The Sedona Conversations
in Jamaica exceeded our expectations! The most important revelation many of us
had is how the developing world can and is positioning itself to be a player and
force in the new digital economy.
One exception was the excellent presentation given by
Geremie Sawadogo relating his African research and experiences in Nigeria and
West Africa. Africa's struggle to close a digital divide is very daunting.
Richard Gordon, representing Jamaican Minister of Science and Technology
planning processes, spoke to Jamaica's efforts to deregulate certain
industries--such as wireless technologies--to spread availability of technology
throughout the island population.
Allen Cissell spoke of Thailand's strong emergence as an
economic power-- probably second only to China--where they are planning a
university graduate education effort to produce 115,000 engineers in five to six
years. Cissell also reviewed their plans to create 28 new community colleges.
Paul Elsner was able to relay Dr. Attar ur-Rahman's general
comments at Abu Dhabi's E-merging Technology Conference at Abu Dhabi Men's
College, citing developing countries--whose images the western media might
project as in a state of political disarray (two assassination attempts on their
president in two weeks)-are, in fact, very well wired reaching nearly every
Pakistani city; and he projects 95% digital literacy in five years.
Bernie Luskin reviewed the program and
curriculum design he has been engaging in for the build-out of his media studies
program at the Fielding Institute in Santa Barbara. He has also designed two
other leadership programs; but his work and framework in media psychology is
seminal and precedent for designers, iconographers, video and audio production
leaders, and, most important, for "learning." His energy and passion never cease
to amaze us. We are lucky to have him as one of the early inspirations for the
whole Sedona concept, an idea he and Elsner thought up on a train in North
Scotland some years ago.
Idahlynn Karre, an early architect of the
International Chair Academy
which Gary Filan places all over the world, led
us through a presentation and exercise on the transformative aspects of
leadership. She also picked up on Russ Ferstandig's, Cynthia Heelan's and Bernie
Luskin's theme that emotion counts in personal development, learning, and even
media production and its "learning" goals. We wish her well in her work and her
contributing collaborations to preparing the "new cadre" of international
leaders in developing countries, in which her colleague Gary Filan is much
I was inspired by Bertha Landrum's
presentation on "wealth creation," which she translates into "jobs, jobs, jobs."
She says that for both developing and developed countries this is a central
preoccupation. No doubt it plays more centrally in the US than what some
election pundits would admit.
Dale Doubleday's story-telling presentation
of student media designer, artist, and digital illustrator Ricardo hit on the
central theme of all Sedona Conversations. Every child, teenager,
young adult has the potential of being a designer, a creator, an artist, a
publisher-if only given the basic tool of a PC with even minimal software,
usually already installed in most PCs or Macs. It is also extraordinarily
rewarding to see a media or graphic design program at work producing such
talent--whether it is in Dale's Phoenix College department or any school in the
world just normally equipped with the right lower end technology put in the
hands of a creative student. Probably the most relevant of all presentations.
There is no limit to Ricardo's options as of now!
Not necessarily an unfortunate omission, but
I had to move out my opening comments and address (on "Why digital media?") and
my brief overview of the "New Internationalism"--a work in progress with Gail
Mee , Naomi Story, Roy Cohen and Andrea Greene. We did have the chance to say
some things about it and indicate that participants can read the paper we
distributed and which I am posting on the web (both PowerPoint and white paper).
We will also have other presentations linked on the web as well.
In closing, we are energized by the Eighth
Sedona Conversation in Jamaica! We look forward to the Sedona in
Sedona June 17-19, 2004-"Leadership from Within," which Cynthia Heelan is
pulling together as we speak.