CEO Helani Galpaya was invited to speak in one of the panels at the Second European Multidiscriplinary Conference on Global Internet Governance Actors, Regulations, Transactions and Strategies held 26-27 April 2018 at Cardiff University, Wales. The theme of the conference this year was “Overcoming Inequalities in Internet Governance: framing digital policies and capacity building policies”. The conference was a peer-reviewed academic conference, but had two panels to which speakers were invited based on expertise. Helani spoke on the panel titled “Politics and Policy of Cyber Capacity Building” which had three other speakers: Emily Taylor (Chatham House), Panagiota-Nayia Barmpaliou (European Commission), Robert Collier (UK Cabinet, Foreign & Commonwealth Office). The panel was moderated by Andrea Calderaro (Cardiff University).
LIRNEasia and CPRsouth were created to contribute to better laws, policies, regulation and implementation in the emerging Asia Pacific. There are many ways to do this, including the actual training of the relevant people within government. For example, from 2013 onward we have conducted multiple training and awareness programs for legislators and regulatory staff in Myanmar. To say that Myanmar legislators need help with understanding new technologies and new business models is one thing. To say that members of the US Congress do is quite something else.
The Young Scholars’ Program conducted alongside the annual CPRsouth conference has been offered eleven times since January 2007, with the support of IDRC. The purpose of both events is to develop policy intellectuals in the global south. A tracer study conducted in 2016 found that those who had participated in the Young Scholars’ Program before presenting papers at the conference were the most policy engaged. The program was re-conceptualized accordingly, and the Young Scholars’ Program placed firmly in the foreground starting August 2017. View the full report here.
Myanmar Times Opinion by Namali Premawardhana Namali Premawardhana’s op-ed based on the ITU’s Measuring the Information Society 2017 report and LIRNEasia’s own survey results has been published in Myanmar’s leading English newspaper, the Myanmar Times. Here are two of the summary paras: Two important aspects of ICT development which the ITU does not address are women and digital literacy. Myanmar’s story of ICT access, use and skills among women and other marginalised communities is less impressive than the broader narrative. The 2016 LIRNEasia data revealed that although more women in Myanmar own a phone now than in 2015, men were 28pc more likely to own a mobile phone. In addition, nearly half of mobile handset owners require help to perform basic activities with a phone, such as installation of an app, creating logins and passwords and adjusting settings.
Most of the organizations that were given time at the First Session of the Steering Committee meeting used the time to advertise themselves. I chose instead to present our broad range of contributions to AP-IS in the form of a short presentation of work done under the Project on Myanmar as an Inclusive Information Society. I briefly described some findings from the baseline and endline surveys, pointing out that much of what came out from the ITU on Internet users was worthless. We are not expecting to do such surveys again, though there is value in surveys being done periodically. My second point was on the need to develop an understanding of broadband quality of service experience.
Deputy Minister & Member of Parliament, Sri Lanka | former Consultant Lead Economist at LIRNEasia
Tomorrow, we start the CPRsouth Young Scholar Program at the Inya Lake Hotel, Yangon. I was asked to begin the program with a new topic, “What is policy research? What is special about communication policy research?” That proved more interesting than I thought. The slides are below.
Organized by LIRNEasia and Internet Society Nepal (ISOC Nepal) (with support from the Ford Foundation). Dates: 14th – 17th July 2017 Location: To be decided OBJECTIVES The objective of the four-day residential course is to produce discerning and knowledgeable consumers of research who are able to engage in broadband policy and regulatory processes. At the end of the course attendees will: − Be able to find and assess relevant research & evidence − Be able to summarize the research in a coherent and comprehensive manner − Understand broadband policy and regulatory processes in Nepal − Have the necessary tools to improve their communication skills − Have some understanding of how media function and how to effectively interact with media WHO MAY APPLY We will be selecting 25 participants (including junior – mid level officers of government and regulatory agencies, university students, lecturers, academics, media personnel and other civil society officers working in related fields) to participate in the course. We hope to have a group of participants diverse in experience and discipline as this would enrich the discussion and give different perspectives of the issues related to broadband. FUNDING • Lowest-cost airfare to and from Location (where applicable).
Over 80 sitting MPs of the Yangon Regional Hluttaw participated in a two day course on e-government organized by LIRNEasia and MIDO. The course took place on 22 and 23 June within the parliamentary premises and saw the participation of representatives from National League for Democracy (NLD), the Military and Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). Rohan Samarajiva and Helani Galpaya of LIRNEasia, Pranesh Prakash of CIS and Htaike Htaike Aung and Yatanar Htun of MIDO made presentations to the MPs over the two days. The presentations were well received and lively discussions followed. Many MPs also visited the digital security clinic for one to one consultations on how they could secure their social media accounts.
MIDO and LIRNEasia offered a one day program that addressed issues of telecom and Internet policy and regulation, along with e government and social media in Yangon to around 20 legislators from the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament. The slides used are given below: What is the significance of ICTs to legislators?: Rohan Samarajiva What to people in Myanmar do with ICTs? Results of field research: Helani Galpaya Legislation, policies, plans, strategies, regulation: Rohan Samarajiva What is independent regulation? Why is it needed?
It was in 2008, seven years ago, that we said that Mary Grace Mirandilla-Santos exemplified the success of our capacity building approach, whereby we achieved greater results for less money than others in the region. Today, she was the dinner speaker at the special event held to mark the end of Young Scholars Program that she attended as a Young Scholar in January 2007 at CPRsouth1 in Manila, her hometown. Today, she talked about how she had been able to influence Philippines policy on measuring broadband quality and giving people value for money. We should have taped her. Here are her slides, here’s what will be carried in our 2014-15 Annual Report.
Eighteen members of Parliament from six different political parties, including the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party and the opposition National League for Democracy, assembled before start time this past weekend for an ICT awareness program organized by the Myanmar ICT for Development Organization (MIDO) where LIRNEasia supplied the content. They then stayed engaged throughout, asked many questions and asked for more. This was a unique experience that, in our view, bodes well for the country. The harmonious interactions among politicians from different parties were impressive. But even more was the genuine interest in learning about the changes that were coming to their country.
It was around this time in 2006 that Prashanthi Weragoda, conference organizer extraordinaire, and I went off to Manila to discuss the possibilities of holding the first CPRsouth conference there. We were aiming for 2006, but the first conference was actually held in January 2007. Much water has flowed under the bridge since then. The conference that starts next week is perhaps the biggest we have organized. It’s 2.
It was not long ago, that we thought the Myanmar would remain asleep whilst the rest of the world (save maybe North Korea) reaped the rewards of a vibrant telecommunications sector. Even a few short years ago, the only phone connectivity was through kiosks such the one depicted in the photo, a mobile SIM could cost upwards of a few thousand dollars. But things are changing. Myanmar is opening up. Two mobile operators have been licensed.
It was tough to engage when reforms were not on the cards and Myanmar seemed happy to watch while the whole world got connected. Those days we wrote about China selling mobile service inside Myanmar and about cables that were cut. We also wrote about Cyclone Nargis and our small contributions to relief. But all that changed once the reform winds started blowing. I’ve been asked why so many blog posts on Myanmar.
We have not written much about MOOCs so far on this blog, but have been following developments avidly. As LIRNEasia’s work in capacity building begins to take up more of our time, we need to think about how we can effectively mobilize ICTs in our work. The report that we highlight here seems to point the way forward. Ms. Junn hoped that blending M.