The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has been committed to connecting the world for over 140 years. Founded on 17 May 1865 as the International Telegraph Union, it is the world's oldest international organization, and has played a key role in building today's vast interconnected infocommunication networks spanning telephone, radio, television, satellite systems, mobile and wireless communications and Internet technologies. It became a specialized agency of the United Nations in 1947, and in 2004 was named one of the world's top ten most enduring institutions by global consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton.
ITU is unique among UN agencies in having a mix of public and private sector members who work together to build global consensus on the development and deployment of information and communication technologies (ICTs) around the world. In 2003/2005 it served as the lead agency for the two-phase UN World Summit on the Information Society, which saw 175 countries pledge to bring the benefits of ICTs to all of humanity by 2015.
ITU membership includes 191 Member States and
more than 700 private Sector Members and Associates, including all the world's major ICT equipment and service providers.
ITU's Booz Allen Hamilton award celebrated institutions that "have reinvented themselves time and again - and remained market leaders - as the unique circumstances of their founding have given way to changing conditions." Praising its highly effective information flow, the panel said ITU "exemplifies internally what it represents externally - a facilitator of information and communication infrastructure."
ITU fulfils its mandate of connecting the world through three organizational Sectors. These Sectors: