Technicity Times
    Issue 3• June 2003

CTCNet Conference June 27-29 in Washington, DC

12th Annual Conference Promises to be Biggest Yet

By Stephen Quinn and John Zoltner

This June 27-29th in Washington, DC, Community Technology Centers' Network (CTCNet) will welcome over 700 professionals from the community technology field to its 12th Annual Conference, Creating Our Future: Shaping the Agenda of Community Technology. Conference attendees will include representatives from a diverse range of CTCs as well as the nonprofit, government and corporate sectors, including community technology leaders and practitioners, policymakers, educators, funders and activists.

The conference is sponsored primarily by Hewlett Packard, with additional support from the AOL Time Warner Foundation, the Ford Foundation and Tech Foundation, and is presented in collaboration with the Alliance for Technology Access (ATA) and the Association for Community Networking (AFCN). This year's event promises to be the largest in the conference's twelve-year history, after a year of tremendous growth for the organization.

This year, the CTCNet conference seeks to set a clear path forward as the community technology movement arrives at a crossroads. As the phrase "The Digital Divide" continues to lose currency - along with the attention of major funders - more than 1,000 CTCNet members are concerned about the road ahead. While it is natural to react to these environmental shifts, CTCNet believes we are uniquely positioned to proactively create our own path and collectively construct this road.

Creating Our Future: Shaping the Agenda of Community Technology

This year's theme, Creating Our Future: Shaping the Agenda of Community Technology, sets the stage for this impending work. The past two years demonstrated to community technology practitioners and advocates that our network must do more than deliver great programs and measurable outcomes. We've learned that if we are not also involved in local, state and national policy debates, important decisions will be made without us. Over the last year, CTCNet teamed with a number of other organizations on the Digital Empowerment Campaign (www.digitalempowerment.org) and successfully advocated to maintain funding for the 2003-2004 Department of Education's CTC initiative and the Department of Commerce's Technology Opportunities Program. Our collective action is not only necessary -- it's effective.


The challenge we put forth this year is simple: Rather than struggling to maintain the status quo, how can we use our numbers, energy, and effective spaces across the country to define our own agenda?


The 2003 conference will feature fifty diverse sessions presented by leaders in the field. Other conference events will include: the HP Info Pavilion, a public-access computer lab where conference participants can access email and download session materials; the Community Technology Share Fair, where CTCs will share their tools and resources with their peers; the Nonprofit Open Source Initiative (NOSI) Open Source Cyber Café, offering participants an opportunity to explore Linux and other open source software; an Exhibitor Showcase featuring vendors offering products & services to CTCs; and regional and special-interest networking events

On June 26, CTCNet will hold a day of Pre-Conference events, including workshops by ScienceQuest, YouthLearn, the Alliance for Technology Access and the CTC VISTA Project. CTCNet will also present two firsts for its annual conference designed to highlight the importance - and the efficacy - of engagement in policy debates:

CTCNet's First Community Technology Education Day on Capitol Hill
Participants will convene on Capitol Hill to walk the halls of congress and educate their elected representatives about the important work community technology centers are accomplishing in their states and districts. The day will begin with training by peers who have been active in state and local community technology policy efforts and will draw on recent advocacy days in California and Illinois and end with visits to congressional and senate offices to meet with representatives and/or their staffs.

The CTCNet President's Reception
This reception will honor leaders who are helping us to ensure equitable access to information technology tools and skills. The evening's Mistress of Ceremonies will be award-winning CNN Anchor Fredricka Whitfield; former U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman will deliver the Keynote address.

An Awards Ceremony will recognize advocacy leaders and key congressional supporters; distinguished guests will include Representatives Major Owens (D-NY), Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and the office of Nydia Valezquez (D-NY); the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR); Hewlett Packard; and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, Larry Irving.

More than 1,000 independent community technology centers

CTCNet is a national nonprofit membership organization of more than 1,000 independent community technology centers helping low-income communities gain access to information technologies and the skills to use them. The CTCNet National Conference is an annual gathering of CTCNet affiliate members, leaders in the field and others interested in creating equitable participation in information technology. It seeks to expand and advance the community technology field by promoting the development of participants individually, regionally and collectively as a movement. The conference is repeatedly cited by members as one of the most important services offered by CTCNet.

For more information, visit http://www2.ctcnet.org/conf/2003/


John Zoltner is CTCNet’s Washington, DC-based Director of Programs & Policy. He can be reached at jzoltner@ctcnet.org. Stephen Quinn is Conference Coordinator for CTCNet. He can be reached at squinn@ctcnet.org.

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