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Laureate 2010
Statement by Mr Robert E. Kahn, President and CEO of CNRI





I would like to express my thanks to the ITU for designating me as one of this year’s laureates at the World Expo here in Shanghai and to recognize the important contributions of the ITU over its 145 year existence that we also celebrate today. It is a distinct honor for me to receive this award and I am grateful for this recognition.
 
The contributions of the ITU to the orderly progress of telecommunications and standards, from the earliest days to the present, are well known. Now housed within the United Nations framework, the ITU assists both developed and developing countries in adopting new technological capabilities that make use of ICTs, and serves to help bridge the divide that separates the more advanced countries from those that lack the resources or knowledge to make widespread use of such technology within their societies. The World Expo 2010 is an excellent choice to recognize the ITU contributions in the context of so many countries that support its diversity of efforts and those that benefit from its many contributions.
 
In recent years, the ITU has played a lead role in organizing the two phases of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and has participated actively in the ongoing discussions of the UN-sponsored Internet Governance Forum. In many ways, the ITU has branched out from its important, but more constrained, historical role in telecommunications to address many of the larger societal issues associated with the Millennium Development Goals of the UN.
 
Two important outcomes of these deliberations have been:
  1.  the broad recognition throughout the world that the Internet can play a critical role in so many different aspects of society ranging from education, to public health, to information access, to government and business efforts of all kinds, and that the ability to create and share information, to collaborate, and to simply communicate with associates is increasingly the life blood of society; and

  2. a better understanding of the nature of what has been termed “Internet Governance.” For many newcomers to the Internet, their first question often revolves around this governance question, namely “who is in charge”; it took several years before the realization sunk in that not only was no single party in charge, but that this was actually one of the important features of the Internet as a global information system. Many organizations have played important roles in its development, and, no doubt, many more will in the future. I believe the ITU has a role to play in the ongoing dialog about the future of the Internet, and I look forward to sustained contributions from the ITU in its standards efforts, in coordination of the usage of radio spectrum, and in the pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals for the less developed countries.
Finally, I would like to thank Mr. Touré and his staff for honoring me with this award and wish the ITU continued success in its ongoing efforts for at least another 145 years.

 

 


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Updated : 2010-06-25