February Update: Message from Mei Lin
It has been quite a month for PCI, as our new board has gotten up and running and activities within our six areas of focus for 2020 are beginning to take shape.
We are very pleased to announce a new quarterly series of “Virtual Fireside Chats” with our founding chairman, Vint Cerf, which kicks off this month on February 25, with special guest, Ian Bremmer.
I am also very happy to host the first in-person PCI salon of 2020 on “Native American Culture and Connectivity” at my home in Palo Alto on February 21, featuring speakers from our “Project Eagle Feather” community and Stanford Haas Distinguished Visitor, Gerald Vizenor. If you are in the Bay Area, I hope you will join us.
This month’s newsletter features contributions from the two presenters who recently spoke online with our PCI Community. Sascha Meinrath shared his decade of work to provide accurate data about internet availability around the world. M-Lab’s “Run Speed Test” logs 750,000 individual tests worldwide per day, producing the largest open repository of broadband data on the planet. Kristin Little, who has led evaluations for the World Bank for 15 years, and is an MIT- trained architect and urban planner, provides a wonderful look at how “People-Centered” approaches are the next phase in the evolution of “smart cities.”
We at PCI are thinking a lot about cities and how governments around the world can better engage with and respond to the needs of their residents. I was honored to be invited to speak at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) panel on “Governing and Managing Smart Sustainable Cities” at the 10th World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi on Feb 8–13th, where I argued that “smart cities” should be about enabling the people in those cities “get smarter and smarter,” evolving a natural environment that fosters the thriving of all.
Mei Lin Fung with co-panelists, Kristian Mjöen, Robert Lewis-Lettington, Okan Geray, Martin Brynskov
Also this month, I was pleased to join a workshop connecting stakeholders who are working to realize the “GIGA” initiative convened by the United Nations, ITU, and UNICEF to connect every school to the Internet by 2030. Bringing along partners such as the IEEE’s Special Interest Group for Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT), PCI is helping to strengthen GIGA’s efforts to develop local sustainable business models for expanding opportunities for children and communities around the globe to meet the 2030 sustainable development goals (SDGs).
As a small-but-mighty network of people around the world working to ensure that the Internet works for people, our role at PCI is to bring people together to share good ideas, amplify good work, and provide paths of collaboration. Thank you for being a part of this effort.
As Vint says, “we’ll see you on the Internet!”
Mei Lin Fung
Co-Founder and Chair