The Eighth Sedona

The Impact of Technology on the Developing World

Ocho Rios, Jamaica


The Sedona Conversations in Jamaica exceeded our expectations! The most important revelation many of us had is how the developing world can and is positioning itself to be a player and force in the new digital economy.

One exception was the excellent presentation given by Geremie Sawadogo relating his African research and experiences in Nigeria and West Africa. Africa's struggle to close a digital divide is very daunting. Richard Gordon, representing Jamaican Minister of Science and Technology planning processes, spoke to Jamaica's efforts to deregulate certain industries--such as wireless technologies--to spread availability of technology throughout the island population.

Allen Cissell spoke of Thailand's strong emergence as an economic power-- probably second only to China--where they are planning a university graduate education effort to produce 115,000 engineers in five to six years. Cissell also reviewed their plans to create 28 new community colleges.

Paul Elsner was able to relay Dr. Attar ur-Rahman's general comments at Abu Dhabi's E-merging Technology Conference at Abu Dhabi Men's College, citing developing countries--whose images the western media might project as in a state of political disarray (two assassination attempts on their president in two weeks)-are, in fact, very well wired reaching nearly every Pakistani city; and he projects 95% digital literacy in five years.

Bernie Luskin reviewed the program and curriculum design he has been engaging in for the build-out of his media studies program at the Fielding Institute in Santa Barbara. He has also designed two other leadership programs; but his work and framework in media psychology is seminal and precedent for designers, iconographers, video and audio production leaders, and, most important, for "learning." His energy and passion never cease to amaze us. We are lucky to have him as one of the early inspirations for the whole Sedona concept, an idea he and Elsner thought up on a train in North Scotland some years ago.

Idahlynn Karre, an early architect of the International Chair Academy which Gary Filan places all over the world, led us through a presentation and exercise on the transformative aspects of leadership. She also picked up on Russ Ferstandig's, Cynthia Heelan's and Bernie Luskin's theme that emotion counts in personal development, learning, and even media production and its "learning" goals. We wish her well in her work and her contributing collaborations to preparing the "new cadre" of international leaders in developing countries, in which her colleague Gary Filan is much engaged.

I was inspired by Bertha Landrum's presentation on "wealth creation," which she translates into "jobs, jobs, jobs." She says that for both developing and developed countries this is a central preoccupation. No doubt it plays more centrally in the US than what some election pundits would admit.

Dale Doubleday's story-telling presentation of student media designer, artist, and digital illustrator Ricardo hit on the central theme of all Sedona Conversations. Every child, teenager, young adult has the potential of being a designer, a creator, an artist, a publisher-if only given the basic tool of a PC with even minimal software, usually already installed in most PCs or Macs. It is also extraordinarily rewarding to see a media or graphic design program at work producing such talent--whether it is in Dale's Phoenix College department or any school in the world just normally equipped with the right lower end technology put in the hands of a creative student. Probably the most relevant of all presentations. There is no limit to Ricardo's options as of now!

Not necessarily an unfortunate omission, but I had to move out my opening comments and address (on "Why digital media?") and my brief overview of the "New Internationalism"--a work in progress with Gail Mee , Naomi Story, Roy Cohen and Andrea Greene. We did have the chance to say some things about it and indicate that participants can read the paper we distributed and which I am posting on the web (both PowerPoint and white paper). We will also have other presentations linked on the web as well.

In closing, we are energized by the Eighth Sedona Conversation in Jamaica! We look forward to the Sedona in Sedona June 17-19, 2004-"Leadership from Within," which Cynthia Heelan is pulling together as we speak.


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