By Paul Chaderjian
TUNIS–Armenia’s delegation to the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) began with Prime Minister Andranik Margarian attending the opening session–which was hosted by Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Also speaking was United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Tens of thousands of Information Technology specialists–nearly 200 heads of state and hundreds of corporations and non-governmental agencies are participating in the three-day WSIS conference. On the agenda for the delegates and participants is addressing how everyone in the world can have access to the information superhighway–who controls the internet–and how to allocate enough resources to the Internet and information technology to secure a better humanity.
Before joining more than 200 heads of state at a formal banquet–the Armenian delegation attended a presentation by Garegin Chugaszian–president of Armenia’s ITE company. ITE was awarded the World Summit 2005 Grand Jury prize for the world’s best cultural DVD multimedia project. "Aram Khachaturian: The Life and Works" was chosen from tens of thousands of other entries as the world’s best. Another project from ITE–the interactive CD-ROM "Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923" was recognized by the World Summit Award 2005 Grand Jury as one of the top 10 products in the e-learning category.
The second day of the Summit began by Prime Minister Andranik Margarian chairing one of conference sessions. The Prime Minister then delivered a speech to the conference addressing Armenia’s successes in the information technology sector.
Margarian stressed that Armenia has traditionally been a pioneer in the creation and dissemination of Information Technology. He said that in recent years–IT in Armenia has been declared an economic priority by the Armenian government. IT output in the Republic has reached 1.7% of GDP in 2004–which is a figure that would be typical of countries with a developed IT industry. The Prime Minister said that thanks to public-private partnerships–Armenia has enjoyed a considerable increase in investmen’s into the IT sector. He said new courses and curriculum have been introduced to schools and universities–and regional-scale training centers have been established–such as the radio frequency identification (RFID) laboratories.
The Prime Minister reiterated Armenia’s commitment to take an active part in implementing resolutions passed by the WSIS.