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Connecting the world

MEDIA RELEASE

20 November 2006

Connecting the world

An international leader in the use of the internet to connect disadvantaged and isolated communities to the world is to give a public lecture at Victoria University this week. The lecture will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the 2020 Communications Trust. Victoria University has been closely associated with the Trust since 1996.

Dr Michael Gurstein is the Director of the Center for Community Informatics Research, Training and Development in Vancouver, Canada. Community Informatics research and practice is concerned with empowering communities socially and economically through the use of Information Communications Technology (ICT).

He is visiting Wellington as a guest of the 2020 Communications Trust set up by the Wellington City Council to initiate community ICT programmes that connect all citizens, community groups and organisations. Its flagship Computers in Homes project makes recycled computers available to families unable to buy one for themselves. Since its pilot in Cannons Creek, Porirua in 2000, the scheme has expanded rapidly, and has now seen 1500 families in over 70 locations achieve ICT literacy - through free training in their school communities, and a PC and internet connection in their own homes.

Barbara Craig, a Lecturer in Victoria’s School of Education Studies and one of the lead researchers in the Computers in Homes project, says it is exciting to have Dr Gurstein visit.

“He is a pioneer in this new field. Dr Gurstein has consulted on community informatics all over the world. This is a chance to showcase what Victoria researchers are doing, and also to get a perspective on the progress of other parts of the world.”

Trust members will be accompanying Dr Gurstein on visits to community technology projects around New Zealand. He will be meeting with government Ministers as well as providing high level consultation to the Digital Strategy advisory group and other government agencies over the coming week.

His lecture will be held on Tuesday 21 November from 6 pm to 7.30 pm on the Kelburn Campus in Room 632 of the Murphy Building.

ENDS

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