CARTAGENA, Colombia, 26 November 2003
The APC face-to-face meeting took place in Cartagena, Colombia, from October 28 to November 6 2003. The theme of the meeting “Networking and Advocacy for Communications Rights” was inspired in APC action areas and the preparatory work for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which takes place in Geneva in December this year and in Tunis in 2005.
Attendees were APC members from around the world
civil society groups working with information and communications technologies (ICTs) at international, national or local level, ICT and ICT policy experts, trainers, local partners and the other representatives from the APC community.
The meeting opened with two in-depth parallel workshops (October 28-31):
1. Issue Mapping – Building coalitions, understanding and analysing networking – run by Richard Rogers and his team from the University of Amsterdam
2. ICT policy for Civil Society – Training of Trainers – run by APC and partners.
The workshops were followed by the APC council meeting. APC members from almost 30 different countries presented the best of their work in a knowledge sharing fair and Open Space Technology workspace (November 2-3). APC staff also presented programme and project highlights (November 2).
On November 5, our membership defined APC’s Strategic Priorities for 2004-6 and elected a new executive board for the next two years. Executive board members this year come from Colombia, Croatia, South Africa, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, South Korea and Nigeria. Out-going chair, Stefan Hackenthal, praised the “good regional distribution and a much better gender balance (than in the previous board) with women now making up almost half the number”.
Workshops and presentation themes include APC and member involvement in the World Summit on the Information Society, refurbishing computers, user issues of moving over to free software, and talks by local ICT activists (eg ‘Internet, War and Peace in Colombia’).
APC celebrated the announcement of the winners of the 2003 Betinho Communications Prize (November 2), and the 10th anniversaries of host Colnodo and the APC’s women’s programme (WNSP).
On November 4 around 25 people visited the Renacer Foundation, a finalist of the Betinho Prize, which provides ICT training to child victims of sexual violence and exploitation in Cartagena, a popular tourist resort. “It was a profoundly moving and interesting afternoon as the mostly animated young people laughed at our names and accents, asked us how we met each other coming from so many countries and told us about their lessons and the "Rebirth" programme,” said APC-Africa-Women coordinator, Jenny Radloff. “Many of them said that their favorite lessons are working with computers as it enables them to connect to children in similar situations and learn about the world. For most of us it was an experience which made the work that we do as ICT activists tangible and worthwhile.”
APC would like to thank the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), and the Open Society Institute (OSI) who supported training at the meeting and Colnodo, the Colombian member of the APC since 1993 and hosts of the meeting.