Using Practical Information Technologies Applications in the Pursuit of E-education
The third in a series of UN Ambassadors’ Breakfast Meetings organized under the auspices of the UN ECOSOC Working Group on Informatics, in collaboration with the Association for Information Technologies (aitglobal.com), took place June 12 at the Mission of Australia to the United Nations, in New York. The Breakfast’s Theme was Using Practical Information Technologies Applications in the Pursuit of E-education. The Breakfast brought together twelve ambassadors, representatives of the private sector, universities and the trade press.
Australia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Penelope Wensley, graciously hosted the Breakfast. Ambassador Percy M. Mangoaela, Chairman of the Working Group, sponsored the Breakfast. Ambassador Mangoaela’s opened the Breakfast by explaining to all present that, The purpose of this Breakfast is to generate ideas – ideas that will germinate into action - between the Public and Private Sectors, to assist the UN Diplomatic Community and Nations, to gain the maximum benefits available through E-education. AIT facilitated the meeting, under the guidance of AIT President Mike Lackey, and AIT Member Mike Lee.
|As always, our Breakfasts include the time and mood for lively and worthwhile networking||Ambassadors Mangoaela and Wensley, our gracious sponsor and host|
UN Ambassadors present at the Breakfast included Penny Wensley (Australia), Ivan Simonovic (Croatia), Vladimir Galuska (Czech Republic), Bob F. Jalamg'o (Kenya), Percy Mangoaela (Lesotho), Isa Ayad Babaa (Libya), Jorge Eduardo Navarrete (Mexico), and Shamshad Ahmed (Pakistan). Ambassador June Clark (Barbados), and Denis Gilhooly, Director ICT, United Nations Development Program, had schedule conflicts and couldn’t attend the Breakfast.
Co-Technology Leaders from the Private Sector at the Breakfast included Paul Nemirovsky, PH D, co-founder and CEO, KeyBridge Corp.; Rama A. Chakaki, VP, KeyBridge; David Keown, Associate Dean, Information and Communications Services, Columbia University Business School; Cheryl Hardy, Vice President, CXO Media; and, Robert L. Manuel, Chief Information Technology Officer, The School of Continuing and Professional Studies, New York University. Press Members present at the Breakfast included Steve Miller, Technical Writer, The New York Times; Eric Auchard, Correspondent, Reuters; and, Abbie Lundberg, Editor-in-Chief, CIO Magazine.
|Mike Lackey and Ambassador Mangoaela share a happy moment with the rest of the attendees||
Breakfast attendees on the left side of the table
Nemirovsky, PH D, co-founder and CEO of KeyBridge Corp., opened the
discussion by stressing that, E-Education
depends on the quality of educational applications, as well as, the cost
efficiency and performance of Internet infrastructure.
Specialized Internet infrastructure service providers, like
Keybridge, with scalable web hosting, security, storage, network
management services drive the economics of E-Education by reducing unit
costs. A successful
E-education model depends on a sound business model with insightful
understanding of the specialized educational market.
David Keown noted that, Abstract technology solves very little.
E-education is incredibly limited (both in its impact and
durability) if it is not blended with a supporting social structure of
some type. Cheryl
Hardy, VP, CXO Media, confirmed Keown’s view, by pointing out that,
It is really important to think of "E-learning" in the purest
digital sense when deciding upon what type of format is the most
appropriate for your audience. Infrastructure will come in time. But learning can't wait.
Therefore, in many instances it is a combined solution.
Cassette and VHS tapes for those remote African
countries. Satellites are available for those who are lucky enough to
have access to the equipment and airtime.
Then a combination of satellite, tapes and one-on-one teaching can
be used to further disseminate the learning.
Understand your audience - the way they learn as individuals - and
build upon this knowledge to slowly introduce additional opportunities and
Breakfast attendees on the right side of the table, as
seen over Ambassador Shamshad Ahmed’s shoulder, included (left to
Dr. Paul Nemirovsky (President and CEO, KeyBridge Corp.),
Rama A. Chakaki (Vice President, KeyBridge Corp.), Steve Miller (Technical Writer, New York Times),
David Keown (Associate Dean, Columbia University School of Business), and
Cheryl Hardy (Vice President, CXO Media)
|Ambassador Isa Ayad Babaa (Libya), Abby Lundberg, Editor, CIO Magazine, Dr. Paul Nemirovsky, PH. D., President and CEO of KeyBridge Corp., and Ambassador Shamshad Ahmed (Pakistan), share a thoughtful moment|
A keen interest was shown by each of the Ambassadors present at the Breakfast. Each wanted to know as much as possible, albeit in the short time allowed, how E-education could be economically brought on a wider basis into their countries. Naturally, each understood the need for a networked infrastructure, both technically and socially, to be at least partially in place before E-education could gain a stronghold. But, at least a partial infrastructure is better than no infrastructure. Economic and social growth depends on education for the masses. As events turned out, each of the Ambassadors was open to learning more about how to do just that!
Rama A. Chakaki, VP,
Marketing, at KeyBridge, picked-up on the need for a strong infrastructure
mentioned by Hardy. Chakaki
commented that, Managed Service Providers host
virtual campuses enabling distance learning through the support of
infrastructure for E-education. This brings the opportunity to host virtual
educational forums to enrich both students and faculty alike at controlled
costs. Students in my country of origin, and other developing
nations are given the opportunity to gain an education from remote scholars via
the online experience.
the Breakfast was another successful ICT endeavor under the leadership of
Ambassador Percy Mangoaela, Chairman of the United Nations ECOSOC Working Group
on Informatics. Ambassador
Mangoaela proudly stated, The ICT Breakfasts organized for the Ambassadors by
my Working Group and AIT are clearly filling a void in the need for increased
knowledge of the many ways Information and Communications Technologies (ICT)
will provide the engine for global sustainable development.
This sustainable development must and will reach into every Nation, every
outpost of civilization, and every household.
We must ensure the light of E-education does not extinguish; and, we must
move forward to spread the fruitful visions of success sought by all.
In summing up the benefits of having the UN’s Diplomatic Community interface directly with the Private Sector, Rob Manuel from NYU spoke the feelings of all of the Breakfast’s Participants, when he said, This working group brought together a diverse group of professionals and policy makers. The conversation got well beyond formalities, and identified real issues in the world of E-learning. I have been part of few discussions that have had as large a scope, diverse representation, or broad reaching consequences. I am sure I took more than I offered at this event.