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Smith School Co-Sponsors eLeadership Conference with World Bank

Jul 01, 2005
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In June, the University of Maryland/Smith School and co-sponsors (the World Bank Institute, the U.S. Agency For International Development, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, Cisco, and Avaya) welcomed leaders from around the globe to a workshop focused on identifying the intellectual and conceptual underpinnings and skills profile for a new type of development executive, the E-Leader.

The conference was successful, said Sandy Boyson, one of the organizers. "We had IT policy executives and thought leaders from 15 countries including China, Vietnam, Singapore, India, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Russia."

Three types of executives from developing countries attended the workshop, explained Boyson: senior public sector executives responsible for making nation-wide IT strategy and investment decisions, CIO-level executives responsible for creating policy and organizational strategies, and executives responsible for implementing large-scale technology systems; for example, the automation of government functions such as business permits and land registries.

The conference was the result of a long term effort by the World Bank to promote e-development: the use of information communications technology to advance social and economic development. Nagy Hanna , one of the conference organizers who served as the World Bank's senior e-development advisor until this past spring when he retired and joined the University of Maryland as a senior research fellow, has been working since 1990 on this issue. Hanna and Boyson have co-authored two monographs for the World Bank on this subject. Three years ago Hanna commissioned the Smith School to conduct a MBA Consulting Project to determine how to best educate e-development leaders, and the resulting report served as inputs to the e-leadership workshop held last month at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C., and the Smith School.

The workshop aimed to integrate three perspectives: e-strategy, including the presentation of a strawman teaching module led by Hanna; e-management, led by Montgomery County, Md., CIO Alisoun Moore; and e-technology led by Boyson. The approach was multi-disciplinary, covering development economics, political economy, strategy, leadership, management science, and technology management, among others.

Boyson worked with Anil Agarwal from Sun, Jaijit Bhattacharya from Oracle and Bernie Mazer from USAID on the e-technology module, where the 40 participants visited the Smith School and the Netcentric Supply Chain Laboratory. Boyson and his team demonstrated the latest RFID technology, including how sensors on a buoy at sea could activate a national warning system for a tsunami.

Scott Koerwer, associate dean for executive education, entrepreneurship and marketing communications at Smith, introduced the sessions at Smith and described the workshop as, "Education and business coming together to support the global marketplace."

The Smith School thanks representatives from participating countries, including: Brazil, Chile, China, Egypt, Ghana, India, Jordan, Mexico, Russian Federation, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

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