September 5, 2005

PRESS RELEASE: Arabic and English speaking youth in WSIS

5 August 2005 ? London.  The second phase of the United Nation?s World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) will be held on 16-18 November 2005 in Tunis. The British Council is working with CholertonShand, the youth engagement consultancy, to develop an online forum ? reach out - to engage young Arabic and English speaking youth in WSIS.
Youth under the age of 30 are a majority of the world?s population. No longer just a PR-extra, young people are playing an increasingly vital role in the new information society.  Despite the Internet?s pivotal role in catalyzing a ?global village,? the need for dialogue and understanding has never been greater.
From Tunis to Tripoli, London to Liverpool, the British Council?s reach out project will engage Arab and UK in an innovative online dialogue around key issues of technology and society.  Who should control the development of the Internet?  How can we bridge the digital divide and harness technology for development goals?  How can the Internet be a force for cultural diversity in a world of mass marketing and globalization?

The purpose of reach out is to provide young people with an opportunity to voice their opinions about WSIS related issues ? cultural diversity, the digital divide, Internet governance, media freedom and e-learning / employment - in a safe and dynamic environment. The forum will run from 20 August ? 04 November 2005 as part of our build-up to the WSIS II event in Tunis. 


The online discussion will culminate in a face-to-face event - Café Informatique International - in Tunis, with a live video link-up with Manchester. Young people selected from the online discussions will meet up with people from the region and the UK to discuss the ?hot topics? and work together towards a year-long regional project.


We would like you to reach out to youth networks and get involved - express yourself and empower your generation through the online discussions!

Beyond the online discussion boards, the reach out portal will also feature event blogs, member profiles, WSIS-related resources and articles both from media sources and submitted by members themselves. 
?Youth are a growing demographic of untapped potential when it comes to issues of technology and society,? said Anne Lim, ICT advisor to Prime Minister Tony Blair.  ?If we are going to build a more inclusive, sustainable and peaceful information society, young people have a critical role to play.? 
So if you are under 30 and from the UK, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon or Syria, we encourage you to express yourself and empower your generation through the online dialogue. We also encourage you to get involved with the WSIS Youth Caucus (


For further information please contact

To register with the online discussions please go to


The British Council aims to build mutually beneficial relationships between people in the UK and other countries and to increase appreciation of the UK?s creative ideas and achievements.


This work is driven by our strong belief in internationalism, a commitment to professionalism and an enthusiasm for creativity. These qualities, coupled with our integrity and our conviction that cultural relations can help individuals and the world community to thrive, make the British Council a good partner and a special place to work. (


About WSIS


The UN World Summit on the Information Society provides a unique opportunity for all key stakeholders to develop a common vision and understanding and to address the whole range of relevant issues related to the Information Society. It aims to bring together Heads of State, Executive Heads of the United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, civil society entities, industry leaders and media representatives to foster a clear statement of political will and concrete plan of action to shape the future of the global information society.  Phase I of WSIS was held in Geneva on 10-12 December 2003 and Phase II will be held in Tunisia from 16-18 November 2005. (



The WSIS Youth Caucus, formed on the occasion of the 1st WSIS Preparatory Committee Meeting in July 2002, is acting as an umbrella group for all young people and youth organizations interested and/or involved in the WSIS process and ICT policy formulation. One of the most active civil society groups, the Youth Caucus aims to mainstream youth perspectives into civil society, the private sector and government inputs throughout the WSIS process. (

Chris Schuepp
Young People's Media Network - Coordinator
c/o ECMC (European Centre for Media Competence)
Bergstr. 8 / 11th floor
D-45770 Marl - Germany
The YPMN is supported by UNICEF and hosted by the ECMC.
The opinions and views expressed in this message and/or articles & websites linked to from this message do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies.

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