The digital chapter of the Federation of Information Technology in Sri Lanka (FITIS) is gearing up to launch the first-ever Sri Lanka Internet Day 2021, this April.
The two-day virtual event, which will be held in association with the Technology Ministry and Education Reforms, Open Universities and Distance Learning Promotion State Ministry, will go live on April 6 and 7 of this year.
Spearheading Internet Day 2021 under the theme ‘Digital Inclusion’ are Co-Chairs Zulfer Jiffry, President of the FITIS digital chapter and founder CEO of digital app-based mobility company PickMe and Lathika Pai, Country Head, Venture Capital and Private Equity Partnerships at Microsoft India, with the support of Aruna Alwis, CEO of FITIS and the project committee.
“Creating an event around the Internet is significant for FITIS, as this has become the single most important salvaging factor of the pandemic, which impacted all our lives. One of the things that surfaced during this time is that we are not doing enough to bridge the digital divide and be inclusive. It has also become clear that it is not the responsibility of just one set of individuals to create opportunity for all but more of a community effort to build structures that are inclusive to all levels of society,” said Jiffry.
Last year, the Internet crossed its 25th year milepost and there are almost four billion people around the world using it. What this highlights is that there is a lot more work to be done for it to reach every nook and cranny. The Internet is particularly absent or very low amongst marginalised communities, who are more vulnerable to the volatilities of day-to-day life.
Pai commented, “Sri Lanka is at a critical inflexion point in digital adoption. It is important for public and private entities to come together to help accelerate this, which will result in compounded growth for Sri Lanka’s economy.”
The two-day event will have approximately 40 virtual sessions, where some important topics will be addressed by leaders and experts of the public and private sectors. The topics will include the digital vision for Sri Lanka, the country’s digital strategy, bridging divides, the foundation of Sri Lanka’s digital economy, connectivity to all, tech start-ups ecosystem, etc. and some sessions will be conducted in Sinhala and Tamil.
High-powered panels will moderate the discussions and judge interactive competitions for the media, teachers
An art competition for teachers and youth, a panel discussion for media on fake news in the age of information, women entrepreneurs, women in agriculture and a host of other sessions are amongst the rundown of activities.
All the events will be addressed by industry experts, subject gurus and motivational speakers, who will give valuable insights on how the respective groups can benefit from the Internet and what digital inclusivity can do for the entire country. The president of the digital chapter of FITIS said they have also sent out an invitation to Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft Corporation, to address the event and await his response.