600 gather in Bogotá for Huawei Talent Summit

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The explosive growth of artificial intelligence and various digital technologies and applications are set to have a profound influence on the approach to and delivery of education for future generations, speakers said at a regional digital talent summit said on Monday.

The 2nd Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Talent Summit on Dec. 5th and 6th attracted about 600 attendees including educational and industry leaders, ministers and senior government officials, as well as students winners of various talent programs in the region.

The two-day event, themed “Delving into Digital Talent Development in the Smart Era,” was jointly organized by UNESCO, Huawei, the Government of Colombia, German Development Cooperation (GIZ)), and Agencia EFE.

The event focused on topics including challenges in digital talent development in the region, best practices, policymaking and outlook, and efforts to bridge the gaps in digital talent development across genders and in isolated communities. According to UNESCO research, limited access to educational resources, qualified educators, and infrastructure impedes the development of digital skills, particularly in marginalized communities or rural areas.

“There is no doubt that the technology industry has an extraordinary potential for growth in Latin America and the Caribbean and to benefit the region with innovative solutions for many of the challenges it faces,” said Claudia Uribe, director of the UNESCO Regional Multisectoral Office in Santiago.

At the event, participants from different sectors said that overcoming existing challenges and further promoting digital talent development requires concerted efforts. The President of House of Representatives, Congress of Colombia, Andrés Calle said, “Colombia must aspire to become a leader in innovation and the development of digital talent, and to achieve this we cannot do it alone and that’s why we are here. It is crucial to promote the creation of innovation ecosystems that facilitate collaboration between entrepreneurs, startups and consolidated companies. This will foster a dynamic exchange of ideas and experiences, fostering an environment conducive to creativity and the generation of innovative solutions.”

“Digital talent is an essential part of our vision. We rely on and cherish the young talent, their creative thinking and innovation, in particular, to achieve that vision. As both an employer and an important party in developing the digital talent pool, we have a commitment to grooming the young talent of the future,” said Jeff Wang, president of the Public Affairs and Communications Department of Huawei.

Huawei marked the 10th year of its flagship Seeds for the Future talent program in Latin America and the Caribbean this year. The company first brought the program to Latin America in 2014, starting with Colombia and then expanding it to about 20 countries in the region. To date, it has awarded about 2,100 scholarships to support training in ICT technologies for students from the region.

In addition, the company has partnerships with over 450 local universities and colleges through its Huawei ICT Academy program, which is aimed to offer capacity building help to the education institutions so that they can offer certificate programs to students in the region. It has also been organizing Global ICT Competitions in recent years, with a number of student teams from Latin America making it to the Global Finals in Shenzhen.

Huawei said it has established a good trust relationship with partners. “Huawei is committed to working closely with all parties to find local talent, organize training, and send them to the world stage to make greater contributions,” said Jeff Wang.

Huawei and UNESCO signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the event to take their cooperation to the next level. The two sides agreed to follow the convening of the annual event on ICT Talents in Latin America and the Caribbean or at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.