Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Plan now: UMCOM hosting ICT4D conference in September

As we stand on the precipice of 2014, I want to recommend a possible conference for those of you who are in local churches but interested in using technology to strengthen and expand your global connections.  It's the Game Changers Summit: "Dreamers and doers gather to harness the power of technology."  It's being hosted as part of the Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) project of United Methodist Communications.  You can read more about it in the press release or see the main points below.

What's the point of this conference?
The ICT4D movement is a larger movement extending beyond the UMC that looks to use new technologies like cell phone, solar batteries, e-readers, and other devices to help solve social, health, agricultural, and economic development issues.  Technology isn't seen as the sole solution; more traditional forms of development work are needed along side.  Nevertheless, technology is seen as an invaluable asset in finding creative solutions to problems.  Many UMC congregations are already in partnership with each other and other organizations to do the very type of development work (often in Africa or the Philippines) that could be aided by the strategic incorporation of appropriate technology.  This conference seeks to help them do that.

Who is this conference aimed at?
While the sort of international ministry partnerships that are necessary to do successful development work involve partners from the United States, Africa, the Philippines, and sometimes Europe or elsewhere, this conference seems geared toward the American partners in those relationships.  Moreover, the conference is focused specifically on local churches rather than conferences or boards and agencies.  Nevertheless, the conference will be most useful for local churches who already have international ministry partnerships on development issues, as technology is a way to advance those partnerships, not form them.

When and where will the conference be?
The conference will be September 3-5, 2014, in Nashville.

How can I sign up?
Registration is not yet available for the conference, so keep checking back at the conference website through the spring.

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