Virtual WSIS TalkX


The WSIS TalkX is a platform, both virtual and physical, dedicated to sharing experiences and inspirational stories about ICTs for development (implementation of the WSIS Action Lines for Development) by stakeholders all over the world. The WSIS TalkX was initiated during the WSIS Forum 2019 and at the request of stakeholders as a continuous virtual series since April 2020. More than 30 physical and virtual sessions have been conducted, which have all been adapted to podcasts and are available to listen and download at WSIS TalkX Podcast. The WSIS TalkX this year have been conducted in a virtual format where WSIS stakeholders have highlighted their linkages with the WSIS Action Lines and SDGs, in particular, in relation to the global response to COVID-19. The interactive talk series is also an opportunity to hear from the globally recognized WSIS Prizes awardees, as well as from the partners of the WSIS Forum.

Past Sessions

Cybersecurity: Online Educational Resources and Child Online Protection during COVID-19

8 April 2020, 14:00 – 15:00 CEST (UTC+2)

Inauguration and setting the context of WSIS Action Line C5: Mr Malcolm Johnson, Deputy Secretary-General, ITU

Moderator and Speakers:

  • Mr. David Wright — Director of UK Safer Internet Centre (High-Level Track Facilitator WSIS Forum 2020)
  • Ms. Merle Maigre — Executive Vice President at CybExer Technologies, Estonia (High-Level Track Facilitator WSIS Forum 2020)
  • Audience Interaction
Transcribed podcast:

Free Application and Scientific Resources to track COVID-19

9 April 2020, 16:00 – 17:30 CEST (UTC+2)

Setting the context: WSIS Action Line Facilitator C7 E-Health — Mr. Hani Eskandar, ITU and Mr. Sameer Pujari, WHO

Moderator and Speakers:

  • Ms. Tatyana Kanzaveli — CEO, Open Health Network — PatientSphere (Help people to manage their health during COVID times! Free application to track covid like symptoms and share with doctors is available in English and Spanish
  • Dr. Tom Blue — Director of Industry Strategy, Institute for Functional Medicine, USA
  • Prof. Karl Blanchet — Director , CERAH Scientific Resource Centre, University of Geneva
  • Audience Interaction
Transcribed podcast:

Universal Design and Social Innovation during the COVID-19 Pandemic

17 April 2020, 14:00 – 15:00 CEST (UTC+2)

The COVID-19 has disproportionately affected socially disadvantaged communities, this discussion will explore how universal design can ensure that everyone can benefit from public health communications.

Moderator and Speakers:

  • Dr. George Anthony Giannoumis — Associate Professor, Oslo Metropolitan University
  • Ms Elise Daaland — Creative Director, Global Universal Design Commission Europe
  • Mr Michael W. Hodin — CEO, Global Coalition on Aging
  • Mr Masahito Kawamori — Rapporteur, ITU-T SG16 Q26, ITU and Professor, Keio University, Japan
Transcribed podcast:

The role of information, journalism and media in countering COVID-19

21 April 2020, 14:00 – 15:00 CEST (UTC+2)

Moderator and Speakers:

  • Mr Giacomo Mazzone — Head of Institutional Relations, European Broadcasting Union (EBU)
  • Ms Rachel Pollack — WSIS Action Line Focal Point C9: Media, UNESCO
  • Mr Christophe Deloire — Secretary-General, Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
  • Ms Mira Milosevic — Executive Director, Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)
Transcribed podcast:

Drones and COVID-19: how do these applications help and do these applications make any sense?

28 April 2020, 14:00 – 15:00 CEST (UTC+2)

The purpose of this webinar is to discuss how drones are being applied in response to the coronavirus. The most popular applications to date include spraying, patrolling and surveillance, public announcements, cargo delivery, and measurement of body temperature. While some of these applications have already been debunked by science, they're still being used by many stakeholders in multiple countries. The supposed success of other applications is anecdotal at best while several raise important concerns around data privacy and data protection. Some of these applications also face important logistical hurdles and others completely ignore the digital divide. This does not mean that drones cannot add value, but it does mean that more critical thinking is needed along with a deeper understanding of the local context, actual needs, priorities, alternatives, cultures, sciences and technologies and the digital divide to evaluate the potential value of drones in response to the pandemic.

Moderator and Speakers
  • Mr. Patrick Meier
    Executive Director, WeRobotics

    Over the past 17 years, Patrick has worked on a wide range of humanitarian technology projects in the Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia, Liberia, Congo-Brazzaville, Malawi, Tanzania, The Gambia, India, Nepal, Philippines, Timor-Leste, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Morocco, Western Sahara, Haiti, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Cameroon, Papua New Guinea, Peru and Northern Ireland with multiple international organizations including several UN agencies, the Red Cross, World Bank and 30+ other organizations. His book, Digital Humanitarians, has been praised by experts at the UN, Red Cross, World Bank, USAID, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Oxford and others. In 2010, he was publicly recognized by Clinton for his pioneering work in humanitarian technology, which he continues to this day.

    Patrick has served as a Fellow at MIT Solve, Stanford, Harvard, Rockefeller Foundation, UBS Global Visionaries, UNICEF Innovations and National Geographic. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, BBC News, UK Guardian, The Economist, Forbes & Times Magazines, New Yorker, NPR, Newsweek, Wired, Mashable, TechCrunch, Fast Company, Nature, New Scientist, Scientific American & elsewhere. Patrick holds a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Pre-Doc from Stanford and an MA from Columbia University. He is also an alum of the Santa Fe Institute. Patrick has created and taught several undergraduate, graduate and professional courses. He is well published across multiple disciplines.

    Patrick is also an internationally sought-out speaker, having given over 200 talks in more than 40 countries across 6 continents. He has spoken at the Obama White House, UN, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Skoll World Forum, Club de Madrid, Mobile World Congress, Web Summit, PopTech, National Geographic, Thinking Digital, TTI/Vanguard, SXSW and has given multiple TEDx talks. His influential blog iRevolutions has received over 2 million hits. Patrick holds a CASA certified drone pilot license and was born & raised in Africa.

  • Dr. Ruchi Saxena
    Director, India Flying Labs

    Dr Ruchi Saxena is the Founder-Director of Caerobotics Healthcare Solutions and Director of India Flying Labs. She is a health systems consultant and is currently actively engaged in creating an ecosystem for utilization of unmanned robotics in healthcare and disaster management in India, Nepal and other countries in the region in partnership with several like-minded organisations.

Transcribed podcast:

The Threat of Social Isolation in Older Vulnerable Populations: Enabling Human Connection Through Technology During COVID-19

30 April 2020, 15:00 – 16:00 CEST (UTC+2)

Older persons have been particularly vulnerable in the COVID-19 pandemic, given they are more likely to have underlying medical conditions. This makes social distancing extremely important during the pandemic. But, many older persons require assistance with activities of daily living, and the risk of social isolation can also threaten the mental and emotional health of individuals. Michael Hodin, CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) and a panel of experts will explore the essential service of home care and—paired with smart ICTs—how it is helping to alleviate stresses on healthcare systems during COVID and beyond.

Moderator and Speakers
  • Michael Hodin, PhD
    CEO, Global Coalition on Aging
    Managing Partner, High Lantern Group

    Michael W. Hodin, Ph.D. is CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging, Managing Partner at High Lantern Group, and a Fellow at Oxford University’s Harris Manchester College. He has spoken internationally on the topic of aging, including at G20, APEC, Davos, and the World Knowledge Forum (WKF). He is also a blogger on Medium.

    From 1976-80, Mike was Legislative Assistant to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. During this period he was also a Visiting Scholar at Brookings Institution, on U.S. Foreign Economic Policy. He was a senior executive at Pfizer, Inc. for 30 years, where he created and then led its International Public Affairs and Public Policy operations and served on Management Boards for a number of its businesses.

    Mike is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and from 2010-2013, was Adjunct Senior Fellow with a focus on population aging. Mike was also the recipient of the 2012 Fred D. Thompson Award from the American Federation for Aging Research. He sits on the Boards of the Foreign Policy Association, Business Council for International Understanding, American Skin Association, American Federation for Aging Research and Emigrant Savings Bank. Mike was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Ageing. And he sits on the Advisory Board for the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging.

    Mike holds a BA, cum laude, Cornell University, MSc. in International Relations from The London School of Economics and Political Science, and M.Phil and Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University.

  • Raymond Saner, Ph.D.
    Director, CSEND, Geneva

    Raymond Saner, Titular Professor at the Economic Sciences Department of the University of Basel and Lecturer at Lüneburg University and Sciences in Paris. He is Co-Founder and Director of the Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development (CSEND), an ECOSOC accredited NGO in consultative status registered in Geneva since 1993.

    CSEND’s research and consultations focus on sustainable development. Raymond has provided inputs to UNDESA for the 2030 Agenda and related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since 2014 as researcher, moderator of panels, speaker, teacher and writer. He holds graduate degrees in economics, psychology and management sciences.

    One of CSEND’s activity in the field of sustainable development focuses on Active Ageing and intergenerational cooperation. CSEND is member of the Open Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWGA) of the United Nations, United Nations Economic Commission of Europe’s Working Group on Aging (UNECE-WGA) and the NGO Committee on Ageing in Geneva.

    Raymond has organised a panel at the WSIS 2019 on “Information and Communication Technologies for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals” and CSEND submitted statements in support of older persons at the UNOWGA meetings in 1918, 1919 and at the UNECE WGA in 2019 and organised a round table at the UN Library in Geneva on Ageing with Dignity in 2017 with speakers from China, Japan, Germany, Switzerland and the USA.

  • Ms. Emily Allen
    Director of Thought Leadership and Advocacy, Home Instead Senior Care

    Emily Allen serves as the Director of Thought Leadership and Advocacy at Home Instead Senior Care, responsible for shepherding the company’s global engagement with other leading organizations working to improve the lives of older people and their families. Home Instead is a business devoted to supporting seniors, people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and other aging citizens by providing high-quality in-home care and companionship services. Before joining Home Instead, Emily worked as an Associate Attorney at Kutak Rock where she represented clients in a variety of corporate, real estate, tax credit, health care, litigation and transactional matters. Emily received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Teaching from the University of Nebraska Omaha and her JD from Creighton University.

  • Matthew J. Smith, PhD
    Chief Scientific Officer, Embr Labs

    Matthew J. Smith, Ph.D. is the Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder of Embr Labs, the first thermal wellness technology company. Dr. Smith and his team have developed Embr Wave, an intelligent bracelet that cools or warms you with the press of a button. The Wave was named a Time Best Invention in 2018, has been sold to over 50,000 people in the U.S., and has been widely adopted by aging populations for health and wellness. Dr. Smith is leading a research collaboration with social thermoregulation expert Dr. Hans IJzerman (Université Grenoble Alpes) to leverage Embr’s thermal technology to enable healthy and health-promoting social relationships in the face of widespread social isolation. Humans experience social interactions with thermal undertones (think “warm smile” and “cold shoulder”) and thermal sensations can influence the way we experience social interactions, arising from the neural networks that process both thermal sensations and human social emotion. Prior to co-founding Embr Labs, Matt earned his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he co-authored over 20 publications and co-founded a technology consulting company.

Transcribed podcast:

The importance of low tech internet lifelines in times of crisis

5 May 2020, 14:00 – 15:00 CEST (UTC+2)

In times of crisis, internet access forms a vital lifeline. Nevertheless, too many people still lack basic connectivity. A comprehensive approach around digital low tech based on innovation, business models, content, and policy can change this and enable internet for everyone.

Moderator and Speakers
  • Mr. Sebastien Codeville
    CEO of KaiOS

    Sebastien Codeville is CEO of KaiOS Technologies, the company behind an ecosystem of affordable digital products and services empowering people around the world through technology. In 2016, Sebastien led the company in the development and delivery of their flagship product, KaiOS, a leading mobile operating system. Kai’s mission is to open up new possibilities for individuals, organizations, and society by bringing mobile connectivity to the billions of people without internet. Devices running on the platform require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience through access to apps like Google Assistant, WhatsApp, YouTube, Facebook, and Google Maps.

    Sebastien is a founding member of KaiOS Technologies, bringing more than 20 years of experience in telecommunications and technology to the company. Under Sebastien’s leadership, KaiOS is experiencing explosive growth, with more than 120 million devices shipped in over 100 countries. Through partnerships with AT&T, Bullitt, China Mobile, Doro, HMD, MTN, Orange, Sprint, Vodacom, T-Mobile, and Transsion, KaiOS-powered devices have been shipped around the world to the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The company has also rapidly expanded globally from 50 to more than 300 people within three years’ time.

    As CEO, Sebastien’s responsibilities include corporate direction, developing new business partnerships to accelerate global deployment, and attracting key talent to the organization. He oversees KaiOS Technologies’ seven offices around the world, including the U.S., China, India, and France to facilitate the expansion. Under his leadership, the company is ranked at 11 on Fast Company’s Top 50 Most Innovative Companies list, as well as 1 in the Consumer Electronics category. It is also the proud winner of GSMA’s GLOMO Awards 2020 in the category of Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough. Last year the company was ranked among TIME’s Best Inventions in the Social Good category for 2019 and has won several other awards, including the “Changing Lives Award” at AfricaCom 2019.

    Prior to his role as CEO at KaiOS Technologies, Sebastien had an impressive track record in the telecom industry as vice president, Products and Programs for North America, at TCT Mobile Inc., where he grew the U.S. business from US$30 million in 2010 to US$1 billion in 2016, with 15 million phones sold. In his role, Sebastien spearheaded the product portfolio selection, pricing, and product definition, as well as supervision of a product team operating in China. Earlier in his career, he held management positions at TCL Communications, Philips Semiconductors, and Alcatel Mobile.

    Sebastien holds a master’s degree in business administration from HEC University in Asia and a master’s degree in electronic engineering from ISEN France.

  • Ms. Sonia Jorge
    Executive Director of Alliance for Affordable Internet

    An expert in the confluence of development and communications policy, Sonia has over 25 years of diverse international experience in a career spanning both the private and not-for-profit sectors. As an expert consultant, Sonia lead numerous digital development projects in several countries and international organizations, such as the World Bank, UNDP and UN Women, and for private sector companies, from mobile operators to industry associations.

    Her work has included ICT policy and regulatory advice and analysis, strategic industry planning, national ICT/broadband policy development, and the creation of new policy and regulatory frameworks to address issues around competition, cost-based pricing, spectrum management, and infrastructure development and sharing. Sonia is an avid advocate of gender equality in development, and has worked extensively to promote gender analysis and awareness in the ICT planning process, as well as an understanding of the importance of universal access and digital inclusion for development.

    Sonia is a frequent speaker at international, regional and national events, including at the World Economic Forum, Stockholm Internet Forum, Transform Africa, Mobile World Congress, Internet Governance Forums, the Latin American Telecommunications Congress, several ITU and EU-Commission events, among others. She also serves/ed as a member and expert in a number of Committees, including DFID’s Digital Access Panel for Africa, the ITU-UN Women EQUALS Partnership, The World Economic Forum’s Future of the Internet Initiative, the Broadband Commission Working Group on the Gender Digital Divide, the Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy (ACICIP) Subcommittee of the US State Department on ICT4D, the IEEE Connectivity Coalition Steering Committee, and the EU-AU Digital Economy Task Force.

    Sonia has worked in over 40 countries around the globe, and assumed her current role on 1 July 2013, having previously been Director of Research & Consulting at Pyramid Research. She is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English, and holds both a Masters in Public Policy from Tufts University and a BA/BS in Economics and Business Finance from the University of Massachusetts.

  • Mr. Asim Zia Alam
    CEO, WebDoc

    Asim Alam has a notable in the sea of the entrepreneurial status of Pakistan. He is efficiently and flawlessly leading Webdoc as a head and founder. His management and professional skills have rocketed the online business to new heights of triumph by gaining access to millions of subscriber. The core reason for his ultimate success is his consistent dedication, diligence, incessantly endeavor, and professional approach.

    Mr. Asim courageously accepted hurdles and difficulties of life which boosted him exceptionally. He has firm beliefs on the rules of loyalty, sincerity, integrity, competency, and leadership. He has massive love and sympathy for the citizens of Pakistan because of which he invented the concept of online medical services at reasonable rates.

    He has strong command on team leadership and support for his business colleagues. He has a developed concrete working profile in the field of e-commerce businesses. His strong educational career has been acted as ladder to climb the hills of victories. Asim believes in bringing a commendable upgradation of Pakistan by the development of tech based entrepreneur businesses.

    “Being innovative is a new fashion”
    -Asim Zia Alam

  • Dr. Jessica Rothenberg Aalami
    CEO, Cell-Ed

    Jessica Rothenberg-Aalami, Ph.D., is the CEO and founder of Cell-Ed, a customizable messaging platform proven effective to teach, nudge, and coach today’s workforce lacking even the most basic skills over mobile - including feature phones without internet. Cell-Ed is a culmination of her 20+ years of designing and delivering accessible, affordable, relevant, and inclusive mobile learning worldwide. Her experience spans work with major technology companies (e.g., Microsoft, Hewlett Packard), international organizations, governments, umbrella NGOs, and on-the-ground partners. An active collaborator and speaker, Rothenberg-Aalami is the co-author of Technology at the Margins: How IT Meets the Needs of Emerging Markets and holds advanced degrees in International Development, Business and Information Communications and Technology Design from the University of California Berkeley, University of Oregon, and Harvard Universities. Joined by a passionate team of educators and technologists, Cell-Ed aims to close essential skills gaps 3 minutes at a time for those who need it most.

Transcribed podcast:

Tech and Trafficking in Persons during COVID-19 and beyond

12 May 2020, 16:30 – 17:30 CEST (UTC+2)

While technology is often misused to facilitate human trafficking, tech development helps practitioners to prevent and investigate the crime, and support its victims. This discussion will focus on the expanding nexus between technology and trafficking in persons, including during COVID-19.

Moderator and Speakers
  • Ms. Morgane Nicot
    Team Leader, Knowledge Development / Human Trafficking & Migrant Smuggling, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

    Ms. Morgane Nicot leads the Knowledge Development Team of UNODC Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section. She has coordinated the development of UNODC brief on COVID-19 and Trafficking in Persons and other UNODC tools and publications on trafficking and smuggling and oversees UNODC Knowledge Portals on these issues. She also works towards enhancing collaboration to address trafficking in person beyond the criminal justice sector, including with civil society, academia and the private sector. In her last 10 years with UNODC, she has coordinated the Global Programme against the Smuggling of Migrants and been the desk officer for Africa for trafficking and smuggling issues, in addition to supporting inter-governmental processes and policy development

    Prior to joining the UN, Ms Nicot served as a project manager for Caritas France to assist asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, and served with the International Committee of the Red Cross legal division and as a delegate in the Middle East and Africa for the protection of civilians and detainees.

    Ms Nicot holds a law degree and is specialized in International Criminal Justice and Armed Conflict (LLM Nottingham University) and International Administration (Universite Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne).

  • Ms. Rachel Harvey
    Regional Advisor for East Asia Pacific Regional Office, The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

    Presentation: Online Sexual Exploitation of Children and COVID-19 - UNICEF

    Rachel Harvey is the Regional Adviser Child Protection for UNICEF’s East Asia and Pacific Regional Office, leading regional programmes on child online protection, ending violence against children and social service workforce strengthening. She has over 18 years of experience in research, advocacy and programming on child protection, justice for children and child rights in East Asia and the Pacific, Central Asia, Africa, Central America, Eastern Europe and the Caucuses.

  • Mr. Valiant Richey
    OSCE Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

    Valiant (Val) Richey is the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. He represents the OSCE at the political level on anti-trafficking issues, and assists the 57 OSCE participating States in the development and implementation of anti-trafficking strategies and initiatives. His Office also serves a co-ordinating function among OSCE structures and institutions involved in combating trafficking in human beings.

    Prior to his appointment as Special Representative, Val served as deputy co-ordinator and chargé d’affaires for 15 months, during which time he oversaw the daily operation of the Office, including staff, budget and programs. Before joining the OSCE, Val worked for thirteen years as a prosecutor in Seattle handling sexual assault, child exploitation and human trafficking cases. He led a coalition of law enforcement, NGOs, academics, service providers, philanthropists, and policy makers focused on the eradication of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking in Washington State, and he was appointed by the Attorney General to represent prosecutors on the Washington State Trafficking in Persons Coordinating Committee. Previously, Val managed a public office in Washington State which provided policy and fiscal analysis to the Legislature.

    He has a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Political Science from Boston University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Washington.

  • Ms.Hannah Darnton
    Associate Director, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)

    Presentation:Tech Against Trafficking

    Hannah works with multinational companies to align business and human rights strategies and facilitate incorporation of sustainable practices into business operations across sectors. She focuses on the intersection of human rights and new, disruptive technology and leads the Tech Against Trafficking collaborative initiative.

    Prior to joining BSR, Hannah worked with the Skoll Foundation, where she co-led the portfolio and investments team’s efforts to identify social entrepreneurs with the potential to drive large-scale social change. Her work led to over US$20 million in grants and investments between 2015 and 2018. Before Skoll, Hannah spent six years working in anti-human trafficking in West Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Bay Area. She is fluent in French.

    Hannah holds a Master’s in NGOs and Development from the London School of Economics and a B.A. in Political Science and French from the University of Michigan. She currently serves on the advisory boards of Oxfam’s Women in Small Enterprise initiative and Convening17.

Transcribed podcast:

Tips and Tools for Securing a Remote Workforce

14 May 2020, 14:00 – 15:00 CEST (UTC+2)

Moderator and Speakers
  • Ms. Kiersten Todt
    Managing Director of the Cyber Readiness Institute

    Kiersten is Managing Director of the Cyber Readiness Institute. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of the Presidential Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity and collaborated with CRI’s Co-Chairs to develop the concept for the Institute.

    She is also a non-resident scholar at the University of Pittsburgh's Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security

  • Mr. Philip Reitinger
    President and CEO of the Global Cyber Alliance

    Philip R. Reitinger is President and CEO of the Global Cyber Alliance, an international nonprofit dedicated to eradicating cyber risk. His previous roles have included Deputy Under Secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate and Director of the National Cyber Security Center at U.S. DHS; the first Executive Director of the U.S. DOD’s Cyber Crime Center; and Deputy Chief of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section at the U.S. DOJ. Mr. Reitinger also served as Sony’s Senior VP and CISO, and Chief Trustworthy Infrastructure Strategist at Microsoft. Mr. Reitinger received the Secretary of Homeland Security’s Distinguished Service Medal and the Attorney General’s John Marshall Award.

    He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Vanderbilt University and a J.D. from Yale Law School


Protecting Older, Vulnerable Populations in the COVID-19 Era: Scaling Technology Solutions

19 May 2020, 15.00 - 16.00 CEST (UTC+2)

There has been a major uptake in telehealth and telemedicine around the world to ensure healthcare systems can continue to serve patients amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Beyond virtual doctor visits, innovative technology has a wide-reaching role in keeping vulnerable older populations safe at home, including remote patient monitoring and artificial intelligence. A panel of experts will discuss how ICTs have helped alleviate pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond that, what can be done to take lessons from COVID-19 in preparation for future crises and long-term health systems change.

Moderator and Speakers
  • Michael Hodin, PhD
    CEO, Global Coalition on Aging
    Managing Partner, High Lantern Group

    Michael W. Hodin, Ph.D. is CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging, Managing Partner at High Lantern Group, and a Fellow at Oxford University’s Harris Manchester College. He has spoken internationally on the topic of aging, including at G20, APEC, Davos, and the World Knowledge Forum (WKF). He is also a blogger on Medium.

    From 1976-80, Mike was Legislative Assistant to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. During this period he was also a Visiting Scholar at Brookings Institution, on U.S. Foreign Economic Policy. He was a senior executive at Pfizer, Inc. for 30 years, where he created and then led its International Public Affairs and Public Policy operations and served on Management Boards for a number of its businesses.

    Mike is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and from 2010-2013, was Adjunct Senior Fellow with a focus on population aging. Mike was also the recipient of the 2012 Fred D. Thompson Award from the American Federation for Aging Research. He sits on the Boards of the Foreign Policy Association, Business Council for International Understanding, American Skin Association, American Federation for Aging Research and Emigrant Savings Bank. Mike was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Ageing. And he sits on the Advisory Board for the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging.

    Mike holds a BA, cum laude, Cornell University, MSc. in International Relations from The London School of Economics and Political Science, and M.Phil and Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University.

  • Mr. Paul Adams
    Senior Director of Solutions for Population Health Management, Philips

    Paul Adams is currently the Senior Director of Solutions for Population Health Management and is responsible for defining and leading the solution strategy for Payers, Government and VA at Philips. Paul’s entire professional background has been in health care and medical technology. He trained as a nurse at St. George's Hospital in the UK and primarily worked in Critical Care. He transitioned into the UK healthcare commercial market where he managed the sale, marketing and product management of a wide range of healthcare solutions from medical devices to clinical information systems. In 1999 he came to the USA to join the global marketing team at Bayer Diagnostics (now Siemens), focusing on device connectivity and product development for point-of-care testing.

    Prior to joining Philips, he worked for Nuance Communications where he was Director of Product Management within their healthcare division and was responsible for defining and leading the strategy for the Dragon Medical voice recognition solutions. Paul has also worked for Picis, a Boston-based clinical informatics company focused on the high acuity area of hospital care. As the lead for the clinical product management team he was heavily engaged in interpreting “meaningful use”. He was also the business director for the UK and Ireland, a region facing its own health IT challenges.

    Whilst in the UK Paul served with the British Army reserves for 8 years as a Paramedic. Paul earned his BSc degree from Westminster University in London and currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts.

  • Dr. Michael Devoy, PhD
    Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs & Pharmacovigilance for the Pharmaceuticals Division at Bayer AG
    Chief Medical Officer of Bayer AG

    Dr Michael Devoy is the Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and Pharmacovigilance for the Pharmaceuticals Division at Bayer AG. He is also the Chief Medical Officer of Bayer AG. Dr Devoy joined the former Schering AG in 2005 as Senior Vice President of Global Medical Development and was appointed to his current position in 2014. Dr Devoy studied Medicine and Pharmacology at University College London and graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MB, BS).

    He is a member of the Royal College of Physicians in London. He is also an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Drug Information Association (DIA). Dr Devoy has extensive experience across Clinical Development and International Medical Affairs. His career in the pharmaceutical industry began when he joined Glaxo Group Research in Clinical Pharmacology.

  • Dr. Susanne Dröscher, PhD
    Co-CEO, CARU Home

    Susanne Dröscher, born in 1984, founded CARU AG together with Thomas Helbling in 2017 and has been managing the company as Co-CEO ever since. She studied materials science in Erlangen and Stockholm and earned her doctorate in physics at ETH Zurich. As Business Development Manager at the ETH spin-off greenTEG, she then spent several years in a tech startup. Today she heads the market side of CARU.


The Indian School where students with visual impairment thrive in learning despite lockdown

21 May 2020, 14:00 – 15:00 CEST (UTC+2)

For many children with disabilities living in the Global South, the transition to remote learning options has not been smooth during COVID -19 . It disproportionately affects them and in some cases even excludes them from online classes because of a variety of reasons. This is especially true for children with visual impairment and low vision.

However, for one small community school – Saksham School - located in Noida district of Uttar Pradesh in India, learning continues for children with blindness and low vision despite the lockdown.

The school has planned its next academic session, students follow their regular timetables in digital classrooms, teachers and parents interact weekly on zoom, and queries are regularly posted on WhatsApp groups. A music and physiotherapist demonstrates easy activities for parents to do with their children through a live-stream session. Interestingly, over 70% of students in the school belong to economically weaker sections and most are children of migrant workers.

Moderator and Speakers
  • Mr. Dipendra Manocha
    Developing countries coordinator and Lead of Training and Tech Support, DAISY Consortium

    Dipendra Manocha is the lead of training and technical support and coordinates DAISY Consortium’s projects in developing countries. He is member of the Executive Committee of the World Blind Union and is managing trustee of the Saksham Trust. He is the elected president of the DAISY Forum of India which is a network of more than 74 organizations in India serving the persons with blindness and low vision. He also worked as consultant to the Delhi University for establishing the resource center for persons with disability.

    After completion of post-graduation and research degree from Delhi University in 1992, he has been working for the mission of providing information and content in accessible format to persons with print disability. He worked as Director IT & Services at the National Association for the Blind, New Delhi, India from 1993 till July 2008

  • Mr. Olaf Mittelstaedt
    DAISY Implementer

    Working as head of production with the task of converting a small library for the blind in Switzerland from analogue to digital talking book production got me on to the DAISY consortium in 1999. Having completed that task, I then went on to assist the five other libraries for the blind in Switzerland with that conversion while training libraries in Germany, France, Mexico, Columbia, Egypt, South Africa, and Palestine in the use and workflow integration of digital talking book production based on the DAISY format and its software tools.

    I participated in the process of achieving the Marrakesh Treaty at WIPO, and am a member of the JCA-AHF group at ITU. Presently I am much involved with to further the reach and scope of

Transcript: Session 11

Women Engineers and Entrepreneurs: Challenges and Opportunities while facing lockdown

26 May 2020, 14:00 - 15:00 CEST (UTC+2)

This panel will discuss the complicated dynamics of managing personal and professional obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether taking care of a family, running a business, managing teams remotely, working from home and most disturbingly, seeing an increase in victims of domestic violence under lockdown, women across the world are faced with the challenge of balancing and addressing all these realities in their everyday lives. The panel will highlight some of the above mentioned challenges as well as share some tips and opportunities to overcome them using ICT’s and the resilience of women as key ingredients for success!

Moderator and Speakers
  • Ms. Denisse Salas
    IT Consultant, Master Scrum, in charge of e-platform SwissEngineering Geneva

    Denisse Salas is a Co-founder of WomenVai as well as a member of the committee of the Swiss Engineering section in Geneva (Switzerland). Being in constant reinvention of herself, her passions range from AI, gender equality and the environment.

    She graduated as a Systems Engineer, has a Master of Science HES-SO in engineering (ICT) and is a Master Scrum Professional. She has accumulated an abundance of life and work experience throughout her years from working and living in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe.

  • Ms. Yvette Ramos
    President of Swiss Engineering - Geneva Section
    Managing Director IP Law Firm

    Presentation: Challenges and Opportunities while Facing Lockdown

    Ms. Yvette Ramos has a Ms. Science of Engineering (electronics-telecom), EPF, France and Ms. Human Resource Management, MBA. With a background in Engineering and twenty five years professional experience, starting with a position of project manager in the industry (Schlumberger, Ascom) to expert in strategic planning and change management - including capacity development for telecom companies and hydromet services at international level - she has developed extensive experience on managing teams and projects abroad.

    Over the last twenty years, she has had the chance to work with international teams, both in the private and public sectors and in the business & development environment. She holds the position of expert at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – a specialized United Nations Agency - the Development Bureau, and the World Meteorological organization, both with HQ based in Geneva, Switzerland.

    She currently occupies the challenging position of project manager for the System Integrator of the AIRBM-2 World Bank project for the modernization of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology of Myanmar. All the while, being the first female president of the +100 years aged Swiss Engineering Geneva chapter and founder and president of WomenVai, an international NGO platform for innovative projects in Environment and High-Tech, led by women, and supported by both women AND men.

  • Ms. Lylian Coelho Ferreira
    Project Manager, Suez Group

    Presentation: Work Life Balance During and Post COVID 19

    Co-founder and Vice-President of the NGO WomenVai, Lylian Coelho Ferreira leads the project team according to the SDG’s. These include reducing GHG emissions, promoting gender equality and sharing solutions to mobilize volunteers, entrepreneurs and communities to accelerate the transition toward a more circular, united and ecological economy.

    She is an Engineer with 15+ years of experience in International Projects and BDM. She has worked in various industries ranging from automotive, water, and oil & gas. Currently, she leads Recycling and Waste Recovery Projects attached to the Development Direction of Public Tender Department at SUEZ R&V France.

    Joining INWES in 2008 as a speaker, she has since then organized several events such as ICWES, WEC, HultPrizeChallenge ,TEDXChampsElyséesW, COP24 and COP25.

  • Ms. Betty Bonnardel
    CEO & Founder AB5 Consulting LTD

    Presentation: Challenges and Opportunities while Facing Lockdown

    Ms.Betty Bonnardel is the CEO of AB5 Consulting LTD, an award-winning London SME developing innovative solutions in an enabled environment. A founding member of WomenVai, she supports a gender balance in STEM (ex-WES Trustee and ex-board member of International Women in Engineering and Science (INWES) Europe group). She is also a keen supporter of STEM careers and education.

    In 2014, she took part in the creation of the Women in Nuclear (WiN) chapter in the UK, taking the role of vice-president right from the start. She was also a member of the organising committee and a keynote speaker at 2016 WiN UK. Betty has managed complex international projects as well as developed her own.

  • Ms. Asma Brini
    CEO & Founder of ABSHORE

    Presentation: Managing Teams Remotely

    Ms. Asma Brini is a professional with more than 16 years of experience as an international consultant in different domains such as healthcare, banking and telecoms.

    Asma founded ABSHORE in 2012. A company specialized in Digital Transformation and Consultancy. Being in operation for more than 8 years, ABSHORE has experienced rapid growth in terms of its members, clients and partners.


Ensuring women's safety online amidst COVID-19 and beyond

4 June 2020, 15:00 – 16:00 CEST (UTC+2)

COVID-19 is being described as the first major pandemic of the social media age. With more than half of the world’s population under lockdown conditions by early April, women and girls are using the internet with greater frequency. In this context, emerging data shows that since the outbreak of COVID-19, online and ICT-facilitated violence against women and girls has increased in several countries. The webinar will highlight the key trends and impacts of ICT-facilitated violence against women and girls during COVID-19. It will focus on concrete actions taken by governments, women’s rights organizations and internet providers to strengthen women and girls’ safety online.

Presentation: Online and ICT Facilitated Violence Against Women and Girls during COVID-19 (EN)

Moderator and Speakers
  • Ms. Loly Gaitan
    Project Officer, ITU, EQUALS Hub

    Loly Gaitan is Project Officer of EQUALS Global Partnership to Bridge the Gender Digital Divide, an initiative with over 90 partners and co-founded by the International Telecommunication Union, the International Trade Centre, UN Women, GSMA and UN University.

    She has a wide experience working with quantitative and qualitative research methods to analyze international policy and development, specializing in technical assistance to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals with particular focus on SDG5 Gender Equality.

    Prior to joining ITU, Loly worked for the International Trade Centre’s flagship initiative for women’s economic empowerment SheTrades, supporting women entrepreneurs in developing and least developed countries, succeeding in international markets and as a researcher and lecturer in different universities of Latin America. She holds a Ph.D. in International Law and Economics from Bocconi University, Italy.

  • Ms. Lizzette Soria
    Policy Specialist, UN Women

    Lizzette Soria is a Policy Specialist in the area of ending violence against women section at UN Women. In headquarters, Lizzette provides technical advice to country policy and programming in the Latin America Region, Asia Pacific and West Africa region.

    Prior to joining the global team in New York in 2017, Lizzette was based in Papua New Guinea, UN Women Office, where she led the implementation of the Safe Public Transportation Programme for Women and Girls. She has over ten years of research on women’s safety in public spaces. Prior to joining UN Women, Lizzette worked as a gender expert holding previous posts at the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW), the World Resources Institute (WRI), and Oxfam. Lizzette holds a MSc in Urban Development from the Technical University of Darmstadt and a BA in sociology from McGill University.

  • Ms. Zarizana Abdul Aziz
    Co-founder of the Due Diligence Project

    Zarizana is a human rights lawyer and the co-founder of the Due Diligence Project. She was involved in legal reform initiatives on gender equality and anti-violence reform initiatives as legislative drafter in various countries as well as training of judges, lawyers, civil society advocates, religious scholars and government officials in several countries.

    Most recently, she was twice shortlisted for the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice. Zarizana was a Human Rights Fellow and subsequently visiting scholar at Columbia University. Zarizana was adjunct professor at Northeastern University School of Law, Boston, USA. She is currently adjunct professor at George Washington University, Washington DC, USA.

  • Ms. Peace Oliver Amuge
    Acting Coordinator, Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET)

    Peace works with Women of Uganda Network as the Acting Coordinator. She is a Communications practitioner who has over the years been involved in gender mainstreaming in policy advocacy, undertaking research studies on issues related to Gender & ICTs, implemented campaigns against online Gender Based Violence and initiatives that promote women’s digital human rights.

    Peace is passionate about writing and she’s written articles around internet rights and freedoms. She has been implementing different projects in both the rural and urban communities of Uganda. She has equally been speaking at global and regional conferences like RightsCon, Internet Governance Forum, Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa and Digital Rights Inclusion Forum, to name a few.

  • Ms. Mariana Lopez
    Senior Advocacy Manager, Connected Women Programme, GSMA

    Mariana is Senior Advocacy Manager for the GSMA Connected Women Programme. In this capacity, she develops evidence-based research and policy positions related to the advancement of women’s digital and financial inclusion. She also leads the GSMA’s engagement with key partners, such as the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, the World Bank Group, and various UN agencies. Prior to joining the GSMA she worked in financial consulting and as a researcher on the root causes of gender-based violence in conflict situations.

    Mariana holds a Masters in Global Governance and Diplomacy from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Development Policy and Management from the University of Manchester. She has also spent time studying in Harvard, Stanford, George Washington University and LSE.

  • Ms. Erika Smith
    Coordinator Take Back the Tech!, Association for Progressive Communications

    Erika Smith coordinates the Mexico activities and network, including strengthening APC WRP's network of partners and allies in Mexico and PARM. Contributing to and implementing APC WRP's capacity building strategy.

    Originally from the US, Erika has lived in Mexico for over two decades. She has been training women in Mexico on the use of computers and the internet since 1991, and has been a member of the APC Women's Rights Programme since 1994. Her educational background is in Latin American studies and women’s social movements. She is also on the board of the interpreter and translator collective Tlatolli Ollin/Words in Movement, dedicated to providing quality translation and interpretation on social justice issues.

    A part of WRP, Erika is responsible for the implementation of the Womanity Award for Gender and ICT to end violence against women / Take Back the Tech! Mexico, and integrates the capacity building strategy group within WRP.


Expanding mobile internet use during Covid-19 and beyond

9 June 2020, 14:00-15:00 CEST (UTC+2)

This session will look at the impact of Covid-19 on internet adoption and use. The discussion will also aim to uncover digital inclusion policies to pursue, as lockdowns are gradually eased and governments start to develop post-Covid-19 recovery plans.

Moderator and Speakers
  • Ms. Claire Sibthorpe
    Head of Connected Society, Connected Women and Assistive Technology – GSMA

    Claire is the Head of Connected Women, Connected Society and Assistive Tech at GSMA. These programmes are focused on accelerating digital inclusion for the underserved in low- and middle-income countries. Connected Women has a specific focus on accelerating digital and financial inclusion for women and Assistive Tech has a specific focus on advancing digital inclusion for those with disabilities.

    Claire has been working for over 20 years with public, private and international development organisations on social policy and service delivery with a focus on information and communications technology (ICT) policy and practice. She has developed, managed and implemented programmes in Africa, Asia and the UK. Claire holds an MSc in Social Research Methods (2012) and an MSc in Social Policy and Planning in Developing Countries (1997) from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

  • H.E. Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), PhD
    Minister of Communications and Digital Economy of Nigeria

    Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) FNCS, FBCS, FIIM MCPN is the Honourable Minister of Communications and first ever, of Digital Economy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Born on the 20th of October 1972, in Gombe state Nigeria, where he hails from, Dr Pantami graduated with a Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science (B-Tech), from the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa university (ATBU), and proceeded to acquire two Masters Degrees from the same institution in quick succession. One in Computer Science (MSc) and the other, an MBA in Technology Management with flying colours. From then on, there was no looking back, as his scholarly pursuits took him to far away United Kingdom to one of the best and highly respected and recognized educational institutions globally; the Robert Gordon University Aberdeen Scotland, where he bagged a Doctorate in Computer Science (PhD), specialising in Computer Information Systems.

    Under the leadership of Dr. Pantami, as the first ever Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, a Digital Economy Policy and Strategy is currently being reviewed for implementation by an ably qualified team. As a man of many firsts, his successes in the industry have led to unprecedented changes in the country.

    He also holds certificates in Digital Transformation from Harvard, Digital Strategy from both Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Institute of Management Development Loussaune, Switzerland, Strategic Leadership from Oxford University, and a University of Cambridge Certification in Management. The dynamic, inspirational agent of transformation, is also a conflict resolution expert with national and international experiences in that regard.

    The youthful, resourceful, hardworking and dedicated Dr. Pantami is a recipient of global awards too numerous to mention.

    Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) who is popularly known as the Digital Minister, is a global IT citizen, a revered and highly respected Fellow of the Nigerian and British Computer Societies, and is happily married with children.

  • Mr. Stephen Chege
    Chief Corporate Affairs Officer – Safaricom

    Stephen is responsible for the Corporate Affairs Division, which provides strategic support functions to Safaricom’s operations. These functions include the Regulatory and Public Policy, Legal and Secretarial Services; Corporate Responsibility (incorporating the Safaricom and M-PESA Foundations as well as Sustainability Reporting); and the Corporate Communications functions.

    Stephen has a wealth of telecommunications professional experience spanning over 14 years in various organisations, including Vodafone Group UK. He first joined Safaricom in 2006 as In-House Counsel, rising over the years to hold the position of Senior Manager, Public Policy & Market Regulation until 2011 when he was appointed Head of Regulatory and Public Policy. In April 2015, he became the Director, Corporate Affairs.

    An advocate of the High Court of Kenya, Stephen holds a Masters in Law (LL.M) in International Trade and Investment Law from the University of Nairobi and a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LL.B) from the same University and is a Certified Public Secretary. His a Trustee of the Safaricom Foundation, and a member of the Taskforce established under the Kenyan ICT Ministry to develop the Policy Framework and Critical Infrastructure Bill for the protection of critical ICT infrastructure.

  • Mr. Ali Naseer
    Chief Business Officer – Jazz, Pakistan

    Ali has been with Jazz, since 2016, and brings with him over 30 years of diverse experience in various industries and countries, in both the public and private sectors. He has been involved in collaborative projects and building relationships in developed and emerging markets, at the highest levels of government and industry.

    At Jazz, he has been heading the B2B Division, JazzBiz, that provides end-to-end solutions to corporate and enterprise customers. These include Cloud and Mobile Financial Payment products, besides the more traditional Fixed and GSM suite.

    Prior to Jazz, Ali spent over a decade with British American Tobacco (BAT), overseeing the Regulatory function across Asia-Pacific. This involved interacting with national governments besides international and multi-national organizations. Before BAT, Ali had a decade long career as a civil servant in Pakistan.

    He has a post-graduate diploma in Social Sector Development from the USA where he was a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow. He received his MSc. Studies, as a Chevening Scholar, from School of Oriental & African Studies, and prior to that completed his BSc. (Hons) degree in Government & Economics from the London School of Economics.

    Ali contributes to charitable causes, and is currently serving on the Board of the International School of Islamabad (ISOI) and the National Incubation Center in Islamabad). He is a founding trustee of Women on Boards. He is also Chairman of the Jazz Foundation, which is the non-profit arm of Jazz.

  • Mr. Davide Strusani
    Principal economist – TMT, Disruptive Technology and Funds, IFC

    At the IFC, Davide leads the economics team that focuses on telecoms, technology, digital services, venture and equity fund investing. As part of its role, Davide’s team assesses the development impacts of investments made by IFC in these industries and undertakes economic research to inform the development of private sector market in developing economies.

    Davide is a recognized expert on the role of communications and technology in delivering economic and social growth, having led numerous in-country campaigns aimed at focusing governments and sector regulators on the benefits of ICT.

    Davide has over 17 years of experience in development banks and top global consulting firms, working for over 50 large organizations including governments, private clients, industry organizations and NGOs, in 40 countries worldwide. Davide has worked extensively for digital players such as Google, Facebook and eBay. Davide is an expert of mobile connectivity and of telecom regulation and competition, and has studied in depth the evolution of competition policy across the digital ecosystem. Davide featured twice in The Economist as expert of the economic impacts of Hyperconnectivity, and one of his papers on a global study on the economic impacts of mobile broadband on growth has featured in the World Economic Forum Review. Davide is a regular speaker at the GSMA’s World Mobile Congress.


Ensuring quality higher education during public emergencies: Chinese Universities' e-learning capacity building experience in coping with COVID-19

16 June 2020, 14:00-15:00 CEST (UTC+2)

Universities and educational institutions around the world are facing great challenges in terms of securing the well-being of their students and staff while continuing with curriculums as COVID-19 unfolds. Capacity building in coping with public emergencies is indubitably at the top of the agenda for universities to rethink the role that e-learning plays in higher education by integrating remote technology with pedagogical approaches.

As one of the leading universities both domestic and international wide, Tsinghua University (China) has become the pioneer for experimenting with e-learning pedagogies in the context of technological advancement. The creation of XuetangX platform also signifies its devotion to promoting e-learning solutions for all in the domain of higher education.

The webinar will highlight the process of e-learning capacity building in China through various aspects, including technological advancement, policies, teaching outcome and the future of e-learning.

Moderator and Speakers
  • Mr. François Grey (GTI)
    Director of the Geneva Tsinghua Initiative, University of Geneva

    Professor François Grey is the Director of the Geneva Tsinghua Initiative with a background in nanotechnology. He also has broad experience in science management, teaching, and communication in the United States, China, Japan, Germany, Denmark, and Switzerland. As an invited professor at the Centre Universitaire d’Informatique (CUI) of the University of Geneva since 2014, he coordinates Citizen Cyberlab, manages the development of technologies for crowdsourced research, explores the broader impact of citizen science for society, and promotes public participation in science through hands-on events. He also teaches courses on Open Science and Citizen Science at the Bachelor and Master level. Since 2016 he has been the Director of the Geneva Tsinghua Initiative, a comprehensive education program for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. From 2016-18 he was the Director of Digital Strategy for the University of Geneva.

  • Mr. Shuaiguo Wang
    President of XuetangX

    Shuaiguo Wang is the President of XuetangX, an online learning platform founded by Tsinghua University. Prior to joining XuetangX, he was responsible for the research of online education in Tsinghua. His MOOC was awarded the National MOOC of China, with over 70,000 enrollments. In 2015, he founded Rain Classroom, which is the most active teaching tool for higher education in China. Wang also holds a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree in Computer Science from Tsinghua University.

  • Ms. Zhou Zhong
    Associate Professor of Institute of Education, Tsinghua University

    Zhou Zhong is the Associate Professor of Educational Research Institute of Tsinghua University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature at Peking University and both Master’s and Ph.D. in Education at Oxford University. She worked as the 29th Olympic Games International Broadcasting Center (IBC) Venue Operation Center Manager and Volunteer Deputy Manager. Her research areas include international and comparative education, higher education, education evaluation, university teaching, Chinese education history, and Western education history.


5G Technology for COVID-19 Prevention and Control

18 June 2020, 14:00-15:00 CEST (UTC+2)

Ever since the beginning of 2020, COVID-19 has been posing a huge threat to the safety and health of all humanity and has severely impacted the global economy. Digital Technology such as 5G is playing a very important role in responding to the pandemic. This WSIS TalkX will give a comprehensive introduction on 5G Technology for COVID-19 Prevention and Control from related aspects including 5G policy, application and network security.

Moderator and Speakers
  • Mr. Malcolm Johnson
    ITU Deputy Secretary-General

    Opening Remarks delivered by Malcolm Johnson, ITU Deputy Secretary-General

  • Ms. Wang Zhiqin
    Vice President, China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT)

    Ms. Wang Zhiqin is the Vice President of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT). She is the Chair of the Wireless Technical Committee of China Communications Standards Association (CCSA) and Vice Director of the Wireless and Mobile Technical Committee of China Institute of Communications (CIC). She has long been dedicated to the in-depth studies on mobile communications technologies and standards, serving as Chair of the IMT-2020(5G)Promotion Group in China.

  • Ms. Jeanine Vos
    Head of SDG Accelerator, GSMA

    Presentation: Mobile industry's response to the COVID-19 pandemic

    Jeanine Vos is Head of SDG Accelerator at the GSMA. Working with members and partners across the public and private sector, Jeanine’s mission is to fast-track mobile innovations and demonstrate transformational industry leadership to help realise the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. She heads up a cross-functional team delivering initiatives that help create a sustainable future for the planet and people. This includes monitoring the mobile industry’s impact on the SDGs, fast-tracking the development of mobile big data analytics and AI, and advancing sustainable and responsible business models and practices.

    Jeanine leads strategy and delivery, working closely with mobile operators and ecosystem partners to identify, prioritise and execute activities, and communicate findings. The GSMA represents the interests of 1000+ companies in the mobile communications industry worldwide.

    Prior to this, Jeanine was Executive Director, Connected Living at the GSMA, leading initiatives to help unlock the consumer, societal and business benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT). Jeanine launched projects and strategic partnerships in digital health, mobile learning, smart cities and connected cars to drive innovation and unlock market opportunities.

    Before joining the GSMA in 2005, Jeanine worked at T-Mobile in the areas of Public Policy and Strategy. She holds an MSc from the Delft University of Technology and an MSc from the London School of Economics.

  • Ms. Ren Haiying
    Leader of the 5G Medical Standards Working Group, Institute of Cloud Computing and Big Data, China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT)

    Presentation: Leveraging 5G to help COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control

    Engaged in 5G professional research, completed the Beijing Natural Science Foundation Project and National Natural Science Foundation. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, combined with the application of 5G technology in the COVID-19 epidemic and wrote a number of research reports.

  • Mr. Emmanuel Coelho Alves
    Senior Marketing Director, Huawei

    Presentation: 5G Use Cases in the Time of Covid-19

    Emmanuel holds a Master Degree in Computer Science and has 25+ years working experience in telecommunications. He has joined Huawei in 2008 to focus on LTE/LTE-Advanced. Since 2016, Emmanuel is involved into 5G solution Emmanuel has held various management positions in R&D, Products Management and Marketing for both radio and core networks. In past 25+ years he has been involved in network planning, 3GPP standardization, R4 soft-switch, IMS/NGN, 3G/4G/4.5G/5G and mobile data applications. Emmanuel has an extensive experience about the development of wireless networks based on frequent communications with operators and other industry players.

  • Dr. Li Xiaofan, PhD
    Deputy Director, Division of Product Capability, Department of Government and Enterprise Service, China Mobile

    Presentation: 5G contributes to fight COVID-19 and support work resumption

    She is committed to working on industrial informatization research, product management & marketing, and development of 5G innovative applications. She leads team to push forward 5G project development in vertical industries, build industry platform, launch 5G applications, promote cooperation with partners, conduct development of 5G technology integrated with various industries, to realize nationwide promotion and drive cross-border innovation.

  • Mr. Han Kaifeng
    Engineer, Institute of Policy and Economics Research, China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT)

    Presentation: Leveraging the power of 5G to respond to the COVID-19

    Focused on policies and strategies of cutting-edge ICTs including 5G, Artificial Intelligence, etc.


Accelerating progress on the SDGs through Information and Communication Technologies and WSIS Action Lines

26 October 2020, 15:00 – 16:00 CET (UTC+1)

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are progressing rapidly and affecting people’s daily lives in the digital era. To an unprecedented extent during the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of ICTs has been critical in responding to crisis. The importance of ICTs is specifically recognized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a crucial enabler in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and as a catalyst for development.

The annual World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum is a global UN multistakeholder platform that facilitates the implementation of the SDGs through the WSIS Action Lines. It serves as a framework for all stakeholders in realising the SDG goals. Through its effective implementation, the WSIS Action Lines can help accelerate the achievement of the SDGs. The WSIS Forum is a fast-growing platform that provides a fully multistakeholder vision and identifies emerging trends while providing recommendation on the future of the implementation of the WSIS Action Lines.

This session will focus on the WSIS Action Lines and the alignment of the WSIS and SDGs processes, including WSIS Forum, WSIS Stocktaking, WSIS Prizes, and WSIS TalkX to name a few. Reflecting the true spirit of the WSIS Forum, which is about collaboration and partnership, this session will also highlight the importance of global partnerships towards leveraging ICTs as critical drivers of development. This echoes the aspiration of World Development Information Day, which this session marks, that called for a stronger international cooperation to solve global development issues, in which ICTs can be used as transformative solutions in fostering sustainable development.

Moderator and Speakers
  • Mr Malcolm Johnson
    Deputy Secretary-General, ITU

  • H.E. Ambassador Ms Katrina Naut
    Permanent Representative of Dominican Republic to the United Nations, Geneva

  • H.E. Ambassador Prof. Dr. Milica Pejanović-Đurišić
    Permanent Representative of Montenegro to the United Nations, New York

  • H.E. Dr. Ahmed Altheneyan
    Deputy Minister for Digital Capabilities, from Saudi Arabia
    Winner in WSIS Prizes 2020 Category 8, Cultural Diversity and Local Content

  • Mr Giacomo Rambaldi
    Development Practitioner, IAPAD, former CTA Netherlands
    Winner in WSIS Prizes 2020 Category 13, ICT Applications: e-Agriculture

  • Ms. Reine Essabmadje
    Co-Founder Digital Coalition - Cameroon, France, Gabon, Germany

  • Moderator
    Mr. Yushi Torigoe
    Chief of Department, SPM, ITU


ICTs for Building Back Better: Toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World

3 December 2020, 14:00 – 15:15 CET (UTC+1)
(International Day of Persons with Disabilities)

The WSIS TalkX is an interactive talk series that is dedicated to sharing experiences and inspirational stories about ICTs for development by stakeholders all over the world. This virtual session will be held to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and will highlight efforts and initiatives to advance ICTs accessibility and promote digital inclusion.


Mr. Malcolm Johnson
Deputy Secretary-General, ITU

The panel will comprise of high-level experts from Government, Private Sector, Academia and Civil Society

  • H.E. Ms. Alya Ahmed bin Saif Al-Thani
    Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, New York

    Ambassador Al-Thani was appointed Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations in October 2013. An international though leader on human rights, social justice and sustainable development issues, Ambassador Al-Thani has authored and facilitated numerous ground-breaking General Assembly Resolutions dealing with issues such as international day to protect education from attack, the right to education in emergencies, autism, and improving the effectiveness and coordination of military and civil defence assets for natural disaster response, among others.

    Since assuming her functions, she has played a key leadership role in numerous initiatives such as Chairperson of the Fiftieth Session of the Commission on Population and Development (2017). Ambassador Al-Thani has co-facilitated several critical processes, such as the intergovernmental negotiations on the Declaration for the Commemoration of the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the United Nations (2020); the General Assembly Resolution establishing the modalities for the 25th anniversary for the Beijing platform for action for women (2019); the Review of the Economic and social Council (ECOSOC) (2018); and the preparations for the high-level meeting to appraise the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons (2017).

    She has initiated several United Nations Group of Friends, and currently co-chairs the Group of Friends for Gender Parity, the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect; and the Group of Friends to Assist on the international, impartial and independent mechanism (IIIM) to assist in the investigation in crimes committed in Syria.

    Between 2011 and 2013, Ambassador Al-Thani was Qatar’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and General Consul of the State of Qatar to the Swiss Federation. During the same period, she represented Qatar in the UN Human Rights Council, the Executive Council of the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Executive Council of the International Labour Organization (ILO). She also held the prestigious post of President of the Social Forum of the Human Rights Council.

    Prior to this, from 2007 to 2011, she held several posts the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar in New York, including as Deputy Permanent Representative. Earlier in her career, Ambassador Al-Thani held a number of positions in Qatar, including as Director of the Department on the Rights of the Child in Qatar’s Supreme Council for Family Affairs.

    Ambassador Al-Thani sits on the boards of several international human rights and development organizations. She is the recipient of prestigious awards, including being selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum Committee to improving the State of the World in 2013.

    She holds a M.A. in International Studies and Diplomacy from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Qatar University.

  • H.E. Ms Haidi Zhang
    Chairperson, China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF)

    Ms. Zhang Haidi, Chairperson of China Disabled Persons’ Federation(CDPF), President of Rehabilitation International(RI), Executive President of Beijing Organising Committee of the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

    She was afflicted with spinal cord angioma at the age of five and became paralysed from the chest down. Being unable to attend school due to her disability, she taught herself the curriculum of primary school to university, and obtained a master’s degree in philosophy from Jilin University. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by University of York UK and an honorary doctorate of Arts and Humane Letters by University of Massachusetts Boston US. She has also published novels, essays and translated works as an accomplished writer and translator.

    As Chairperson of CDPF, Haidi has worked for the equal opportunities of the 85 million persons with disabilities to rehabilitation, education, employment, etc. in China. Haidi calls for concrete actions to ensure persons with disabilities access to information and communication on an equal basis with others. Haidi promoted the establishment of a database, through which the management of disability affairs becomes more procedure-based and thus creates conditions for the inclusive development of persons with disabilities. After taking office in 2016 as President of RI, she has led the organization in empowering persons with disabilities and promoting social inclusion, bringing new vitality to this almost century-old organization.

  • Ms. Amela Odobašić
    Director of Broadcasting, Communications Regulatory Agency in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rapporteur of Question 7/1 at ITU

    Ms. Amela Odobašić is Director of Broadcasting of Communications Regulatory Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Besides, Ms. Odobasic is Vice-Chair to Study Group 1 for Europe and Rapporteur for the Study Group 1 Question 7 “Access to telecommunications/ICT Services by persons with disabilities and other persons with specific needs”, for the mandate 2018-2021. She is a fervent advocate for promoting and protecting fundamental human rights and believes that digital and social inclusion should be ensured not only for persons with disabilities but for All.

  • Mr. Richard Orme
    Chief Executive, DAISY Consortium

    When teaching at agricultural college Richard encountered his first blind student, beginning a career in what we now call accessibility. Over 30 years later his roles have included software developer, product designer, technical trainer, executive manager and campaigner. Richard has benefitted from working with hundreds of visually impaired and otherwise disabled children and adults in developed and developing countries. Now as CEO of the DAISY Consortium ensures that specialist organisations around the world have the best technologies to make accessible books, and collaborates with publishers and technology companies to ensure that educational and other published materials are accessible to people with disabilities.

  • Prof. M. Balakrishnan
    Professor, CSE Department, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India

    M. Balakrishnan is a professor in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. He is the founder of ASSISTECH lab as well as an assistive technology startup, Raised Lines Foundation. Through ASSISTECH lab, he has worked on various projects related to enhancing mobility and education of persons with visual impairment. The various projects including SmartCane, DotBook, OnBoard and Tactile Books primarily for STEM education, apart from being very affordable, also address the specific challenges of the public infrastructure of India and other low income countries. He is a recipient of three national awards and ACM Eugene L Lawler award for his work in the disability space.

  • Ms. Sarah Boulter
    Customer Success Manager | Modern Work, Microsoft Switzerland

    Ms. Boulter is a Customer Success Manager for modern work (M365), she helps customers to drive value of their investment through adoption and change management, focusing on the people side of the change. Furthermore she is the Western Europe Customer Success Managers Champion for D&I since July 2019. Since September 2020 Ms. Boulter has been a member of the Western Europe One Commercial Accessibility Program. She helps her organization and customers drive accessibility through leveraging Microsoft Modern Work (M365) technology. Ms. Boulter is delving more into the technical aspects of her organization's offerings and is very interested in how the life-cycle is evolving with the transition to the cloud, what this means for the customers and how it changes processes, and how her organization will continue to make their technology accessible to as many people as possible. She values the trusted partnership with customers and learning new things every day.

  • Mr. José Rubinger Filho
    Co-Founder & CCO, key2enable
    WSIS Photo Contest 2020 Finalist

    Mission-driven serial entrepreneur graduated in Electronics and Business administration, creating sustainable businesses that benefit social, education, and health sectors for the past 20 years. Result-oriented, Mr. Rubinger enjoys building strategic relationships with both internal and external stakeholders with a track record of business development and strategic partnerships activation between the public and private sectors. Working with Special Education and Assistive technology for the past 7 years.


People with disabilities represent 15% of the world's population, meaning about 1 billion people globally. Given the growing proliferation of devices in our lives, it is vital that Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) or rare diseases can fully access Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and use ICTs for their social and economic development. Digital accessibility is key to ensuring respect for everyone’s right to participate in an interconnected world, as it enables digital inclusion and inclusive discourse for all people – regardless of age, gender, ability, or location. Common examples of accessibility features include: voice-to-text conversion (captioning), automated sub-titles and sign language for the deaf or hard of hearing and expandable font sizes. Further, digital accessibility is recognized as a key priority in various global commitments related to inclusiveness, such as: the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy.

ICTs also offer hope for improving the quality of life and social inclusion for Persons with Disabilities now and in the future, including: brain-to-machine interfaces, self-directed mobility aids and autonomous cars. Persons with Disabilities can suffer from a wide range of conditions, from congenital conditions to specialized needs brought about by rare diseases, injuries inflicted though accident or illness, impairments to sensory or perception loss or age-related illnesses. Making ICTs and ICT services accessible is more than a human rights issue or a question of justice and equality of access to communications, information, and opportunities for all. ICTs can make a notable difference to the quality of life of people living with difficult or debilitating conditions or disabilities.

ITU is committed to advancing ICT accessibility and its implementation while promoting digital accessibility to leaving no one behind. The ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2018 renewed ITU's mandate in the area of ICT accessibility, in ITU Resolution 175 (Rev. 2018) on “Telecommunication/ICT accessibility for Persons with Disabilities and persons with specific needs”. It also approved the Connect 2030 Agenda, which sets out the vision, goals and targets that ITU and its Member States have committed to achieve by 2023. The Connect 2030 Agenda includes a bold target directed towards cultivating government commitment to make the ICT sector inclusive of Persons with Disabilities and specific needs: Target 2.9: Enabling environments ensuring accessible telecommunication/ICT for persons with disabilities should be established in all countries by 2023. All three ITU Sectors have approved specific resolutions on accessibility at their respective Conferences. Through its different Recommendations, ITU aims to ensure the accessibility of ICTs, reduce the digital disabilities divide, and support the advancement of the global disability-inclusive agenda and the development of inclusive digital communities.

World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum’s contribution to ICTs and Accessibility
WSIS Forum, coordinated by ITU and co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAD has been working in close coordination with various accessibility groups since the first annual WSIS Forum event in 2009. At the request of stakeholders, in 2019, a special track was developed: ICTs and Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities and Specific Needs, and since then the WSIS Forum has served as a platform to bring together numerous experts and practitioners aiming to inform and observe how ICTs can help people living with disabilities while focusing on progressing towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In 2020, the virtual WSIS Forum 2020 conducted a mini-series of five sessions, which attracted close to 500 persons and engaged them in discussions.


Useful Resources:

ICTs and Civil Aviation: Trends, Opportunities and Challenges

7 December 2020, 14:00 – 15:00 CET (UTC+1)
(UN International Civil Aviation Day)

This session will present an overview of the role that ICT plays in modern civil aviation, and the contribution of all Stakeholders including UN organizations like ICAO and ITU, in making aviation safe and competitive. The current status of wireless communication and navigation systems used in aircraft design, flight operations and passenger entertainment will be highlighted, and the challenges the aviation community is facing will be discussed. The session will also look at the future emerging communication and aeronautical technologies, such as state-of-the-art plane concepts, unmanned aircraft, sub-orbital flights.


Mr. Mario Maniewicz
Director, Radiocommunication Bureau, ITU

  • Mr. Stephen P. Creamer
    Director, Air Navigation Bureau, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

    Steve Creamer is the new Director of the Air Navigation Bureau at ICAO, taking responsibility for the role in April 2015. Steve has held a number of executive and managerial positions at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration with over 33 years’ experience in the Air Traffic and International Aviation organizations. They include serving as FAA Regional Office Director for Europe, Africa and the Middle East; and serving as a member of the ICAO Air Navigation Commission.

    Steve began his career in air traffic operations, eventually managing all Alaskan and North Pacific airspace, pioneering new airspace use techniques that improved capacity and access for all operators. More recently his work has broadened to the international implementation of procedures and technology systems that improve aviation safety, with a careful eye toward retaining capacity and efficiency.

  • Mr. John Mettrop
    Spectrum Policy Specialist Civil Aviation Authority, UK and Chairman of the ITU-R Working Party 5B, ITU

    John is the spectrum policy lead for the UK Civil Aviation Authority and the chairman of Working Party 5B that is the responsible group for aeronautical, maritime and radiodetermination issues. He also routinely attends ICAO, CEPT and ETSI meetings related to aeronautical spectrum issues.

  • Ms. Lisa Cokisa Tele
    Project Planning Manager, Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS)

    Lisa is the Planning Project Manager for the South African Air Navigation Service Provider (ATNS). She is the SWG chairman of ITU Working Party 5B that is responsible for aeronautical, maritime and radiodetermination issues. She is also South African Panel member at ICAO. She participates in ATU meetings on aeronautical spectrum related issues.

  • Mr. Philip Balaam
    President, Aviation, Inmarsat

    Phil is responsible for delivering the Aviation Business Unit’s business plan in line with its growth strategy. This includes secure cockpit communications, business aviation and commercial airline cabin connectivity.

  • Mr. Joe Cramer
    Director - Regulatory Affairs, The Boeing Company

    Joe Cramer is a Senior Manager with The Boeing Company’s Global Spectrum Management Organization, in its Washington, DC Office. Joe focuses on regulatory and policy issues, particularly civil and military aviation spectrum and technology issues. Joe began his career working for the United States Congress where he focused on legislative policy issues impacting transportation, science and business interests. Subsequently, he worked for Rockwell Collins and Lockheed Martin in managerial roles in their Washington DC offices leading government affairs efforts on aerospace, technology and radio frequency spectrum policy and regulatory issues.

    Joe is the aerospace industry representative to the ICAO Frequency Spectrum Management Panel. He serves and has served in leadership roles in several radio frequency and technology related advisory committees. Joe actively participates in ITU-R groups, focusing on topics related to aviation and aerospace. In the U.S., he represents Boeing domestically before Executive Branch agencies.

    Joe has a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering, a Juris Doctor (law) degree from the Catholic University, Columbus School of Law in Washington DC, and a Masters in Business Administration.

  • Youth Representative
    Mr. Nicolaos Episkopou
    Aircraft Dismantling Operations, H&S Engineer, Project Development, Pegasus Flight Center/ WSIS Intern

    Nicolaos Episkopou, 25 years old, recent graduate with MSc Aerospace Engineering and Management. Currently working at Pegasus Flight Center and ITU in WSIS Team. The expertise in the Aerospace Sector is the reduction of emissions and sustainable aviation in the Future.

Participants link to register to join the session:


Upcoming Sessions


The WSIS Team is organizing and coordinating the Virtual WSIS TalkX, however the content is stakeholder driven, and the statements, opinions, and conclusions expressed in the WSIS TalkX do not reflect the views of the organizers. We regret any errors or omissions that may be unwittingly made.