TE does it again! Successful annual conference held in Belgrade

By Masha Tarle

Telecentre Europe held its 8th annual conference in Belgrade on 24 and 25th September, co-organised by our Serbian member International Aid Network . The 2-day event was attended by almost 150 participants and was held in the beautiful hotel Hyatt Regency Belgrade where guests enjoyed 2 days of speeches, workshops and an award ceremony with live music and dancing.

Perfect mix of attendees

This year the participants were, as expected, a majority of telecentre networks and NGOs in digital inclusion field. However, we also welcomed policy makers from Finland and Serbia, a group of primary and secondary school teachers, civil society organisations from UK and municipal authorities from the city of Venice. From the private sector, we had Tieto Latvia’s CEO Elmars Gengers who spoke at length about attracting talent to ICT professions and the ever-growing importance of soft skills such as flexibility, communication and leadership. See his presentation here. From CISCO we had the pleasure to welcome Natacha Comar who spoke about the CISCO Networking Academies making a difference all around the world. She also presented Cisco’s Get Connected course which can be implemented in telecentres and was therefore an interesting opportunity for our members to explore. For her and other speaker’s presentations please see Telecentre Europe’s Slideshare account.

Workshops and discussions

The UNITE-IT workshops were a series of simultaneous discussions on digital inclusion matters, relating to

  1. Vulnerable groups such as the elderly or disabled (#TEACvulne)
  2. The gender gap in ICT (#TEACgender)
  3. Education and training /EU’s framework for digital competence (#TEACedu)
  4. Youth employability (#TEACemploy) and
  5. a new workshop on Social innovation (#TEACinno).

For more information on what was discussed in each of these, check out the associated hashtag on Twitter.

On the first day of TEAC15 we also had our discussion panel that focused fully on youth employability and the new stakeholder platform we are launching together with European Schoolnet and Telefonica. The panel brought together representatives of 5 different fields to discuss this burning issue: researchers, civil society, ICT sector, entrepreneurs and policy makers. The video of this panel will soon be available on the new I-LINC platform.

e-participation and funding topics

The second day was dedicated to learning about e-participation: what is it about in theory and in practice. What does it mean for telecentres? And, most importantly, what skills do citizens need to have to be able to be active and participate online? Vladimir Radunovic from the Diplo Foundation made interesting presentation on this last topic that you can view here.

The e-participation session was followed by a world café on funding, where Telecentre Europe members and other NGOs talked about concrete topics they can get together for projects and funding applications. More info on this will be available for the participants in the upcoming months.

 Media 

The lively event was filmed and many of the participants were asked for statements about the conference itself, Telecentre Europe network and other topics of interest. Videos will be available soon on our YouTube channel. For the first time we had a fruitful collaboration with a team from Hungary called Media Commando who created this great summary of interviews during the conference. Have a look at it below!

We took many photos throughout the event and you can find them all on our social community site Unite-IT.

For a full and interesting Storify of Tweets see what happened here.