Royalty at WTISD celebration
Hakim Hayat

Brunei Darussalam observed World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) at The Empire Hotel and Country Club in Jerudong yesterday, graced by Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah.

WTISD is celebrated annually by many countries across the world to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention, and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an agency of the United Nations.

This year, the ITU is determined to harness the full potential of ICTs for the benefit of women and girls by eliminating gender disparities and empowering them to meet their goals and aspirations.

The theme of this year's WTISD, 'Women and Girls in ICT', aims to ensure that the significant, female half of the world's population will march forward as equals. The theme also supports and promotes the ITU's designated 'Girls ICT Day' which is celebrated every fourth Thursday of April.

Organised by the Authority of Info-Communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AiTI) in collaboration with Telekom Brunei Berhad (TelBru), DST and B-Mobile Communications Sdn Bhd, the event saw a panel discussion by prominent women in the ICT industry, from both the government and private sectors, who shared opportunities and challenges for women's involvement and participation in ICT related activities as well as career prospects in ICT for women.

The Minister of Communications, Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar in his opening speech said that, with such an impressive lineup of speakers and the highlighted opportunities, he hoped the event would inspire the public, particularly the women and girls, to use ICT as a key tool for improvement and progress in the way they work, live and play.

The panel discussion, moderated by Haslina Taib, CEO of BAG Networks, saw three speakers delivering their respective working papers - Dr Sophiana Chua Abdullah, Researcher at the Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS); Mariah Taha, Senior Special Duties Officer and Chief Information Officer at the Prime Minister's Office; and Azizah Ali, Country Manager of Microsoft Sdn Bhd.

Local woman entrepreneur Hjh Noraini Hj Jamudin of "Taste on Tray" then shared her experience on how ICT has helped her to successfully start, manage and run a home business in the bakery industry.

HRH Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah later consented to present mock certificates of participation in ICT training programmes to the two leading women associations in the country, namely the Council of Women of Brunei Darussalam and Women Business Council of Brunei Darussalam. Two training providers, HAD Technologies and Tech One Global Pte Ltd, will be conducting the International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) and website training courses respectively to about 70 women from both associations. HRH also consented to receive a pesambah from the organising committee.

Also present at the event yesterday were the Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Datin Paduka Hjh Adina binti Othman; Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Communications and Chairman of AiTI, Dato Paduka Awg Hj Alaihuddin bin Pehin Orang Kaya DiGadong Seri Lela Dato Seri Utama Hj Awg Mohd Taha; and the Chief Executive of AiTI, Hj Yahkup bin Hj Menudin.

AiTi has lined up a number of activities to mark the WTISD celebration, amongst which are an essay writing competition and radio quizzes. - Borneo Bulletin (18 May 2012)