Dear ITS community,
The arrival of the holiday season in many parts of the world gives us a chance to pause, rest, reflect on past achievements, and look forward to our next challenges and opportunities.
For the ITS community, 2018 has been an exciting year:
We have convened high-quality and impactful events in Asia (Cybersecurity workshop, Bangkok, December 2018; Biennial Conference, Seoul, June 2018), Africa (African Regional Conference, Lusaka, March 2018) and Europe (European Regional Conference, Trento, August 2018). These conferences have substantially contributed, in the aggregate, to our strategic aspiration of convening a global conversation on issues of pressing importance in communications policy. ITS has now sequentially convened 29 European regional conferences and 14 Asia-Pacific regional conferences – with more to follow in 2019.
ITS events in 2018 have addressed policy issues of immediate relevance and importance, with the additional benefit of a significant regional focus (Asia, Europe, Africa). The papers presented and ensuing discussions have been of a high calibre, in no small measure due to the very deep well of professional talent ITS is able to draw upon for its conferences. Logistically, these events have been well organized and truly enjoyable – both professionally and socially – largely because of the commitment and dedication of many local volunteers united in their effort to deliver value to all participants.
ITS conferences are, in a most fundamental sense, crafted by their participants – through their papers, their panel presentations, their discussions, and their goodwill and friendship. The ITS community is doing complex and challenging work – at the intersection of technology, law/policy, and economics. There are few tasks more exciting or rewarding than taking on such challenges, particularly at the far frontiers of technological and human experience, for example in fields like artificial intelligence (AI) or Big Data.
McLuhan suggests that we will meet this challenge through art. In Understanding Media McLuhan defines the artist as:
"the man in any field, scientific or humanistic, who grasps the implications of his actions and of new knowledge in his own time. He is the man of integral awareness."
This is exactly what the ITS community is doing, on a global scale, by bringing inter-disciplinary perspectives to the most challenging communications policy problems of today and tomorrow. These problems are too big to fit into any single-discipline or perspective. And the solutions are too big and complex to fit into any one box. ITS is exactly the forum that we need for dialogue on the pressing problems of today and tomorrow. Thank you for the contributions you are making to this important dialogue.
I also extend my sincere thanks to all of the ITS Board members that supported our conferences, in 2018, including Erik Bohlin, Anders Henten, Seongcheol Kim, Hitoshi Mitomo, Brigitte Preissl and Jason Whalley, as well as the ITS Secretariat, Don Romaniuk and our wonderful local conference hosts including Simon Tembo (Lusaka conference) and Alberto Nucciarelli (Trento conference).
Please click here to access our conference paper archive, including papers from the European Regional Conference in Trento, Italy.
Please click here for a copy of the closing remarks from the Biennial Conference in Seoul, South Korea.
Looking ahead to 2019, we have a number of exciting events planned:
- The 2nd Europe - Middle East - North African Regional Conference will be held in Aswan, Egypt on February 18-21, 2019. The National Telecom Regulatory Authority of Egypt (NTRA) and Aswan University are co-hosting the conference. More information on the conference can be found at http://itsaswan2019.org.eg/.
- The 30th European Regional Conference will be held in Helsinki, Finland, June 16-19, 2019.The Call for Papers for this conference can be found at https://itseurope.org/2019/call-for-papers/.
- The 15th Asia-Pacific Regional Conference will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, in October of 2019.More information will be available soon.
Please consider becoming a member of ITS today. Membership benefits include regular information updates on the Society and forthcoming events, including ITS Biennial and Regional Conferences; a subscription to the ITS journal, Telecommunications Policy (11 printed issues per year – a value of more than $350 USD per year); and valuable discounts as announced for ITS events and publications. The cost of an Individual Membership is $125 USD per year. If you are not yet an ITS member, consider becoming one today. Simply go to www.itsworld.org, click “Membership” and you can join this international community of ICT professionals.
As always, we welcome your ideas for evolving ITS, making it better, and growing its relevance around the world. Proposals for conferences, panels within conferences, and other ideas and contributions are always welcome.
Thank you and Happy New Year,