Building peace in the minds of men and women

Major event by IFAP to stimulate international reflection on Internet and societal transformation

In the framework of UNESCO’s intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP), an international conference will be organized under the theme “Internet and Socio-Cultural Transformations in Information Society”. The event, which is expected to attract nearly 150 experts from 45 countries, will be held in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (Sakhalin Island, Russian Federation) from 8 to 12 September 2013.

This conference, which is being organized within the framework of the Russian Federation’s chairmanship of IFAP, will bring together academics along with governmental, civil society and private sector representatives to analyze the profound transformational impacts that the Internet and the ever-growing use and application of information and communication technologies (ICT) is having on the societal fabric. The conference’s success in having such a diversity of expert perspectives from a variety of disciplines and regions is expected to provide a more holistic and nuanced understanding of the complex, glocal processes at work. By facilitating the sharing and mapping of experiences, the conference will seek to capture snapshots of the dynamic, complexly intertwined socio-cultural-technical developments that have been taking place over the past decade and thereby gain deeper insights into current and emerging trends.

UNESCO has long advocated cultural diversity, access to education, universal access to information and freedom of expression as essential building blocks for development oriented knowledge societies that are inclusive and dedicated to peace and the realization of human rights. According to Mr Evgeny Kuzmin, Chair of the IFAP Council, “This unique conference, with its multi-tiered, multi-disciplinary perspective will contribute to UNESCO’s knowledge societies actions and support the development of holistic, conceptual frameworks that can assist governments and policy-makers to more effectively anticipate and sustainably address the sometimes bewildering social transformation processes”.

In her message to the conference, UNESCO’s Director-General, Ms Irina Bokova, underscored “the critical role of universal access to information and knowledge as essential pre-conditions for development and empowerment… and UNESCO's unstinting commitment to advancing freedom of expression, supporting educational achievement and promoting cultural diversity and multilingualism in cyberspace”.

UNESCO will be represented by Dr Indrajit Banerjee, Director of the Knowledge Societies Division and Secretary of IFAP, who will deliver a speech on capitalizing on the tremendous potential of the Internet for development and cultural diversity and mutual understanding. In this regard, a number of UNESCO policy initiatives and activities currently being implemented through IFAP in Member States will also be highlighted.

The conference declaration, proceedings and other outcome documents will be made available on-line. Through the use of tools such as IFAP’s Information Policy Template, and by working in concert with members of the IFAP network worldwide, Member States may obtain support to adapt and apply the conference’s outcomes in their regional and national frameworks and action plans.

The intergovernmental Information for All Programme was established in 2001 to provide a platform for international policy discussions and guidelines for action in the area of access to information and knowledge and to support Member States in the development of national information policy and strategy frameworks.

Live webcast of the Sakhalin Conference and the Opening Gala will be available at:

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