Bridging the Information Divide
Conference Aims to Build Knowledge Societies in the 21th Century January 14, 2000—In just a few weeks people from all over the globe, representing many diverse groups, will meet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to find ways to strengthen efforts to bridge the growing information divide at the Second Global Knowledge Conference (GKII): Building Knowledge Societies (March 7-10, 2000).
GKII will focus on three critical challenges developing countries and the world’s poor face as they seek to build knowledge societies in the 21st century: Access, Empowerment, and Governance.
The conference follows in the footsteps of its successful predecessor, GK’97, which convened in Toronto, Canada in the summer of 1997. Some 2000 people from 144 countries participated and a potentially powerful Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) emerged from that meeting. GKP members already are working in partnership on initiatives that bring greater access to information and technology, empower people, and promote better governance.
While the information divide grows daily, the GKP (of which the World Bank is a member, along with the African Development Bank, the British Council, Sun Microsystems, UNICEF, and many others) are working together to build bridges to span it, and eventually to close it. The GKP was founded on the belief that given the chance to take advantage of the information revolution, people can improve their economic well-being and empower themselves and their communities to participate in their own development.
New and exciting initiatives can be expected as a result of GKII, organizers say. The GKP has already been extraordinarily effective; examples of some of the innovative projects already underway by the members of this group are indicative.