Saturday, June 04, 2005

The conference is over, but not the process

It was very early this morning. I was up at 4.30h in order to get to the airport. My Belgian friend Rudi and I went by cab to the airport were our ways split as he was flying a different airline and he was going to Brussels and I to Amsterdam. He told me about the plan in Belgian to give every person an e-mail address with your own name for a year free. It is an old idea which was around when ISOC hit Europe, but it has not been executed in any country. But perhaps now the time is RIPE (this is a pun: RIPE is a European Internet organisation established in the eighties). But serious, now it might work as governments see a tool in it to approach the people in a friendly way and can attach personal codes to it, if people want that. Of course privacy issues have to be solved there. But I would not mind seeing this idea being realised.

Last night the meeting closed at 17.30h. But it did not mean that the process stops from this point. In fact during the last session it became that especially the younger audience would not be happy with a condensed political statement. So it was promised by the chair that the process would continue in a kind of forum. While th political statement would be brought to the preparation committee. The statement will be accompanied by a paper summing up the results of the workshops and the continuing process. This might become an interesting forum.

The conference might have ended but meetings and negotiations still lasted till 21.00h. Peter, the initiator of the conference is such a meeting tiger. But by 21.00h he had to leave; otherwise I guess it would have been 1.00h in the morning before we finished. Of course the farewell was very emotional. The organising team of ICNM left for Salzburg. Josie is going back to Indonesia, Waheed to Bahrain, Cai to Finland, Concescao to Portugal, tall Martin to Ireland, Vlado to Slovakia (just a 60 km car ride), Melita from Slovenia, Sammy to Romenia and Shaunneen to Canada. And these are only few of the names of the people that were there.

Josie and Melita, two eminent experts of the Dubai Grand Jury 2003. In the back the lcamera and the lights of the Austrian television, which recorded the conference and broadcasted it through Internet. Posted by Hello

Altogether, the conference was a high profile event with a lot politician and with people genuinely fighting for causes. There were national experts of the World Summit Award and jury members of the Europrix Top Talent Award; they are people interested in the spread of best-practices and quality content. Many aspects of creativity were looked. Like in e-learning and e-Government it I clear that the phase of providing services and acceptance is reaching a certain maturity. But so far the benefits of e-learning are not really clear yet. Do people learn better with or through computers? Do citizens become better citizens by computers or are democratic processes inspired by computers and creativity, e.g. people discussing neighbourhood matters through webcam programs. It was clear that computer can generate creative use, but only after a phase of growing up with a computer. So now we will have to use our creativity to yield new communities and experiences. And that is not gong to be easy, as some older people are trying to catch on on Internet through senior webs (e.g. the Italian project of Sylvia) and youngsters might have mastered SMS, MSN and more, but still have to become media literate and skilled.

It is only that I found out today that the conference was broadcasted live through the Internet by Austrian television. What a pity I did not know. I could have directed the readers of the blog to the site. And my wife Mary at home in Utrecht could have been present and could have perhaps caught a glimpse of me…. Oh well, this was Vienna.I am now back at home and go to sleep.

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