This event will examine the role of research and the production
of knowledge in the information society, with special emphasis on
developing areas of the world. “Past, Present, and Future of S&E
in the Information Society” (PPF) is a three day conference that
immediately precedes the second phase of the World Summit on the
Information Society (WSIS), in Tunisia (November 2005). Core issues
of the conference lie at the intersection of Science and Engineering,
Information and Communication Technologies, and Development. While
WSIS is sponsored by the UN Secretary-General, with the International
Telecommunication Union in the lead role, this conference is a “satellite
event” of WSIS without political affiliation.
PPF will be organized by an International Advisory Committee composed
of one representative each from a coalition of partners. (Professor of Sociology, Louisiana State University) will
serve as Program Coordinator.
Development of PPF
In August, 2002, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development
(South Africa), two of the primary organizers of the Global Science
Forum (Third World Academy of Science (TWAS) and the International
Council for Science (ICSU)) began to consider the next World Summit
in Geneva (2003) and Tunisia (2005). This discussion continued through
the first phase of WSIS with the Tunis branch of the WFEO and a variety
of other organizations. The “Role of Science in the Information Society” (CERN,
ICSU, UNESCO, TWAS) and “Engineering the Knowledge Society” (IFIP,
WFEO), were two of the most significant satellite events organized
in conjunction with the Geneva Phase of the WSIS in December 2003.
PPF will host two hundred individuals, one-half from under-developed
areas, in three thematic areas:
- Science, technology, and engineering in the origin and development
of the Internet will be examined (“Past”).
- Current and cutting-edge technologies and trends in the utilization
of information technology for science and engineering (“Present”).
- Constraints and opportunities that exist for the research communities
of Africa, Latin America, and Asia (“Future”).
- Examine the relationships between academic, government, civil
society, and the private sector that brought about the development
of an information society.
- Increase understanding of the informational challenges of science
and engineering in developing areas in an environment with many
world leaders and policy makers present.
- Discuss the digital divide in science and engineering.
- Examine specific programs that seek to reduce this divide.
- Evaluate the opportunities and constraints on the globalization
of scientific collaboration with particular reference to the developing
- Provide follow up on the RSIS and EKS events that took place
- Publish the proceedings in printed and electronic form, and distribute
a documentary film that provides a record of the proceedings and
a resource for program managers and policy makers.
Since a diverse range of scientific policy makers and world leaders
will be present at the World Summit, this conference represents an
unparalleled opportunity to highlight the importance of science and
engineering in the information society, as well as to consider and
propose solutions to the immense divide in information and communication
technologies that exists in the research communities of the developing
world. PPF will also bring together scientists and engineers in developed
and developing areas of the world to discuss projects and form collaborations.