The organizers of the upcoming World Congress of Information Technology are promising to inject new energy into the event by giving tech-savvy young people centre stage.

“We will bring the revolutionaries to Montreal,” said Peter A. Bruck, chairman of the World Summit Youth Award. “What are these people doing? These are young people, they are people under 30, which is the majority of the world population today. And we will bring those people who use ICT, Internet and mobile to take action.”

The conference, which will be held Oct. 22 to Oct. 24, will feature a range of speakers and panelists who will discuss pressing issues such as the role of social media in our daily lives, the ICT skills shortage, and the power of technology to influence political revolutions around the world. Legendary broadcaster Larry King will join the conference as a moderator.

In a conference call Friday, King spoke about how information technology has changed his own life. He’ll be launching a new show broadcast on the Internet by Hulu.com. King described it as a “new phase” for him.

“I mean, I’m a broadcaster of 55 years and this whole world is changing almost daily. I’m proud to be a part of it.”

The conference, he said, would give attendees an opportunity to effect change around the world through technology. Along with moderating, he said he plans to attend as many sessions as possible, adding that “a trip to Montreal isn’t bad either.”

“It’s the first time in the history of WCIT that young people will join,” said Bruck, “that young people will join not just as passive audience but very much like Larry King said, as people who want to attend to be part of the change that ICT makes in this world.”

Don Tapscott, a business executive, author and speaker who will be hosting the conference, said WCIT 2012 will fall on a milestone year for humankind, citing  current economic and political turmoil around the world. The “technology genie,” he said, is finally out of the bottle.

“You look around the world: the sovereign debt crisis, the so-called  jobless recovery, which is an oxymoron in my thinking. We’ve got a double dip recession in the UK and a promise of that happening elsewhere. People are talking about a new depression, yet there’s great volatility — the Arab Spring. And I think that, arguably, the industrial revolution’s kind of coming to its natural conclusion.”

Bruck also mentioned the U.N General Assembly’s decision in 2000 to take practical measures to put an end to human misery around the world, saying that IT can play a role in making it happen. “We will show and  demonstrate that with the use of information and communication technologies things can be done.”

Founded in 1978, the World Congress on Information Technology is a global IT conference held in a different country every two years. About 3,000 delegates and 300 journalists are expected to attend WCIT 2012 from more than 80 countries.
The three-day conference will feature more than 100 speakers. Past high-profile presenters have included Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, former Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev, ex-U.S. president Bill Clinton and Dell Inc. founder and CEO Michael Dell.
WCIT will select and invite about 200 Canadian companies to attend its C200 Investment Forum, a networking event attended by international investors.
(With files from ITBusiness.ca staff)

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