Virtual WSIS TalkX


Starting in April, at the request of WSIS Stakeholders, the WSIS Team will host a weekly virtual WSIS TalkX the for WSIS Stakeholders to interact, connect and collaborate. Preparing towards the WSIS Forum 2020, High-level Track Facilitators, Workshop Organizers, WSIS Prizes 2020 Champions and others will be conducting virtual interactive talks highlighting their linkages with the WSIS Action Lines and SDGs.

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.


Upcoming Sessions

Ensuring women’s safety online amidst COVID-19

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

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,internet providers and mobile operators to strengthen women’s safety online. It will also bring examples on how partnerships such as EQUALS can help to leverage common actions and bring different stakeholders together to scale up impact and efforts.

Register to join the zoom webinar:…
Real-time human captioning:…

Moderator and Speakers:

  • Ms. Loly Gaitan - Project Officer, ITU, EQUALS Hub
  • Ms. Lizzette Soria - Policy Specialist, UN Women
  • Ms. Zarizana Abdul Aziz - Co-founder of the Due Diligence Project
  • Ms. Erika Smith - Coordinator Take Back the Tech!, Association for Progressive
  • Ms. Mariana Lopez - Senior Advocacy Manager, Connected Women Programme, GSMA

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.

Register to join the zoom webinar:…
Real-time human captioning:…

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.


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.