Nº 3 2015 > Editorial
Celebrating 150 Years of Innovation
Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary‑General
150 years ago, the International Telegraph Conference led to the creation of ITU as the custodian of a historic Convention and a unique platform to build a connected society for social good. In this issue of ITU News, we celebrate both the vision of ITU’s founding members, as well as the ongoing commitment of ITU membership towards the principles of global collaboration and harmony that helped to found ITU back in 1865. Indeed, these are values that as Secretary-General I am determined to uphold firmly — to ensure that the collaboration and unity of purpose which marked our beginnings underpin our ongoing work in radio-spectrum management, telecommunication standards and connecting the world.
Throughout a century and a half of global challenges — including two World Wars and a Cold War — ITU membership has striven to provide telecommunications and universal access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) to promote peace, harmony and economic prosperity. Today, based on a mounting body of evidence for the economic growth gains realizable from ICTs, this challenge is even more significant. Important policy debates continue — on the funding of universal access, the neutrality of networks, and how to galvanize growth in the Small- and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) sector which is vital to driving innovation and entrepreneurship. ITU’s work is helping to research and provide options to all these tough policy questions.
Our 150th celebrations this year bring together ITU Member States, Sector Members, Associates and Academia members in a demonstration of their strong support for the principles embodied by ITU. The celebrations are a tribute to the extraordinary innovation of the global ICT community and the crucial role that ITU plays as a platform to bring cohesion to this innovation.
There are a total of 13 ITU members generously partnering with ITU for the anniversary celebrations, and on behalf of ITU, I would like to thank our Gold Partners, Silver Partners and Bronze Partners for their generous support. The celebrations also extend far beyond Geneva, with many Member States having informed us that they will be hosting celebrations and various activities in honour of ITU’s contribution to 150 years of innovation in the telecommunication and ICT sectors.