World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)

Project at a glance

Dates and Place

04 - 13 December 2003, Geneva, Switzerland
Palexpo

Project details

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) --Geneva 2003 and Tunis 2005-- will provide an opportunity to discuss issues raised by the emergence and current development of the Information Society. As pointed out the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), "the modern world is undergoing a fundamental transformation, as the industrial society that marked the 20th century rapidly gives way to the information society of the 21st century. This dynamic process promises a fundamental change in all aspects of our lives, including knowledge dissemination, social interaction, economic and business practices, political engagement, media, education, health, leisure and entertainment."

International Conference Volunteers (ICVolunteers) has been involved in the Summit since its early stages of preparation in May 2002, both at an operational level, recruiting, training and coordinating volunteers and also as the focal point of the WSIS Civil Society Bureau Volunteer Family.

The information society... a society for all?

Many of us find that the Internet has become integrated into almost all parts of our lives. We use it to look up phone numbers, carry out research and communicate with friends. Mobile phones are another very practical tool that have rapidly become a standard means of communication for many in the northern hemisphere. We commu-nicate in an increasingly global and more rapid ways.

Yet, not everybody on our planet has the privilege -and sometimes also burden- to use these new tools. The so-called "digital divide" is at its most extreme in Africa, where the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is still at a very early stage of development compared to other regions of the world. This divide not only separates the North from the South, but also rural areas from urban ones. It makes little sense to talk about computer networks in areas, where electricity is not yet available. Of the approximately 816 million people in Africa in 2001, it is estimated that only:

  • 1 in 4 has a radio
  • 1 in 13 has a television
  • 1 in 35 has a mobile phone
  • 1 in 40 has a fixed line
  • 1 in 130 has a personal computer
  • 1 in 160 uses the Internet

    [Source: Mike Jensen, Third UN Task Force Meeting, UN, 30 Sep - 1 Oct 2002]

To read more about these issues, please visit our online library on volunteerism and ICTs www.worldwidevolunteer.org.

Call for 350 volunteers and host families

Based on a new approach, the World Summit on the Information Society not only gathers government represen-tatives, but also a strong civil society constituency, as well as private sector representatives. Civil society includes organizations working in many areas, from social movements to people with disabilities, from media to gender, from think tanks to education.

International Conference Volunteers (ICVolunteers) --specialized in working with volunteers in international conferences-- is recruiting approximately 350 volunteers to help with welcoming, registering and informing delegates, working as reporters, interpreters, translators and to dealing with room supervision and many logistical matters. We are also looking for host families living in Geneva, who would be willing to accommodate international volun-teers for the period of the Summit.

Volunteering Opportunities

Nous recherchons des volontaires en particulier dans les domaines suivants: accueil et orientation des participants, supervision de salles, traduction et interprétation (anglais-français-espagnol), rédaction de compte-rendus et d'articles.



Activities by region

Africa Asia Pacific Europe Middle East The Americas

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