Abu-Ghazaleh Calls on the World to Embrace Digital Revolution

19-Oct-2015

At the launch of the Global Knowledge Networking initiative 
Abu-Ghazaleh Calls on the World to Embrace Digital Revolution 
GENEVA-------October 19, 2015------ The Global Knowledge Networking initiative that supports the missions of Geneva’s prominent organizations serving the international community, contributing to global peace and security by fostering innovative partnerships in the area of training and education was launched recently with HE Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh stressing that digital revolution is unstoppable.
In his keynote speech, Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh, president of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh University said that the landscape of global business is changing rapidly with an avalanche of technology changing the way individuals interact with one another around the world.
“Wave after wave of technological innovation is coming out daily and is being adopted at an unprecedented rate. Since the development of the microchip, technologies have revolutionized the world by making it a smaller place to live, work, and get an education,” he said during the event co-hosted by the Global Challenges Forum and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in cooperation with the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and MIIS Cyber.
“People are no longer restricted by the boundaries of geography and locality as the global marketplace has become accessible to anyone, with opportunities and challenges never encountered before. This phenomenon assures me of the future of both education and business,” he added.
According to Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh, Modern technology has made business more efficient and more productive while warning that “those who do not welcome it will be left behind.”
“The global adoption of technologies such as e-signatures, the acceptance of e-payments, and the establishment of governmental e-services, are all society’s way of saying that such technology has come of age and needs to be embraced,” he said.
Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh tackled the effect of technology on various sectors such as education and business with special focus on the social impact of using the latest technology as the world is divided between native and digital immigrants.
“The explosion of technology today has led to a new generation of children, for whom technology is native; it is in their blood and part and parcel of their daily lives. These ‘digital natives’ have the upper hand when using technology, whether for leisure or for work. Their mentors, the ‘digital immigrants’, are those who came to technology later in life and who started to use technology at an advanced age,” he said.
“As technology and biology advance, the link between humans and technology will become indistinguishable which will have huge implications in the way that businesses function and how future generations will be educated. The singularity, as it is known, has been spoken about widely by many commentators. This is where an intelligence explosion will come about as a result of a symbiotic relationship between humans and technology,” he added.
In his speech, Abu-Ghazaleh focused on digital education as the key for a greater future.
“Education is a fundamental human right and is something which we are constantly striving to acquire. In 2011, the United Nations proclaimed that access to the Internet is a basic human right. As the UN GAID chair at the time, I fought for this declaration and contributed to its drafting. We have a challenge to reach and educate those who cannot travel to obtain higher education, whether due to monetary constraints, travel visa restrictions, or the remoteness of their domicile, such as the millions of people living in sub-Saharan Africa and other such regions,” he said.
“This is especially important to the underprivileged so that they can break out of vicious cycles of poverty and combat the unacceptable illiteracy levels we see today. If education is going to truly stand up as a human right, it needs to be of a world-class caliber, and available to all in an equal manner. This is my belief in the democratization of education, he added
Universities without walls was a focus in Abu-Ghazaleh’s speech who made education accessible to the world by establishing three educational entities: two in Jordan and one in Bahrain.
“Universities of the future need to be borderless and free from the physical campuses we see today. They need to be technology-based and have technical trainers to teach students how to use the various technologies to their maximum. This change is happening whether we like it or not and educators need to heed the warning signs. Universities that want to survive this tsunami need to change or else they will find themselves irrelevant. In fact, I see the future of universities as being purely digital endeavors with brick and mortar institutes being a thing of the past,” Abu-Ghazaleh said.
Abu-Ghazaleh has been an instrumental powerhouse in establishing up a number of projects in the sphere of online education apart from TAGI-UNI including: Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Cloud, the first private cloud implementation in the Arab region, TAGEPEDIA, the first credible Arabic encyclopedia, ICT in Education in Five Arab States’ report, a joint collaboration between Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, TAGITOP, a joint partnership with Samsung to produce custom-made, affordable notebooks for Arab citizens in addition to others.
Abu-Ghazaleh concluded by saying: “My objective is to change peoples’ attitude towards digital education. I want to prepare graduate students to become global citizens, equipped with the best skills to perform, make their mark in their respective economies, and compete on a global level. Digital education stemming from accredited international institutions is now within the reach of all students. It allows for world-class higher education to reach across cultures to learners and it promotes ‘elite education for all’, not just ‘education for all’.”
The Global Knowledge Networking launch consisted of three sessions: Challenges, Opportunities and Solutions and was held under the theme Toward A Smart Century: Global Partnerships for Innovative Learning and Leader Development.

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