benefits of ICT to the leaders of tomorrow.
The Youth Education Scheme — YES — that supports the young in ICT education, which represents a critical solution for bridging the digital divide. This programme provides young people with scholarships.
The Youth Incentive Scheme, an internship initiative, which aims to integrate youth in the ICT field, encouraging and supporting first job opportunities.
ITU TELECOM Youth Forums
Global Network of Helplines for Children. The World Summit on the Information Society recognized the important role played by Child Helplines in helping children in distress. Child Helpline International (CHI) and ITU, with the support of the Government of the Netherlands, are collaborating on the development of a global, multilingual portal to expand the availability of information and services for children.
Cybersecurity information for Children and Youth.
Children and young people need support, advice and guidance regarding
their use of communication technologies. A dedicated space for children
and youth was created within the ITU’s Cybersecurity Gateway:
www.itu.int/cybersecurity/citizens.html to provide best practices and
share experiences on how to make cyberspace a safer place for your
Call for action: ITU Member States and Sector Members are encouraged to take concrete steps towards making cyberspace safer for children.
This year, we have decided to send proactively a CD-ROM to all administrations having ordered the video message in the last two years. The CD will be sent on 30 March. The CD-ROM includes information and material to help you organize activities and events on 17 May. In particular, it includes the high-resolution files of a poster in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish that you are invited to reproduce locally. A neutral poster is also available for use with other languages should countries wish to use another language. Those whose contact details are not included atwww.itu.int/wisd/2007/cd can avail themselves of the CD by making a request to firstname.lastname@example.org and providing a complete postal address including name of addressee.
On World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, let us resolve to promote ICT opportunities for the young to bring vitality, fresh ideas and creativity in the realm of ICT development and, at the same time, provide new avenues for the younger generation everywhere to seize the remarkable digital opportunities now on offer.
I wish you a very successful World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2007.
Annex:World Telecommunication and Information Society Day Message
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Updated : 2009-09-10