Communication and Human Development: The Freedom Connection?

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Professor Mike Best to moderate a panel at Harvard University's Berkman Center for for Internet & Society. The Panel will include Amartya Sen, Michael Spence, Yochai Benkler and Clotilde Fonseca on the discussion, "Communication and Human Development: The Freedom Connection?".

Nobel Laureates Amartya Sen and Michael Spence will join leading Information and Communication Technology (ICT) experts Yochai Benkler and Clotilde Fonseca in a public discussion of the role of communication and ICTs in human development, growth and poverty reduction. What has changed, been learned, not been learned, needs to be learned, needs to be done most urgently? Panelists and the
in-person and online audiences will debate a range of topics, including:

* Communications and the technologies that enable them, like education, comprise a basic building block of human development at all levels of poverty/prosperity and freedoms.
* The "connectedness revolution" is a major dimension of globalization, with the expansions and contractions of prosperity and freedoms that globalization causes for different peoples.
* Communications, enabled by ICTs, are increasing informed public dialogue and debate in many countries and societies.
* Informed public debate at national and international levels will be essential in achieving solutions to global warming, and better management of the global economy.
* Crisis prevention and management - financial, economic, pandemic, natural disaster - are being improved by ICT-enabled communication and information delivery.
* Openness is always better than protection in principal; how far can it reach in practice?

Amartya Sen is Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, at Harvard University and was until recently the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. He has served as President of the Econometric Society, the Indian Economic Association, the American Economic Association and the International Economic Association. In 1998, he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Michael Spence is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Philip H. Knight Professor Emeritus of Management in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He is the chairman of the independent Commission on Growth and Development, focusing on growth in developing countries. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001 and the John Bates Clark Medal from the American Economics Association in 1981.

Yochai Benkler is the Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard, and faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Before joining the faculty at Harvard Law School, he was Joseph M. Field '55 Professor of Law at Yale. He writes about the Internet and the emergence of networked economy and society, as well as the organization of infrastructure, such as wireless communications.

Clotilde Fonseca is a Founding Director of the Costa Rican Program of Educational Informatics created in 1988 in Costa Rica by the Omar Dengo Foundation and the Ministry of Public Education, a program that has reached over one and half million children and teachers during its more than two decades of work. She has been Executive Director of the Omar Dengo Foundation from its founding in 1987 to 1994 and from 1996 to present.

The event will be moderated by Professor Michael Best, assistant professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology where he is a researcher with their GVU Center.

Additional Information


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Jene Gladstone
  • Created: 05/25/2010
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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