World Telecommunication Day (WTD) has been celebrated annually on 17 May since 1969.The date marks the anniversary of the founding of ITU on 17 May 1865, when the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris. In 1973, the event was formally instituted at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos, Spain. Every year a topical theme is chosen and events celebrating that theme take place around the world.

With the growth in importance of information technology alongside telecommunications especially the Internet it was recognised that the topic also needed to be brought to public attention. In 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) called upon the United Nations General Assembly to declare 17 May as World Information Society Day (WISD). The aim was to focus on the importance of these technologies and the wide range of related social and economic issues that had been raised by the summit. The UN General Assembly resolved in March 2006 that World Information Society Day (WISD) would indeed take place every year on 17 May. Later in 2006, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya, Turkey, decided to combine both celebrations as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD).

The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide. World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD), like its predecessors, focuses on a particular theme for each event.

The theme for World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2019(WTISD-18), “Bridging the standardization gap,” will focus on the Setting standards is a fundamental pillar of ITU’s mission as the specialized agency of the United Nations for information and communication technologies (ICTs). ITU standards help accelerate ICTs for all Sustainable Development Goals. The 2019 theme will allow ITU Membership and other key stakeholders to focus on the opportunities for: participation of developing countries in ITU’s standards-making process; empowering local experts in the standardization process at the national, regional and international levels; and promoting the implementation of international standards in developing countries.

In recent years there has been significant progress in AI technology, made possible by tremendous advances in contributing fields, such as Big Data, machine learning, computing power, storage capacity and cloud computing, among others. AI-based technologies are already emerging as a key component of proactive tools and applications being used to help people lead better lives by improving healthcare, education, finance, agriculture, transportation, and a wide range of other services.

The World Assembly of Youth at the centre of youth service organises year-round events to tackle youth issues. One of our prominent is the annual event known as Melaka International Youth Dialogue (MIYD). In 2003 we organised MIYD with a theme Youth and Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Development. The event brought together youth and youth leaders from different countries to convene and tackle the issue. A declaration was drafted and sent to National Youth Councils and governments as suggestions to adopt their policies. Here is the link for the 2013 declaration:


Upcoming Events

MGBF In The News