Monday, October 13, 2008

BPN 1249 Happy Anniversary to the Dubai EE

It was the Brazilian Eminent Expert Marcello Sant’Iago (see photograph), who reminded me of the fifth anniversary of the World Summit Award Grand Jury event in Dubai in September 2003. It looks like such a long time ago, certainly if you consider that in the meantime three Grand Jury events have taken place and the next one is on the schedule for next year. The Dubai Grand Jury event was great for more than one reason.

The Dubai Grand Jury event was the first coming out of the World Summit Award (WSA). All effort so far had been in the light of setting up an organisation to support a global multimedia competition. In 2003 the first UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was going to be held in Geneva (Switzerland). The WSA had been conceived as a support event to the UN Summit showing what the Information Society was already up to. The competition had been set up on the Olympic Games principle that every country could participate and 136 countries did in the first edition.

Unique was the first band of 35 jurors. They had been selected on the basis of written profiles (no photographs attached to the CVs) by the provisional board. Funny enough the final selection did not differ much from the selections by the individual board members’ selection. They came from all over the globe and did not know each other. But many a friendship was closed and is still in effect. The Grand Jury members selected 5 entries per category (8 categories in total). The selection of 2003 winners still can be seen on the WSA site. They were brought to the exhibition in Geneva.

Dubai offered hospitality to the first WSA Grand Jury. And Emirate people were fabulous hosts. They had prepared a quiet space for jury members to check on the entries as well as a hall for deliberations under the direction of the initiator and process manager Peter Bruck. It was hard work for the jury members to get through all the entries and judge them fairly. But they did . And the hosts had prepared a social program, lifting on other events in Dubai such as the Gulf Information Technology exhibition and the opening of the Knowledge Management Village. Also at the other evenings they had organised open-air buffets and the last evening on a dohw (see photograph).

Five years on, the World Summit Award still exists, despite the fact that the WSIS had only two editions. But the WSA continues up to 2015, when the UN will look back at the results of the WSIS. The WSA has had three editions in the meantime. The Grand Juries were in Dubai (2003), Bahrain (2005) and Croatia (2007). The Gala events were in Geneva (2003), Tunis (2005) and Venice (2007). The next WSA edition is slated for next year with the Grand Jury in Venezuela and the Gala in Monterrey (Mexico).

Dubai was also my first acquaintance with the Middle East. I have been back several times to the Middle East now and especially Bahrain. In the meantime many Grand Jury members have stayed in contact with each other. And this week a number of Grand Jury/Board members congregate in New Dehli (India) for the Gala of the Mathan Award, the best Indian multimedia products and services.

Happy Anniversary to the Dubai EE.

Blog Posting Number: 1249


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