ICTD 2009 - International Conference on ICTs and Development
ictQATAR Secretary General Dr. Hessa Al Jaber announced the planned center at the 3rd International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD 2009), which took place at Carnegie Mellon University on April 17 through 19. This is the first time ICTD has been held in the Middle East. Conference program available at http://ictd2009.org/program.html
The Center for Assistive Technology will serve as a catalyst for research and development of ICT assistive technologies and also create public awareness around best practices.
In addition to showcasing and enhancing access to resources for persons with disabilities, the Center will also serve as a vehicle for cooperation with key industry partners and a platform to coordinate the efforts of existing institutions in Qatar and the region. The center tentatively slated to begin operations in late 2009.
'The Center for Assistive Technology will be a hub for research and information on the latest advancements in assistive technologies. We plan to create a place where mothers and fathers can find solutions to help their children live better. And we want to inspire future generations to build a society that embraces ICT for all,' said Dr. Hessa.
The Center is a direct outcome of series of meetings held by the Assistive Technology Working Group (ATWG), that ictQatar formed in October 2008 in response to the International Telecommunication Union's announcement of 2008 as the year to connect persons with disabilities through ICT.
ATWG includes many of the leading organizations that work with people with disabilities from the government, not-for-profits and corporate sectors. Local partner organizations include the Shafallah Center, the Al-Noor Institute, and the Qatar Society for People with Disabilities, and the Supreme Council of Family Affairs.
The Center was announced during the the panel on 'Assistive Technology for Developing Countries' at ICTD2009. The panel's discussion focused on increasing research on assistive technologies in the developing world, best practices from the other countries and potential for assistive technology commercialization in developing countries.
The panel consisted of H.E Dr. Hamadoun Toure, Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Dr. Raj Reddy, Professor of Computer Science and Robotics in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, Dr. Hayat Khalil Heji, Director of Al Noor Institute for Individuals with Visual Impairment in Qatar and Dr. Lizbeth Goodman, Director of the SMARTlab Digital Media Institute and Michael Thatcher, Regional Technology Officer, MEA for Microsoft Corporation. Charles Watt, Executive Director of Market Development and Dr. Yasir Khan, Clinical Advisor for the e-Health program represented ictQATAR in the panel.