Back in July 2003, European Commission (EC) initiated a communication programme with South East Asian nations on ‘New Partnership with South East
Asia’. The programme was envisaged as a strategic move to establish active dialogue and business relations between the two regions for development of the emerging information society and knowledge economy. Under the aegis of this programme, European Commission for Information Society and Media and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) jointly organised the uro-Southeast Asia 2006 Cooperation Forum on Information and Communication Technologies (EUSEA 2006) conference from 19th- 20th June 2006, at the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore. With more than 500 participants coming from various parts of Europe and Southeast Asian nations, the event provided a perfect setting for people to learn new initiatives, understand each other’s interest, share knowledge and mobilize partnerships. Opening the main conference, Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media emphasized the crucial need of a serious collaborative platform for encouraging governments, industry and research institutions of EU nations and Southeast Asian (SEA) nations to forge advanced ICT research, technology development and joint projects deployment for ushering into the modern information society and knowledge economy. In her speech, Mrs. Reding urged SEA nations to open up their economies, under the rationale of the huge Conference Report intellectual and economic benefits that it brings in. She assured of best possible cooperation and support from her Commission in making such initiatives to be successful. Some of the other speakers of the opening session of the conference were – His Excellency Ong eng Yong, ASEAN Secretary-General, Mr. Shankar Iyer, President, European Chamber of Commerce, Singapore and Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Information, Communication & Arts, Singapore, Dr. Balaji Sidavasen. All of them highly appreciated the initiative of EU and ASEAN in creating a collaborative platform for knowledge sharing and business partnership. The keynote session that followed brought together a power panel of eminent scientists, researchers and industry leaders from Europe and Southeast Asia, who reflected on key ICT initiatives, interventions and innovations undertaken by their respective agency/enterprise. Power packed presentations of speakers from the ICT industry, (namely Tim Cowen of British Telecom and Jean- Claude Marquet of ST Microelectronics) was seamlessly placed with insightful deliberations of David West, Project Director, DANTE nd Dr. Thaweesak Koanantakool, Director of National Electronics and Computer Technology, hailand. Each with their unique set of knowledge and expertise brought forth whatever is latest and cuttingedge in their own domain. The remaining one and half days of the conference had 36 parallel sessions, comprising 24 technical sessions, 6 training workshops and 6 networking sessions. The technical sessions focused on a variety of issues relating to technology, applications, egulatory and policy framework, research etc. Training sessions of the event conducted by experts from the European Commission proved to be very helpful and informative for those looking for business collaborations and research funding for advanced R&D in the field of information systems, communications and technology development. The networking sessions titled – ‘Get in Touch’, provided an ideal setting for people to know each other and about their initiatives in an informal, yet, in a facilitated environment. The sessions were designed with an objective to create opportunity for general participants to deliver brief presentations and overview of the technology, application or research they are working on and involve the audience in an open discussion on technological, commercial and social feasibility of their products and solutions.
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