Nobel Laureates Discuss Communication and Human Development

Communication and Human Development: The Freedom Connection? A public discussion with Amartya Sen, Michael Spence, Yochai Benkler, and Clotilde Fonseca

When (begins) : 2009-09-23 19:00 (Ottawa) DST 2009-09-23 20:30 (Ottawa) DST -

Co-sponsored by the International Development Research Centre and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University

Six years ago, the first IDRC-sponsored Harvard Forum, “A Dialogue on ICTs and Poverty Reduction,” brought together Nobel Laureates Amartya Sen and Michael Spence with 30 leading thinkers and practitioners from around the globe. Since then, many transformative changes have occurred in the worlds of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and development.

Communication and knowledge offered by emerging technologies enable or enhance a wide range of benefits and opportunities for the poor, such as improved access to employment and public services. But the expansion of new technologies also presents risks, including the potential for increased political control, invasion of privacy, and vulnerability to cyber-crime.

During this public forum, Professors Senand Spence joined leading ICT experts Yochai Benkler and Clotilde Fonseca to discuss the role of communication and ICTs in human development, growth, and poverty reduction. Panelists and the in-person and online audiences debated a range of topics, and reflected on what has changed in recent years, been learned and not been learned, and needs to be done most urgently.

About the panelists:

Amartya Sen is Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, at Harvard University. He has served as President of the Econometric Society, the Indian Economic Association, the American Economic Association and the International Economic Association. In 1998, he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Michael Spence is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Philip H. Knight Professor Emeritus of Management in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He is the chairman of the independent Commission on Growth and Development, focusing on growth in developing countries. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001.

Yochai Benkler is the Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard, and faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. He writes about the Internet and the emergence of networked economy and society, as well as the organization of infrastructure, such as wireless communications.

Clotilde Fonseca is a Founding Director of the Costa Rican Program of Educational Informatics created in 1988 in Costa Rica by the Omar Dengo Foundation and the Ministry of Public Education, a program that has reached over one and half million children and teachers. She has served for two decades as Executive Director of the Omar Dengo Foundation.

Published: 27 Sep 2009

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