Digital divide reunites me with an old friend

This week (tomorrow in fact) I’ll be participating in a talk-show formatted panel discussion with an old friend, Rey Ramsey. I met Rey in his second year of founding the hugely successful One Economy Corporation, a U.S. based NGO that has grown from four people working in a basement, to more than 40 people operating internationally, in just seven years. In addition to its phenomenal growth, the organization has been equally successful innovating new and creative ways to use ICT to combat the digital divide.

One Economy’s accomplishments speak for themselves. Intel has been working with One Economy for a few years now, both supporting its programs financially and filling a board position on its international group, One Global Economy. Needless to say, I’m a big fan of One Economy and if you haven’t had a chance to check them out, you should.

Anyway, the conference I’ll have the pleasure of seeing Rey at is being hosted hosted by The Competitive Institute, a public-private collaboration for regional development. Bill Gillis, founder and Director of the Center to Bridge the Digital Divide (CBDD) at Washington State University and Tim Dubel, community relations at Microsoft, will join Rey and I. Together we’ll be sharing ideas about and challenges faced in fighting the good fight called digital inclusion.

Intel, has a tremendous initiative underway in this space called the World Ahead Program. It’s got a lot of notoriety over the last two years. A purpose driving World Ahead is helping close the digital divide at the macro-level, where billions of people world wide, but mostly in emerging markets, are disconnected from the internet age. But our tactics of course are at the local level where we have more than 200 digital inclusion programs underway in more than 60 countries. I think we’re doing our part. And we could probably do more. After all there’s lots of room to play in this space. But then you knew that already.

I’ll write more after our event tomorrow and maybe even post some pictures.