The workshop was attended by a number of key Global, Regional and Local speakers including Mr. Richard Kerby, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Representative, Mr. Sayed Aqa, United Nations Resident Coordinator, and Dr. Zakareya Ahmed Al Khaja, Director of Policies and Business Processes Re-engineering Directorate & Acting CEO of the Kingdom of Bahrain eGovernment Authority, along with other partners and experts from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon.
The workshop addressed a series of technical and non-technical topics related to content, legal issues, and copyright challenges facing the Arabic Language content.
Mr. Sayed Aqa the United Nations Development Programme UNDP Resident Coordinator highlighted that knowledge acquisition was identified by the first Arab Human Development Report; as one the three most important challenges that inhibit human development in the region; along with the protection of freedoms and women empowerment. He also noted that tangible progress cannot be made in the long term without acquiring the knowledge and the technological capacities that are indispensable for prosperity in this millennium. Mr. Aqa also stressed that the revitalization of the Arabic language is required to make it capable of mastering Arabic digital content.
Dr. Zakareya Ahmed Al Khaja, Director of Policies and Business Processes Re-engineering Directorate & Acting CEO of the eGovernment Authority stated, “I hope that all the participants have gained new knowledge from this specialized workshop. As it makes us realize that in order to achieve the vision of building a knowledge-based society, we need such coordinated efforts to support Arabic content online and focus on applications, digital content and address challenges in order to fill the knowledge gap that is preventing Arabic language from establishing an effective presence on the world wide web.”
The workshop assessed the current status of electronic and non-electronic Arabic content, looking for the opportunities of building Arabic e-content to help in addressing the overall crisis of the Arabic content, and identifying the challenges currently facing this issue. The speakers also discussed the approaches to encourage the youth participations in Arabic e-content development and utilization.
The United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs, Inter-regional Advisor, Mr. Richard Kerby stated, “In order to maintain the right position for the Arabic language on the Internet, a sustainable approach was taken towards knowledge-based services and innovations, as we realize the importance of reinforcing the Arab cooperation, both at governmental and non-governmental levels and work together in a collective efforts to create an enabling environment that will address Arabic eContent challenges.”
The Arab Centre for eContent Development, headquartered in Bahrain, was established in through by the eGovernment Authority in Bahrain, in partnership with United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Technical support is also provided by the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). The centre was established according to the agreement signed in November 2009 by His Excellency Shaikh Ahmed bin Atteyatallah Al Khalifa, Minister of Cabinet Affairs Minister Responsible for Telecommunications Sector, and Mr. Sayed Aqa, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Representative in Bahrain. The main objective of this initiative is to instill best practices and meet the need for a Knowledge Based Society (KBS) in the Kingdom of Bahrain and for the benefit of the Arab region as a whole.
The workshop aimed at promoting new private/public partnerships through engaging various individuals, institutions and stakeholders across the Arab world and combines intellectual leaders and industry experts from around the Arab world and GCC region. It provides a platform to discuss all challenges facing individuals, organizations, and governmental entities in building Arabic electronic content and bringing it through effective and accessible online channels.
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