The Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT) in collaboration with UNESCO Chair on ICT4D and COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad (CIIT) very successfully convened second two-day International Workshop on ‘ICTs for Development: Mainstreaming the Marginalized’ on October 5 – 6, 2017 at CIIT, Islamabad – Pakistan. The instant Workshop was 2nd edition of the series and garnered participation from around forty one (41) national and international organizations with a diverse group of nearly Sixty Five (65) participants hailing from Government, Development, Academia, Technology, Media and Telecom sectors.
The opening ceremony of the event took place on the morning of 5th October 2017, and was attended by nearly 120 guests. The opening ceremony was formally initiated with a recitation of the Holy Quran, followed by an inspirational delivered by President INIT/Rector CIIT Prof. Dr. Raheel Qamar presenting a brief account of his encounters with the state of the art technologies and how perceptions related towards have evolved over the years. This was followed by an address from the Chief Guest Mr. Muhammad Tahir Mushtaq, Member HRD, MOIT&T presenting an account of the efforts of Government of Pakistan is doing towards the inclusion of most marginalized communities and highlighted initiatives in place especially for the IT education of young girls. The Address of the Chief Guest was followed by a speech from the lead speaker Prof. Tim Unwin from the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D who presented an account of ICT for Development landscape of Pakistan and gave a brief overview of the workshop structure.
The opening ceremony was concluded by the Executive Director INIT, Engr. Tahir Naeem who delivered a vote of thanks to all the eminent guests who had graced the occasion including the President INIT, Member HRD, Dr. S.M. Junaid Zaidi, Executive Director COMSATS, Dr. Ismail Shah Chairman PTA, Brig. Wasi Ullah D.G PTA and to all the participants travelling from across Pakistan.
The workshop was divided into Eight (08) technical sessions spread over two days. The focus of the 1st day was mainly upon the ICTs for Development Landscape of Pakistan focusing upon emerging themes like the Financial Technologies, Low Tech Solutions and Addressing the Digital Gender Divide. The second Day focused upon the needs of the marginalized communities and how technology can facilitate in terms of Disability, Rural Needs, and Marginalized Children.
A brief overview of Day 1 is presented below:
- Technical Session 1: Understanding the ICT4D Landscape, Introduced by Prof. Tim Unwin and plenary talk by Dr. Ismail Shah, the Chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority followed by a lively panel discussion session with Col. Talat Shabir (PhD Scholar QAU), Ms. Durdana Najam (Journalist) , Dr. Ismail Shah (Chairman PTA) and Mr. Moiz Khan (CEO Simple.pk)
- Technical Session 2: The Road to Facilitation: Financial Technologies for the Marginalized, Introduced by Prof. Tim Unwin with a plenary given by Mr. Qasif Shahid (CEO FINJA) about making payments frictionless, free and real time followed by an interactive discussion session.
- Technical Session 3: Addressing the Digital Gender Gap, Plenary Talk Delivered by Prof. Tim Unwin elaborating upon the UN-led EQUALS initiative for gender equality in a digital age, as well as some of the challenges that face women in using ICT. The plenary talk was followed by an interesting panel discussion session with Dr. Bushra Hassan (International Islamic University) , Ms. Shazia Majeed (Educationist) , Ms. Sumaira Kanwal (Community Uplift Program) , Mr. Paras Ali (Editor, Technology Times)
- Technical Session 4: No Tech to Low Tech to High Tech: an Entrepreneur’s Tale, Introduction by Dr. Akber Gardezi with a plenary talk by Muhammad Nasrullah (CEO INTEGRY) explaining the transition of ICT for Development Technologies in Pakistan followed by an interactive discussion session.
The activities of Day 1 concluded with a wrap-up discussion moderated by Prof. Tim Unwin.
The activities of Day 2 are presented below:
- Technical Session 4: Serving the Most Marginalized: Accessibility and Disability, Introduction by Prof. Tim Unwin followed by a plenary talk by Mr. David Banes on access and inclusion using ICTs, which included a very useful framework for considering digital accessibility issues. A brief presentation was also given by Dr. Ilyas Syed from Peshawar Paraplegic Center showcasing the activities at the center. The session also include a panel discussion session including Ms. Ayesha Butt ( Speech Pathologist, Ripphah Institute) , Dr. Ilyas Syed (Rehabilitation Specialist) , Ms. Shakeela Yasmin (Pakistan Disabled Foundation) , Dr. Amir Chaudary ( Assistant Professor Electrical Engineering).
- Technical Session 5: Developing Technologies for the Rural/Urban Slum Needs, during which Muhammad Mustafa spoke about his vision of enabling all 700 million illiterate adults in the world to go online through his Mauqa Online initiative.
- Technical Session 6: Special Technologies for Special Education Introduced by Dr. Akber Gardezi and plenary talk and demonstration by Mr. Muhamamd Waqas (CEO Wonder Tree) an augmented reality platform for treating learning disabilities and rehabilitation.
- Technical Session 7: Educating the Marginalized, Plenary Talk by Prof. Tim Unwin on educating marginalized children, followed by a talk by Ms. Shaista Kazmi from Vision 21 described their Speed Literacy Program focusing on the engagement of out of school children.
- Technical Session 8: Wrap-Up Discussion by Prof. Tim Unwin The last session focused upon the main emerging themes from the past two days and a lively interactive discussions entailed on how best to proceed in future from the perspective Pakistan.
The concluding session included presentation of certificates to the participants, the workshop ended on high note with a renewed passion for the ICTs for Development initiates in Pakistan. A complete set of speaker presentation and event pictures can be accessed from the links below.
INIT aspires to conduct the third workshop in the series in the forthcoming year.
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The Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT) in collaboration with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), Rabat, Morocco, the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS), Islamabad, Pakistan and the Royal Scientific Society (RSS), Amman, Jordan convened the 3rd International Workshop on ‘Applications of ICTs in Education, Healthcare and Agriculture’ in Amman, Jordan from 31st May to 1st June, 2016. The first Workshop of the series was held in Islamabad, Pakistan on December 15-16, 2014 whereas the second Workshop was held in Rabat, Morocco on November 25-27, 2015.
The objectives of the workshop included orientation of participants to the potential opportunities of new ICT innovations; identification of mechanisms to strengthen collaboration among working groups of member countries and provide means for efficient exchange of data, knowledge and technologies in the Islamic world. More than twenty senior Information and Communication technology specialists, researchers and managers from different countries shared their experiences during the technical sessions of the workshop.
The inaugural session of the workshop was held on 31st May, 2016. The technical proceedings were spread over four sessions consisting of both invited and contributed talks and highlighted the impact of ICTs in the fields of Education, Healthcare and Agriculture and how these fields have benefited from the use of said technology. Knowledge disseminated covered topics ranging from risk assessment in hospitals to web based surveillance for hepatitis patients, from creative content for children to e-learning initiatives and from the use of GIS in aiding agriculture production to the role of ICTs for online water monitoring thus encompassing all fields relative to the workshop.
It was agreed that each country should develop strategies to impart relevant skills required to instill a culture of learning. The need for continued dialogue on a sustained basis was recognized for effective exchange of communication. It was observed that Institutional diversity with policies promoting interaction and interdependence among institutions has a positive effect on increasing national competitiveness thus enhancing the effects of ICTs in the fields of Education, Healthcare and Agriculture.
Around fifty resource persons, speakers and participants from Arab Republic of Egypt, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, People’s Republic of China, State of Palestine and United Republic of Tanzania participated in the workshop.
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In cognizance of the agenda of widespread knowledge distribution, set by the Inter Islamic Network for Information Technology (INIT) for itself, the 3rd International Workshop on ‘Applications of ICTs in Education, Healthcare and Agriculture’ is being organized on May 31 – June 1, 2016 in Amman, Jordan. The Workshop is a continuation of the tradition set by the INIT of highlighting key issues in applications of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in sectors such as Education, Healthcare and Agriculture that affect a vast majority of the masses and the application of ICT techniques to address those issues.
The Workshop is the third in the series with the second edition held in November, 2015 in Rabat, Morocco which was attended by 35 participants representing 20 institutions from 11 countries (http://init.org.pk/NewsEventDetail.aspx?id=92493). The first edition was held in December, 2014 in Islamabad, Pakistan which was attended by 87 participants representing 31 institutions from 10 countries (http://init.org.pk/NewsEventDetail.aspx?id=92359).
In the present day and age, the usefulness and importance of education cannot be overemphasized and the issue of adult literacy in developing and third world countries can only be solved by ensuring quality education for the masses for which ICTs can prove extremely practical. ICT techniques have been implemented to make an impact on healthcare by improved dissemination of information regarding public health issues and facilitation of open dialogue around major public health threats including those that are considered unmentionable; enabling distant consultation, diagnosis and treatment through telemedicine; and also facilitation of collaboration and cooperation among health workers. e-Agriculture is an emerging field in this regard focusing on the enhancement of agricultural development in the context of rural usage through the use of improved processes for information gathering and communication. Hence, e-Agriculture involves conceiving, planning, developing, evaluating and applying ground-breaking techniques of using ICT equipment, having agriculture as the sole point of focus.
The INIT welcomes nominations from, academicians, PhD scholars, industry experts, entrepreneurs and policy planners from OIC member states. The Workshop Brochure and Nomination form are attached below.
COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) is a partner instituteof “Prime Minister's National ICT R&D Fund Scholarship Program”. Ourstudents are awarded Full Funded Scholarship and Boarding & Lodging by ICTR&D Fund.
The students of Spring 2012 semester (Batch-II) at CIIT Sahiwal campus havebeen graduated recently and “three (03) ICT R&D Fund scholars at CIITSahiwal campus have been awarded medals” in recognition of their excellentacademic performance in "84th Convocation" held at CIIT Sahiwal on March18, 2016.
Listof medalists is as under:
- Hafiz Muhammad Amir Sharif CIIT/SP12-BCS-110/SWL Institute Bronze and
- Mr. Muhammad Abrar Ashraf CIIT/SP12-BCS-109/SWL Campus Silver.
- Ms. RahamaShahid CIIT/SP12-BCS-111/SWL Campus Bronze
We are highly thankful to the management of ICT R&D Fund for supporting
such students to further their studies without financial worries.
The Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT) in collaboration with the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) and the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoIT&T) organized a 2 Day Workshop on ‘ICTs for Development: Mainstreaming the Marginalized’ on January 12-13, 2016 at a local hotel at Islamabad. The Workshop was inaugurated by Rana Tanveer Hussain, Federal Minister for Science & Technology and Defence Production. The Federal Minister expressed pleasure in the organizers’ choice of the Workshop theme and the fact that it relates to the application of knowledge for the benefit of common man and more so for those marginalized.
Professor Tim Unwin, UNESCO Chair ICT4D and Emeritus Professor at Royal Holloway, University of London was the principal resource person at the Workshop. It was attended by over 60 participants coming from academia, development & ICT sector, financial and government institutions and media. Six technical sessions were convened over the 2 day Workshop.The topics of the technical sessions were as follows:
1. ICTs for Development;
2. Understanding ICT’s Needs of Developing Countries: Case of Pakistan;
3. ICTs for People with Disabilities and the Elderly;
4. ICTs of Education for the Marginalized;
5. Mobile Applications for Empowering the Youth; and
6. Possible Research Agenda for Development through ICT’s.
Each session started with a plenary talk by the lead speaker followed by panel and group discussions. Questions and answers sessions encouraged participants to reflect upon their understanding, aspiration and resolve with the use of ICTs for development. The technical sessions were concluded with the wrap up by Prof. Tim Unwin.
While speaking at the opening session, Mr. Tahir Naeem, Executive Director, INIT stated that overtime ICTs have not only become an important part of our lives but have altered the very meaning of ‘literacy’ itself. While, the highly qualified of yesteryears seem ‘marginalized’; the use of ICTs has given a new hope to the actually marginalized i.e. those; deprived, disadvantaged or underprivileged on account of their social or economic deprivation, geographic location, gender, physical impairment or any other count of social exclusion.
Dr. S.M. JunaidZaidi, President, INIT & Rector CIIT thanked the Honourable Minister for gracing the opening session. He also thanked the resource persons, participants and the organizers for taking up issues that have a bearing on improving the quality of life of those marginalized. He assured his continued support to the initiative.
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