Abu-Ghazaleh Stresses on the Need to Embrace Technology, the New 'Natural' Resource

BEIRUT- HE Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh stressed on the need to embrace technology, the world's third largest economy and which has become the tool fueling economies globally.

Speaking at the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) 30th Ministerial Session held at the UN House in Beirut, Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh focused on the fact that technology has become basis of developed economies the world over and is the reason for existence for some of the largest companies the world has ever seen such as Apple, Google and Amazon.

"The global economy is no longer bound by geographic boundaries. The age of the Internet means that anyone can become a knowledge worker if he has the zeal and passion. Digital opportunities are available for the IT literate and this region needs to take full advantage of this fact. We need to be producing highly literate 'knowledge workers' to meet the demands of the digital global economy," he said.

According to Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh this will strengthen the Arab region, help eradicate poverty, support citizen inclusivity and enable it to become a global player in this world.

Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh stressed on the power of the human mind led by its imagination and the ability to create placing a lot of confidence in the female power and intelligent minds saying:" They are the mothers of our future generations and we owe it to them to give them all the facilities in order to thrive. The world is revolving around technology innovations and we need to have an active role in this to ensure our economies survive and secure our portion of the pie."

Online education, according to Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh, is a vital component in empowering our societies saying:" We need to move away from old textbook teaching and push our educational systems to adopt and recognize online education; benefitting from worldwide expert."

With innovation as the core for a better future, Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh shared the news of a new comer to the world of education.

"To serve this need, I have established a new type of University that graduates innovators called Talal Abu-Ghazaleh University College for Innovation (TAGUCI.) No student will graduate from this institute unless they innovate a new ICT related product or service. This University is the first of its kind in the World. In my visits to Harvard and MIT, I admonished them for producing mere paper graduates; they were astonished at this new concept in Higher Education. TAGUCI will provide state of the art innovation labs, access to world experts and leading technology education to those that qualify to enter the University, those that have a vision to develop new technology based goods and services," he said.

"We have many bright minds in our region; many innovators that need an environment in which they can thrive. All we need is one Facebook, one WhatsApp, one technology to be developed in order to put us on the global technology map. What is Google, the largest technology company in the world? It is a software program, nothing more. Yet its revenues exceeds that of many countries in our region," he added.

"I am personally putting all my organizations resources available to help students bring such innovations to market, from product development and design to IP protection and marketing. We no longer need mere paper graduates. We need to sow the seeds today so we may reap the benefits tomorrow. We need to get on the innovation bandwagon," he stated.

With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, countries identified technology as essential for eradicating poverty, growing the economy and protecting the environment, with the goal of “leaving no one behind.” To achieve this, ESCWA continues to insist that productivity gains from technology must be balanced with fair distribution of growth with inclusive participation at all levels.

The Ministerial Session serves as a platform to discuss critical actions required from governments, the private sector and civil society in Arab countries in response to the exponential frontier or disruptive technologies sweeping the world. The goal is to maximize the benefits for sustainable development and lower risks of abuse and possible negative impact, working with governments in the Arab region.

In addition to government and civil society representatives, panelists also included representatives from the private sector, academia and youth.


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