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ITU Management Team Inauguration

ITU Management team inauguration on 15 January 2015

ITU pledges commitment to innovation as it celebrates 150th anniversary

ITU's new management, led by Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, was formally inaugurated on 15 January 2015 in the presence of Permanent Representatives of Member States to the United Nations Office at Geneva and Heads of UN agencies.

Mr Houlin Zhao of the People's Republic of China was elected Secretary-General at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference last October in Busan, Republic of Korea. He was previously ITU Deputy Secretary-General for two four-year terms (2006-2014) and Director of the ITU Standardization Bureau for another two terms (1998-2006).

Mr Malcolm Johnson of the United Kingdom was elected ITU Deputy Secretary-General. He was previously the Director of the ITU Standardization Bureau for two four-year terms.

Mr François Rancy of France and Mr Brahima Sanou of Burkina Faso were re-elected as Directors of the Radiocommunication Bureau and Telecommunication Development Bureau respectively. Mr Chaesub Lee from the Republic of Korea was elected Director of the ITU Standardization Bureau.

ITU celebrates 150 years of innovation

The year 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the International Telecommunication Union.

"The remarkable history of ITU exemplifies its stellar role in connecting the world to the most advanced and innovative means of communication, from the days of the telegraph to the telephone, television, Internet and mobile broadband, which now allows us to be in touch anytime, anywhere with friends, family, colleagues and even things," said Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. "ITU has reaffirmed its reputation worldwide as one of the most resilient and relevant organizations and continues its work as the specialized agency of the United Nations, and its oldest member, dealing with state-of-the-art telecommunications and information and communication technologies. Along with ITU's diverse membership, we look forward to addressing the challenges and opportunities future innovations will bring to this technology and to ITU."

Mr Zhao also paid tribute to the founding members of the Union and to the communications experts who have dedicated their lives to connecting the world ever since the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in Paris on 17 May 1865, which led to the creation of the International Telecommunication Union. He said: "I am confident that ITU will be able to continue meeting the challenges ahead as well as embracing the new opportunities delivered by the changing ICT market place – backed by the deep knowledge and expertise of our staff and membership, and our proven ability over 150 years to adapt, reform and innovate so as to stay in tune with the market demands."

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day marks this historic event annually and is celebrated worldwide. A full day of events is planned this year on 17 May, including an Awards Ceremony and a multimedia smart show. ITU Members will also be celebrating this special 150th anniversary across the globe.

Throughout 2015, ITU will organize several events highlighting ICTs as the drivers of innovation and sustainable development both at ITU headquarters in Geneva and around the world.

In late January, ITU will co-organize a special session of the Broadband Commission during the World Economic Forum in Davos, using the high profile platform to promote innovative finance and investment models for the rollout of global broadband.

In February, the theme is Youth and Innovation which is also the focus for World Radio Day on 13 February. ITU will host a special event in Geneva and partner with UNESCO, BBC, RTS, EBU, UN Radio and others to broadcast a 24-hour worldwide event to mark the day.

Standards and Innovation is the theme for March with a special look at Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) which will be highlighted at our Future Networked Car event at the Geneva Motor Show.

April focuses on Girls and Women and Innovation. On 23 April, Girls in ICT Day, ITU will launch a new programme, 'Coding for Innovation' to train young girls to code.

ITU's governing Council will meet 12-22 May and will be present during World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, the climax of the 150th anniversary celebrations. The WSIS Forum 25-29 May will mark the tenth anniversary of the World Summit on the Information Society.

In June, a wide range of innovation opportunities will open as a result of the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting and special webinars will discuss the benefits of the so-called Digital Dividend and new opportunities for communications.

In July, ITU will specifically address accessibility for the 1 billion people who live with some kind of disability. A series of blogs, webinars, and podcasts and opinion pieces will highlight the importance of including persons with special needs in ICT through accessible technology.

Innovation and bridging the digital divide will be drawn attention to in August. World Humanitarian Day on 19 August will showcase ITU's work to connect the next 1.5 billion.

Navigation and safety at sea and in the air will feature in September and will include ITU's work in radar and satellite navigation as well as flight tracking in real time. On 24 September, ITU will mark World Maritime Day to showcase the ITU Radiocommunication Sector's contributions to the world of shipping.

Big Data and Innovation is the theme for October, exploring new areas such as digital financial services, mobile money, and cloud computing for flight data monitoring. On 13 October, International Disaster Risk Reduction Day, the focus will be on emergency telecommunications. On 24 October, ITU will join the international community in celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and explore the role of Big Data as a contributory factor in achieving sustainable development.

The ITU World Radiocommunication Conference 2015, one of the most important events on the ITU calendar and a key contributor to enabling innovation, will be held 2-27 November. The Conference will review and revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits to ensure reliable radio services are available everywhere and at any time enabling people to live and travel safely while enjoying high performance radiocommunications.

A video expert series will be released in November to highlight ITU's technical achievements and innovations. On World Television Day on 21 November, ITU will explore how ICTs drive innovation in broadcasting.

December marks the end of the year of anniversary celebrations and we plan to place a special emphasis on broadband and the important outcomes of WRC-15 and how they drive innovation and lay the foundations for future innovation. The World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium (WTIS) that will take place in December will review the level of ICT development worldwide, and the progress made during the year.

Many ITU Members have come forth to lend their support to the 150th anniversary celebrations and will be recognized during the events planned throughout the year:

Gold partners are: Ministry of Communications and High Technologies from Republic of AzerbaijanCommunications and Information Technology Commission from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) from United Arab Emirates

Silver partners are:  The Telecommunications / ICT Regulatory Body of Côte d'Ivoire (ARTCI), Ministry of Communications from Ghana and Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) from Republic of Zimbabwe

Bronze partners: Inmarsat Global LimitedClose Joint-Stock Company National Radio Technical BureauHuawei Technologies Co. Ltd,OJSC RostelecomRohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co KGTelecommunications Regulatory Agency from Central African Republic and NTT Group

In order to join us as a partner, please contact