Sharjah: The upcoming 11th edition of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) has announced the Middle East’s first ‘Future Worlds Challenge’, creating a pioneering platform in the region for young creatives and technology enthusiasts to dabble in AI applications and turn their ideas into projects that will benefit communities worldwide.

Taking place as part of the pre-forum activities from September 26 - 28,  the challenge will use the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s MIT App Inventor 2022 to deliver a series of programming sessions and workshops. The training sessions will culminate in a project presentation challenge by the participants. The winners of the challenge will be announced by an expert committee of jurors on September 29, on the final day of IGCF 2022.

The winning project will be honoured with the prestigious Sharjah Government Communication Award (SGCA) in the “Best Innovations in Government Communication” category, and thereafter, will be promoted in international events.

The previous edition of the Future Worlds Challenge was held in the US and witnessed global participation.

Peek into the IGCF 2022 Future Challenges Lab

The forum’s first-ever Future Challenges Lab will be bustling with activity, and host insightful discussions like ‘Government Communication and Media Work Requirements’ - a brainstorming session that will deliberate on the impact of modern technology on the current working environment for government communication and media, key skills that government communication professionals should gain for successful interactions with the media, and mechanisms to develop effective communication with the media using modern technologies.

‘Smart education’ for persons with disabilities

Another brainstorming session, ‘Promising Prospects for Persons with Disabilities in Education’ will discuss smart education platforms and methodologies for upskilling people with disabilities to help them keep pace with rapid global developments, explore future visions successfully integrate them in society, in addition to highlighting ways parents can be helped to engage their children with disabilities in society.

A scrutiny of our relationship with technology

IGCF 2022, in partnership with 01Gov, will organise a talk series titled ‘Bold Discussions’ moderated by Ibrahim Elbadawi, Founder and CEO of 01GOV. The sessions will bring together MIT App Inventor researchers, Nghi H Nguyen, Maura Kelleher and Claire Tian,  along with Anni Rowland-Campbell, Director, Intersticia; and Leanne Fry, Chief Innovation Officer, AUSTRAC.

The first session, titled ‘Humanity's Relationship with Technology’ will focus on the theory of affordances and how it might be applied to virtual worlds as compared to the physical world. Moderators will encourage participants to share ideas on how we can become smarter humans, in addition to discussing tools for future design and the theory of system thinking.

The second session, titled ‘Artificial Intelligence and Designing the Future’ will create a quick-learning environment for finding solutions to daily problems. Discussions will span over two days and explore how young people interact with virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri. Participants will work in teams to design the world of tomorrow, using Amazon Alexa, thus helping to formulate software-assisted conversations, envisioning potential future scenarios to create a world that they wish to live in.

The winners in the SGCA’s Best Innovations in Government Communication category will have an opportunity to discuss their experiences and promote their project in a session held at the ‘Brave discussions’ platform.


International Government Communication Forum 2022

IGCF 2022 will take place on September 28 - 29 in Expo Centre Sharjah and is organised by the Sharjah Government Media Bureau.

The two-day international forum features seven main discussion sessions, ten inspiring speeches, 6 workshops, 13 interactive platforms and 40 side activities. The forum’s programme will be led by 160 senior public officials, thought leaders and experts who will highlight the role of government communication in overcoming local and global governance challenges, and social and economic crises while highlighting opportunities arising from them.