Digital World Project Launch
Honorable Minister Hüseyin Çelik
Distinguished Chairman of Intel and UN Task Force for ICT Mr. Craig Barrett
Representatives of Youth for Habitat, and Turkish Informatics Foundation
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
We are all of course aware of the enormous transformation that has been brought about across the globe by Information and communication technologies. These technologies have transformed, and continue to transform the global economy. They are creating new networks that cut across cultures and boundaries.
But we are also sadly aware that access to, and use of, these technologies remains extremely uneven. This disparity — the so-called “digital divide” — is to a large extent a reflection of the absence of infrastructure. However it is also a reflection of deeper social and economic inequalities, both between and within countries.
This means that investing in the necessary technology is important. However, by itself technology will be virtually worthless unless accompanied by the development of human capacities. This means equipping people with the necessary skills and the necessary know- how, and providing excitement to people to use it. Those who cannot use it confidently, whether countries, groups or individuals, will become increasingly marginalized in the context of the competitive globalized world.
In the case of Turkey, technology is increasingly available. It takes the form of increased availability of affordable Internet cafes and Public Internet Access Centers all around the country, as well as information content. However, the existence of these tools and technology by itself is not enough. People do not use it effectively because the content in Turkish language is not rich enough and people cannot fully appreciate its usefulness.
The flexibility and versatility of digital networking and knowledge sharing are essential for achieving a stock of self created content, providing more reasons for people to connect to the digital world and start benefiting from its wide range of services.
Facilitating the society into a knowledge sharing digital world would allow more open and inclusive interactions among people, which would give the excluded an unprecedented opportunity to become active participants in social, economic and political life. Open and increased interaction would also break down the cultural and societal walls, leading to more harmonized and collaborative dialogues. Familiarity and competence with ICT may also draw more of the population into decision-making in the democratic process.
I am very delighted about this public-private partnership with the Ministry of National Education, Intel, Youth for Habitat, and the Turkish Informatics Foundation. This partnership will help achieve a more technology enabled and inclusive society by engaging Turkey’s youth into dialogues and exchange of knowledge.
Let me conclude by congratulating our strategic partner on ICT for Development initiatives, Youth for Habitat, for receiving the European Commission’s e-Inclusion award two days ago at a Ministerial Conference which was also attended by Minister Binali Yildirim and Mr. Craig Barrett.