Malaysian premier and entrepreneurs win UN cyber prizes

23 April 2010 – The United Nations’ oldest agency, set up 80 years before the creation of the mother Organization, today awarded one of the most up-to-date prizes to the Malaysian Prime Minister and two leading communications industry figures for bringing cyberspace within the reach of billions of people.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) named Malaysian Premier Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, China Mobile Chairman Wang Jianzhou and early Internet pioneer Robert Kahn of the United States as winners of the 2010 ITU World Telecommunication and Information Society Award for their dedication to promoting information and communication technology (ICTs) as a means of providing a better life for humanity.

“ICTs have been instrumental in paving the way for a better future, increasingly dictating lifestyles and behaviour patterns, contributing to the growth of trade and commerce, improving governance and municipal services, and revolutionizing entertainment through the development of rapid communications,” ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré said.

The 189-member ITU, the world’s oldest intergovernmental organization, founded in 1865, became a UN specialized agency in 1947, two years after the UN’s own creation. Its three-part mandate now comprises coordinating the use of radio-communications resources such as frequencies and satellite orbits, establishing global telecom standards, and promoting the development of the ICT sector worldwide.

In announcing the awards, the ITU underscored the high priority that Mr. Najib placed on strengthening ICT infrastructure in Malaysia and supporting the agency’s work for global cyber-security through the IMPACT Centre in Cyberjaya near Kuala Lumpur, the capital.

Mr. Wang was praised for his leadership of China Mobile, which operates the world’s largest mobile network with over 500 million subscribers, covering all major cities as well as outlying and remote rural areas in the world’s most populous country.

The agency highlighted the key pioneering role Mr. Kahn played as head of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), based in the state of Virginia, in the development of the Internet. He laid the foundations of the TCP/IP (transmission control and Internet protocols) architecture, a standard operating feature. CNRI, a non-profit organization, focuses on the strategic development of network-based information technologies, with Mr. Kahn steering the development of new standards.

The awards will be presented at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai on 17 May, which is World Telecommunication and Information Society Day and the anniversary of the ITU’s establishment in 1865.

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