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UN and Strategic Partners
Long time ago, Cairo was the city on the Nile, which revolutionised media with papyrus paper . 2500 years later, Egypts capital has been fertilizer for the Arab Spring with its new social media revolution, giving hope and new energy to a whole region. Hence, there could be no better place to honour the best digital developers and content producers worldwide.
Between April 26 – 29, 2012 Cairo hosted a global panopticum of spirit and knowledge in e-Content – the World Summit Award winners 2011.
Under the slogan “Spring of Technologies” patron Mohamed Salem, Egyptian Minister of Communications and IT, had inaugurated Cairo ICT 2012  on Thursday, April 26. Cairo ICT is the biggest ICT fair in the Middle East and together with the Information Technology Industry Development Agency  (ITIDA) host of WSA in Cairo.
A high demand for Arabic e-Content coincides with a shrieking lack of Arabic language in the Net
“Hosting the WSA Event is a clear message, that Egypt is very much committed to enriching Arabic content to shape the future of the country”, Yasser El Kady, ITIDA CEO, said and hit the mark. In the course of the four day Event it has become very obvious: A high demand for Arabic e-Content coincides with a shrieking lack of Arabic language in the Internet ecosystem.
Hence Effat El Shooky , WSA Board Member from Egypt, moderated and asked the panel in the last session on Sunday: How can we extend the presence of Arabic in the Internet and how to move forward to enrich the Arabic e-Content industries”?
Adel Khalifa, President Khalifa Online, Ahmed Abdelbassit, Head of National Digital Libraries Committee, Ministry of Higher Education, Egypt, Mohamed Farouk, Deputy Director & Head of IT Department, CULTNAT, and Manar Alhashash, DG Kuwait E-Award, Kuwait, discussed how to enthuse and embed the many unemployed young Egyptians for the e-Content industries.
"I held a knife in my hand for the first time"
What motivates (young) people to start their own digital projects accepting personal and financial sacrifice? In the case of Zabatak , an Egyptian online platform to fight crime, founder Abbas Ibrahim stated at the young Egyptian planet on Saturday: “During the revolution I held a knife in my hand for the first time to protect my family. I have knowledge about technology, so I called my friends and told them to support the police. I wanted to help my country”.
Within the fair 28 WSA Winners’ teams from 19 countries presented their digital delicacies in eight categories like e-Business, e-Science,
e-Learning or e-Inclusion and Participation to WSA VIPs, journalists and representatives from the ICT industries.
An own exhibition area per category was dedicated to all WSA and Egyptian Youth Award winners like Zabatak , Harassmap , Kherna and Wupy.org . They took the opportunity to showcase their digital projects to the visitors of the fair.
Besides trips to the precious pyramids of Gizah, the residence of the Austrian Ambassador and the impressive surroundings of Smart Village the WSA Winners Events included a panel discussion on opportunities and challenges for UN organisations with UN representatives from UNIDO, UNDP, UNESCO and AfriNic.
Poor but mobile?
“Fourty per cent of mobile phone users in Egypt are poor .” That was the startling fact, Ayman Ibrahim from Orange Labs, opened the workshop “poor but mobile” with on Saturday. How can poor people benefit from new mobile technologies? Osama Manzar, WSA Board member and founder of the digital empowerment foundation from India gave the example of a tuberculosis campaign that used mobile technologies to check that patients were taking their medications.
Between the winners’ presentations, workshops and panels like “After the Arab Spring: Opportunities and Challenges for UN organisations” with UN representatives from UNIDO, UNDP, UNESCO and AfriNic there was still enough time to dive into Cairo’s cultural wealth. Besides trips to the precious pyramids of Gizah, a Dinner Reception at the Residence of the Austrian Ambassador and the impressive surroundings of Smart Village, the WSA-group enjoyed a boat trip on the Nile at night.
The WSA   Winners’ Gala , the highlight of the four Event days, was celebrated in a festive and in medieval charm at the Cairo Citadel on Friday night. Amidst the warm and appreciative applause from around 400 guests, the World Summit Award winners were handed over their trophies from Mohamed Salem, Minister of CIT, Debretsion Gebremichael, Minister of CIT – Ethiopia, Mohamed Abdel Karim, Minister of CIT – Sudan, Yasser El Kady, CEO ITIDA, Ossama Kamal, CEO Tradefairs International, Peter A. Bruck, Chairman of the WSA Board of Directors and WSA-VIPs.
The World Summit Award Winners Events 2012 have been a huge success and source of inspiration, which many winners shared during the informative "global huddle" on Sunday morning at Sonesta Hotel Cairo. The next World Summit Award is going to take place in South Asia in 2013. The Information and Communication Technology Agency will be host of the WSA Winners’ Gala in Colombo, Sri Lanka in October that same year.
Ms. Anna Gauto
Press and Communications Manager
World Summit Awards (WSA, WSYA, WSA-mobile)
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