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5th May 2009

Canada Wins Three Categories At World Summit Awards

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World Summit AwardSalzburg – Australia, Austria, Canada and New Zealand will walk the stage at the World Summit Award Gala on June 12th and collect the winning trophies for the world’s best e-Contents. These four countries emerged as clear leaders in the global contest held in the framework of the United Nations and its follow-on activities to the World Summit on Information Society.

Canadian Winners:

A Journey Into Time Immemorial from the Simon Fraser University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology Department Time Immemorial won the e-Culture & Heritage Award. The site, which is based on First Nations traditional knowledge and content was developed in collaboration with the Sto:lo web site development committee and staff of the Xa:ytem Longhouse Interpretive Center. It is an artistic and cultural interpretation and is not meant to convey precisely accurate archaeological information. Contemporary archaeologists view First Nations as partners and value oral traditions as a source of information about the past that augments the scientific approach.

Homeless NationThe multi-award winning site Homeless Nation was victorious in the e-Inclusion & Participation category. Homeless Nation is a non-profit endeavor founded by Daniel Cross, a documentary filmmaker whose films deal with social justice and Canada’s homeless. Montreal-based Homeless Nation is an internet forum where Canada’s homeless community could share their stories and refuse to be ignored. A place to create equal access to online media, of sharing truths through audio/visual content for everyone to learn from. To have these stories told as an on-going dialogue for social awareness and positive change.

Genomics Digital Lab took top prize in the e-Science & Technology category. Operated by Genomics Digital LabToronto’s SpongeLab, Genomics Digital Lab is an integrated on-line learning environment where users experience the world of biology through discovery-based learning. GDL was developed as a series of curriculum-aligned and integrated games, modules, and interactive simulations covering an array of topics in biology. To meet the needs of students, teachers, and schools, GDL is designed to be fully online, accessible through a web browser, with no downloads, or installation, accessible from home or school, and provides teachers with much needed class creation tools and integrated real-time assessment.

With three winners each, creative content producers and application designers from those countries topped approximately 20.000 other products and projects from the 157 countries participating in the 4th edition of the World Summit Award.

Thirty-four leading e-Content experts from all continents met for the WSA Grand Jury in New Delhi, India to consider 545 national finalists from United Nations Member States. “The trend to mobile contents is slow in developing and the most interesting and socially relevant contents are still to be found on the Internet” says Prof. Peter A. Bruck, WSA Chairman. “Online also beats Interactive TV and has by far outdone Off-line DVD productions in terms of the richness and diversity of quality content around the world” says Bruck.

“In contrast to mass TV and newspapers, the new media do not concentrate in one country or one region; we do not see a digital Hollywood or digital Fleet street. Rather, the most interesting e-Contents come from smaller markets, and there from smaller players. They appear to be much more in touch with users and their communities. Local content, not global, triumphs in terms of quality” concludes Bruck from the Jury proceedings.

Canada is represented in the categories e-Culture & Heritage (“A Journey into Time Immemorial”), e-Inclusion & Participation (“Homeless Nation”) and e-Science & Technology (“Genomics Digital Lab”).

Australia won in the categories of e-Business & Commerce (“Karma Currency Website”), e-Culture & Heritage (“Twelve Canoes”) and e-Health & Environment (“Tree People”). Austria presents its strongest products in the categories e-Business & Commerce (“Remediation Check”), e-Learning & Education (“E-DysGate”) and e-Science & Technology (“Water World”). New Zealand features with winning projects in e-Learning & Education (“Our Space”), e-Government & Institutions (“National Broadband Map”) and e-Entertainment & Games (“Casebook”).

The World Summit Awards were started as an Austrian initiative in the framework of the United Nations World Summit on Information Society in 2003. Today, it is the world’s leading contest for excellence and creativity and e-Content production and a global hub dedicated to closing the digital content divide and narrowing the content gap between different regions of the world.

The WSA are the only awards supported by a Public Private Partnership between professional organisations, industry, governments and UN organisations. The initiative promotes the most outstanding achievements as a flagship partnership initiative of the UN’s Global Alliance for ICT and Development and in close collaboration with UNESCO, UNIDO and a world wide professional partner network.

WSA is a global not-for-profit activity governed by a Board of Directors of world-leading
e-Content and multimedia experts with its global office at the International Center for New Media in Salzburg, Austria.

Two awards each went to China, Egypt and Italy, which have shown excellent results already in the last years, but also to the newcomers Ghana and Sri Lanka, showing that excellence in the content use of new ICTs is neither a matter of size of population, nor is it driven by wealth.

One award each went to Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, India, Israel, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Oman, Poland, Slovenia and Spain. Two newcomers from countries with less developed content industries that returned home with 2009 World Summit Awards leapfrogging technologies with creative innovations are Democratic Republic of the Congo (“Congoblog”) and Nigeria (“Mark of ‘Uru’ ”).

Key sponsors of the WSA include the Internet Society, which has been supporting the initiative since its launch in 2003, and Indigo Brainmedia – the leading and most innovative digital magazine from Mexico, which won the WSA in the e-Entertainment category in 2007 and since then entered into a long term visionary as the main supporter and sponsor.

The WSA 09 Winners’ Gala will be celebrated in Monterrey, Mexico, on June 12, 2009 in collaboration with the UN GAID’s Global Forum. The winners will also be presenting their award-winning products at the two day WSA Winners Conference and Exhibition, starting June 10th.

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