More than 50 international experts representing 20 countries from across 5 continents are gathering in Israel for the first international conference Well Being in Digital Media to be held under the auspices of UNESCO and its intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP).
This landmark event, organized by the Israel National Commission for UNESCO and its National IFAP Committee along with the Department of Education at Ben Gurion University, the Sammy Ofer School of Communication at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya and the Open University of Israel will be held from 17 - 19 February 2014 in Beer Sheba, Israel.
According to Mr Getachew Engida, UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General, the Forum comes at a critical juncture. “We are living through times of incredible changes with new opportunities for addressing development challenges… But, we are also seeing new digital divides and new forms of exclusion that raise hard ethical questions about balance, rhythm and harmony, indeed about well-being. So we must give all people particularly young women and men the tools and opportunities to ensure that they are not controlled by technology but rather harness its full power for their own fulfillment and the benefit of all. Furthermore, as we look towards the post-2015 period, I think the outcomes of the Forum can help to shape more effectives strategies and frameworks for enlisting information and communication technologies to implement the global sustainable development agenda”.
The conference will take place in two phases consisting of a two-day expert conference followed by a one-day conference aimed at raising awareness amongst the general public.
The conference of experts will provide a forum for sharing and comparing the latest research and emerging global experiences and trends in this field. In particular, their deliberations will seek to deepen understanding of how the long-term interactions between digital media, on one hand and individuals and society on the other, are affecting well-being. These experts will also focus on the development of indicators and the establishment of a program to measure and assess well-being.
The one-day event for general audiences will be structured around lectures, panel sessions and debates that will culminate with the launching of the Forum on Well Being in Digital Media. The event is expected to attract media and generate broader awareness and understanding of the related challenges amongst the wider public.
The Forum on Well Being will serve as a global observatory supporting ongoing monitoring and measurement, collating research and policy documents on digital well-being. It will also host an online community of practice that links researchers, policy makers, users and industry actors to share information and develop responses that enhance well-being for individuals and society.
The intergovernmental Information for All Programme was established in 2001. It provides a platform for international policy discussions, cooperation and the development of guidelines for action in the area of access to information and knowledge. The Programme supports Member States to develop and implement national information policy and strategy frameworks.