FONDAZIONE ROSSELLI AMERICAS (FRA)
Director , IKEP (International Knowledge Economy Program)
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The International Conference on Information Systems and Technology Management – CONTECSI, is a groundbreaking event focusing on information systems, information technology and information science under a multidisciplinary view that aims at bringing together academicians and practitioners involved in management and research issues for a state-of-the-artdiscussion among international speakers, professors and researchers.
The purpose of the event is to discuss the effect of information technology, information systems and information science on organizations and society as a whole, putting together a community in constant search for answers to meet the never ending challenges represented by these fields. As a result of the close relationship developed with technology and information management researchers along the years, international researchers and professionals are expected to contribute to the integration of the academic and the professional communities, thus widening the interest in research, updated information sharing, and the practices currently in use.
The Ninth CONTECSI was held from 30 March 2012 till 1June 2012 at the School of Economics, Business and Accountancy – FEA, the University of São Paulo, USP Brazil. Organized by Professor Edson Riccio, Professor of Information Systems and International Management; President of the International Cooperation Office -CCInt/FEA; Editor, Journal of Information Systems and Technology Management (JISTEM); and Director, TECSI, Research Lab in Technology and Information Systems Management; the 2012 meeting was extremely successful, thanks to the presence of contributors from sixteen countries: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Iran, Italy, Korea, Morocco, Mexico, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United States, and twenty-two Brazilian states. As invited speakers, we also welcomed colleagues from ISRAEL and FINLAND.
After nine years, we have observed that the CONTECSI network has promoted the establishment of local and international partnerships linking professors, students, research groups, schools, universities and countries.
Many cross-country and university events, and “products” have been created as a result of this annual conference, for example, joint paper publications, books, master and doctoral juries, double thesis supervision and, most important, a lot of friendship.
Brazil is well known for being the sixth world economy and for its tradition of friendship and multi-ethnic culture. CONTECSI has the same characteristic – to promote high quality research whilst increasing the number of participants from different nationalities and broadening its discussion areas to include the social development and human rights dimension, in a “out of the box” approach.
Last year, at the Eighth CONTECSI, inspired by the presentation of Professor Dr Linamara Rizzo Battistella, Secretary of the State of Sao Paulo for the rights of people with disabilities, and her pioneering initiatives in bringing a new momentum to the effective implementation of public policies in favor of people with disability, we decided to add a new track social area : ICT4DEV and Disability.
One of the main outputs of this new track is a contribution to the establishment of a Center of Excellence in ICT for the social inclusion of people with disabilities (CETID), Sao Paulo, Brazil, within a Knowledge Economy approach. CETID is posed to become best practice in the area of knowledge economy for social inclusion. To download CETID’s abstract, visit:: http://ksm.dicom.uninsubria.it/ict4devis/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/CETI-D-Abstract.pdf.
From the 354 research papers received, a total of 142 papers were selected for presentation in parallel sessions, ninety-four in the research forum, four in the doctoral consortium, three in the Master Colloquium, six in the poster session, and seven in the research communications forum. Papers were grouped into nineteen topics to be presented during the three days of the conference.
The Ninth CONTECSI featured as a keynote speaker, Professor Dr Dov Te´eni, the President of AIS (Association for Information Systems) USA, and Professor of Information Systems, Tel Aviv University, Israel. It has been a tradition for CONTECSI, since its first conference, to have the AIS President delivering the opening presentation. The conference this year hosted some very important events including the International launch of the ICT4 Development International School (ICT4DEVIS). To download a
ICT4DEVIS brochure, visit: http://ksm.dicom.uninsubria.it/ict4devis/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/ICT4DEVIS_DraftBrochure_v7.pdf. ICT4DEVIS is an initiative was conceived an the Eighth CONTECSI in 2011, and became a reality through the agreement signed among TECSI/FEA/USP and Fondazione Rosselli Americas (whose Manager Director is Dr Danilo Piaggesi), and Universitá dell´Insubria (Professor Walter Castelnuovo). Other universities and institutions in countries such as Colombia, Korea, Mexico, Ghana, and the Sao Paulo State Secretary for the Rights of People with Disability have also joined this initiative
The ICT4DEV international school (ICT4DEVIS) functions as a nonfor-credit, hands-on, practice-oriented, cross-cultural course, intended for students and practitioners who want to pursue a professional career in deploying ICT as a means for international development. ICT4DEVIS is shaped by contributions from a handpicked cluster of high-level academic institutions around the world, fueled by a will to excel in their respective academic contexts, and willing to engage in an innovative process that will use all the benefits of existing technology to develop what could be a new model for academic design and implementation.
The project’s idea came during informal discussions with Professor Riccio from the Sao Paolo University in Brazil, and Professor Castelnovo from the Insubria University in Italy, as we considered there was renewed interest in academic institutions around the world to incorporate the subject of ICT in their academic programs. However, program concentration as well as later jobplacement for students coming out of these schools varies widely, with strong representation of subjects related to the technology industry and technology trade. Yet, studies show the promise of ICT as an instrument to accelerate the pace and widen the reach of international development efforts, but the cradle of ICT4DEV practitioners is still limited. Furthermore, students coming out of current ICT university courses who want to devote themselves to international development find themselves faced with three major hurdles:
- ICT is, by definition, a multiple-sector endeavor, but schools must concentrate in a focused range of knowledge in order to provide specialized training. As a result, most ICT academic programs tend to emphasize one aspect over others: science and technology; economics; or social applications – education, public services; etc. Yet, when the time comes to apply ICT to a development objective, students find their education lacking in one or more areas needed to make an appropriate choice of technology and achieve a successful end-result;
- The application of ICT as a development tool requires the involvement of the public and private sectors, whose purpose, institutional mind-frame and level of knowledge tend to be quite different.The development practitioner seeking to devise an ICT-based solution to a given problem finds that he/she must have a good understanding of these two very different mind-sets, and the ability to propose a solution that would satisfy both;
- Information access, as well as communication channels and protocols, vary greatly from one cultural setting to another.Students are rarely trained to fine-tune their outputs to these strong cultural components, with the result that the ICT4DEV project inception and deployment face the risk of suffering setbacks or even fail to achieve its goals.
It seemed apparent formal academic education in this field would benefit from supplementary training aimed at rounding up a student’s education with practical, job-related, additional capacitybuilding, for the purpose of improving their effectiveness in a development context.
Today I am glad to report that we have a kernel of strategic partners representing different continents of the world, interested in pursuing a way to improve the ability of academic institutions to prepare their students to be highly effective agents for the application of ICT4DEV. This core group will work to shape the contents of the ICT4DEVIS, so that it responds to the group’s perceived needs, and reflects our institutions’ respective capabilities.
The strategic partners that have agreed to join this initiative are (as of June 2012):
– The School of Economics, Business and Accountancy, FEA, University of Sao Paolo, USP, Brazil
– The School of Technology Change and Strategic Innovation, University of Rosario, Bogota’, Colombia
– The Technological Institute of Monterrey,Mexico
– The Department of Informatics and Communication, University of Insubria, Como, Italy
– The Dongguk University, Seoul,Korea
– The College of Business Administration, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Korea
– The Ghana-IndiaKofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT
– The Fondazione Rosselli Americas, Alexandria, USA
and the ICT4DEVIS Scientific Committee members include:
– Johanna Awotwi, Centre for E-Governance, Ghana
– Walter Castelnovo, Department of Theoretical and Applied Science, University of Insubria, Italy.
– Dianne Davis, President, United Nations ICCC, USA.
– Elena Ferrari, Department of Theoretical and Applied Science, University of Insubria, Italy
– Dorothy K. Gordon, Director, Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, Ghana
– JaeJon Kim, Director, College of Business Administration, Chonnam National University, Korea
– Sang Yoo Kim, Director, International Relations, Dongguk University, Korea
– Danilo Piaggesi, Managing Director, Fondazione Rosselli America, USA
– Leonardo Pineda Serna, Director, Business School, Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá, Colombia
– Edson Luiz Riccio, Director, TECSI – Information Systems and Technology Management Laboratory, and Director of International Relations, School of Economics, Business and Accounting, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
– Carlos Scheel, Full-time Professor, Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Mexico.
– Pablo Rodas, Economist specialized in Central America, formerly Chief Economist at Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI).
– Kristian Sund, Principal Lecturer in Strategic Management, Programme Leader, MBA in Shipping and Logistics, Middlesex University Business School, UK.
The first session of ICT4DEVIS, will be held in Como, Italy, during the first week of September 2012. To download more information on ICT4DEVIS Como Edition, visit:; http://ksm.dicom.uninsubria.it/ict4devis/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/ICT4DEVIS_DraftBrochure_v7.pdf.
In order to address the organizational aspects of this common endeavor, Fondazione Rosselli is offering the use of its virtual platform “AKNOS”. AKNOS is a web-based platform used to promote open and guided discussion on the general subject of the Knowledge Society. Your group can gain access to AKNOS – which is available upon invitation only, to conduct virtual meetings and discussions, maximizing the immediacy of communication while minimizing its costs. AKNOS will serve as our working tool. I strongly believe that through ICT4DEVIS cross-cultural cooperation and cross-pollination, we will make a valid contribution to the international cooperation for development in the context of today’s Knowledge Society.