Sam Pitroda Becomes First Indian to be Awarded ITU World Telecom Award

As part of celebrations to mark the 146th anniversary of ITU on 17 May this year, the ITU will felicitate three eminent personalities who have contributed to the ongoing digital revolution.



In recognition of their dedication to promoting ICT in their respective countries, and especially in rural areas, Sam Pitroda better known as the ‘Father of the Indian Communication Revolution’ and currently advisor to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure & Innovations, will join the President of Finland, Tarja Halonen and Kristin Peterson, CEO of Inveneo at a ceremony at ITU headquarters in Geneva, to receive the 2011 ITU World Telecommunication and Information Society Award. Sam Pitroda is the first Indian to receive this honour.



Making the announcement, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure said, Information and communication technologies are constantly reshaping the way the world communicates while creating opportunities for a better life through long-term, sustainable development, not least among the most disadvantaged sections of our society. As we focus on extending the reach of ICTs to the remotest rural communities in every corner of the world, it is my pleasure to honour those who have dedicated themselves to harnessing the full potential of ICTs so that we can all enjoy a more productive, peaceful and – in every way – a better life, particularly in rural areas.”


World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD)  marks the establishment of ITU on 17 May, 1865. It highlights the potential of information and communication technologies (ICT) in meeting the development and economic aspirations of societies and on the importance of the internet as a global resource.



President of Finland Tarja Halonen is co-chairman of the High-level United Nations Panel on Global Sustainability and has focused on several key issues, from sustainable sourcing to improving access to education and improving maternal health in low-income countries. Finland is one of the premier centres for ICT innovation and productivity, especially in the mobile phone sector. In July 2010, Finland made broadband a legal right for all citizens, which is in line with ITU’s campaign to accelerate broadband connectivity in order to feed both rural communities and urban centres with the means to meet their development goals and aspirations.



Sam Pitroda is currently Adviser to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations and Chairman of the National Innovation Council of India. He is also widely considered to have been responsible for India‘s telecommunications revolution and has been a leading campaigner to help bridge the global digital divide. As technology Adviser to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the mid – 1980s, Pitroda not only heralded the telecom revolution in India, but also made a strong case for using technology for the benefit and betterment of society through several missions on telecommunications, literacy, dairy, water, immunization, and oilseeds. He has continued to redefine the role technology can play in a society like India by linking it to better delivery of services for the underprivileged in the country.



Kristin Peterson is CEO of Inveneo, a non-profit social enterprise that takes computers, internet access and telephony to rural and underserved communities in the developing world. To help offset connectivity issues and environmental challenges, Inveneo’s solutions incorporate cost-efficient and sustainable features that include ultra-low-power computing and long-distance wireless connectivity and they partner with local ICT entrepreneurs for in-country deployment. Peterson has led Inveneo’s efforts to deliver education, healthcare, economic development and relief projects in Haiti and in 25 countries throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia with various ICT organizations.



By Team
[email protected]