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ITU celebrates 150th anniversary on 17 May

Action-packed programme features history and future outlook for ICTs

Geneva, 7 May 2015 – ITU celebrates its 150th anniversary on Sunday, 17 May. The programme includes a keynote speech by Ms Doris Leuthard, Minister of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, Switzerland; panel discussions with eminent laureates of the ITU 150 Award; and forward-looking movers and shakers in the ICT industry, from DuoLingo, BRCK, Alibaba, Ericsson and Telecom Italia Group.

The history of ITU has been interwoven with landmark inventions and innovations in communications over the past 150 years. In the 1850s, soon after Samuel Morse started a service in the United States, telegraph lines crossed national borders and new international agreements had to be forged. On 17 May 1865, twenty nations gathered in Paris to sign an international framework, and formed the International Telegraph Union. See photos.

The theme for the 150th anniversary “Telecommunications and ICTs: drivers of innovation” is in line with ITU’s role as the United Nations specialized agency for ICTs.

Information and communication technologies are recognized as powerful cross-cutting enablers to achieve an environmentally sound and sustainable future in the post-2015 era. ICTs can be used effectively as delivery vehicles for health, education, governance, trade and commerce as well as meet global challenges, such as combating climate change.


ITU 150th anniversary celebration


Sunday, 17 May 2015, 13:30-18:00


CICG, Rue Varembé, Geneva, CH-1211, Switzerland


17 May marks the 150th anniversary of the signing of the International Telegraph Convention in Paris in 1865. 17 May is now observed annually as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. 



Bill Gates, Robert E. Kahn, Thomas Wiegand, Mark I. Krivocheev, Martin Cooper and Ken Sakamura will be honoured with ITU’s 150th Anniversary Award. Recognition will be accorded to ITU’s Founding Member States and to its long-standing industry members.

Panel discussion on ICT’s Driving a Sustainable Future with Luis Von Ahn, CEO & founder, DuoLingo; Philip Walton, COO, BRCK; Jian Wang, CTO, Alibaba; Ulf Ewaldsson, CTO, Ericsson; and Gabriela Styf Sjöman, CTO, Telecom Italia Group.

Media Note: Media access to CICG is open. ITU Communications team will facilitate interview requests. UN Press accreditation is valid. Registration is required for non-UN accredited Media. Please contact pressreg@itu.int.

For more information, please see http://itu150.org/home/ or contact:

Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations & Public Information, ITU
telephone +41 22 730 5046
tel + 41 79 249 4861
email sanjay.acharya@itu.int 

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