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Sustainable Internet Training Centers (SITCs)

By the millennium, more than three billion people, over half the world's population, will live in urban areas. The sustainable economic and social development of cities and towns has become a major global issue. As the level of government closest to the people, local authorities are in the best position to understand both the changing requirements of their citizens and the opportunities presented by the new information technologies and the Internet. As the complex problems of urban governance grow ever more pressing, the challenges we face may be tackled more effectively through partnerships with the private sector, governmental and non-governmental organizations like the Internet Society, educational institutions and citizens.

Just as the Internet transformed communication and scientific research in the last decade, it is presently changing commerce, education and social exchange all over the world. This transformation is having a profound impact on corporations, large and small, government and non-governmental organizations, businessmen, educators, and even ordinary citizens. With an estimated 150 million users worldwide, the number of Internet subscribers has doubled each year for the last eleven years. Electronic commerce is now growing very rapidly and should reach between $2T and $3T by the year 2003. Internet traffic is likely to exceed the global voice telephone traffic by the year 2002. The Internet is changing the life of citizens throughout the world, offering an opportunity to work more closely with people everywhere and to share experiences and learning.

In the new information age, the majority of the world's people have yet to have access to the most basic telecommunications infrastructures and its benefits. If they are to achieve sustainable economic growth, developing countries must have access to technological progress. In this regard, the Internet Society (ISOC) plays a significant role in educating institutions, governments and individuals alike around the world, through its conferences, tutorials, network training workshops and various programs. It conducts Network Training Workshops for developing countries to help them implement their Internet infrastructure and to train eminently qualified Internet leaders in these regions. In this context, the Arab Towns Organization (ATO) and the Internet Society have agreed to cooperate in a joint program aimed at implementing a network of Sustainable Internet Training Centers in the Middle East. The centers, designed to help advance the development of the Internet and related infrastructure in the Middle East, will remain in place year-round and be available for use by the general public. The courses will be available to municipal and government employees as well as ordinary citizens. Through the implementation of these centers, ISOC and ATO want to ensure that "the Internet is for everyone" and that all citizens have access to the benefits of the Internet. The first centers will be launched between March and June 2000 with more to follow.

Funds are needed to allow the Internet Society to aggressively implement SITCs and other training programs. Your support will ensure that these programs not only continue but also expand to provide a geographical coverage that is as broad as possible. Payment may be made by credit card, check money order or wirte transfer in U.S. currency only. You may fax or mail your payment to:

Internet Society
1775 Wiehle Ave., Suite 102
Reston, VA 20190-5108