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"Imagine an Open Society: A society where there are no monopolies of knowledge. A society where all people share goals, share work, and share results. A society where all people have a part in determining what the future will be."
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At this point in history, a point where you and I are both situated, there are an estimated 1.2 billion people, roughly one-sixth of the world's population, who lack access to safe water and live under conditions of extreme poverty.

Also at this point in history, there are many voices hailing the arrival of an “Information Society,” a society driven by the rapid development of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs). Information can be shared and spread at close to the speed of light, potentially erasing boundaries and changing all aspects of human life from education to business to health. In December, world leaders will convene at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) to discuss the issues that arise from these developments.

1 Tell Others:Create awareness and momentum around the MDGs by telling people about them. You can organize a workshop, make a brochure, or simply start a conversation! Then share with us how many people you told, and how you did it by filling out this form!

2 Create Art: You have the opportunity to have your voice, in the form of artwork, heard at WSIS in the Image Expo! Participate in the Global Gallery contest of the month, "Window on the Information Society." Submit your artwork!

3 Sign a Petition:Add your name to a list of TIG members that will be sent to your goverment, reaffirming commitment to the Millennium Development Goals. Sign here!

4 Join a Youth Consultation:Interested in the role of women in the field of information communication technologies? Join Talk to Her: A Dialogue to Action Among Young Women in ICT. Join now!

5 Join a Discussion:What do other TIG members think about ICTs and the concept of the Information Society? How can progress on the MDGs be made using ICTs? Discuss!

6 Stay Updated on Youth at WSIS:Meet Youth Creating Digital Opportunities on YCDO.net, and learn about the role that youth will have at WSIS. Join the mailing list!

7 National Information Society Campaigns:Youth are working with their peers to create digital opportunities in nineteen countries around the world. Learn more!

8 Create a Video:WFUNA (World Federation of the United Nations Associations) is running a video contest for young people around the world on the Millennium Development Goals. Participate!

9 Write an Article:Share your opinions about the Information Society through the power of the written word, and read about the opinions of other members. Visit the i-cubed zine!

10 Start a Project:Do you have an idea for a project that involves information and communication technologies and youth? Use TakingITGlobal as a resource: download the Guide To Action for ideas on how to get started, and post your project on the projects database!

ICTs have enabled a new way of working entitled “Open Source.” Open Source projects – originating in software development but now spreading to the sciences, arts, and beyond – are uniquely collaborative. Knowledge that would normally be deemed proprietary is made available and transparent so that common goals can be advanced. Work can be distributed to many, and then many share in the results.

Yet what significance does Open Source hold for the one-sixth of the world’s population that lacks access to potable water? Can a concept rooted in ICTs be of any relevance to those who don’t have these tools at their disposal?

These acute disparities that divide the globe need to be bridged. This need has been recognized by world leaders in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), created at the Millennium Summit in 2000. The Goals set targets to reduce poverty, increase access to education, and promote sustainable development by 2020, as well as serving as the guiding strategy for all the work of the United Nations and its agencies.

How could progress be made on these goals if the core principles of Open Source – share the resources, share the work, share the goals – were applied? Open Source projects to develop innovative cholera treatments and produce low-cost, education textbooks have already begun. Can collaborative work between nations increase access to potable water and primary education for all citizens? What if knowledge was disseminated to all corners of the globe to empower people?

MILLENNIUM Development Goals

The Millennium Development Goals were adopted by the member states of the United Nations in 2000, as a framework to encourage and measure development progress. The eight goals are:


Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger


Achieve universal primary education

Gender Equality

Promote gender equality and empower women

Child Mortality

Reduce child mortality


Maternal Health

Improve maternal health

other diseases

Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases


Ensure environmental sustainability

Global Partnerships

Build a global partnership for development

Learn more about the Goals by visiting:
o http://www.developmentgoals.org
o http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals
o http://www.unmillenniumproject.org