The World Summit Awards (WSA) was initiated in 2003 as part of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). Since then, WSA has aimed to bridge digital divides and contribute to Agenda 2030, along with other significant initiatives set by the UN, the European Commission, and other organizations. Each year, WSA reports to various entities on how entrepreneurs and creative producers utilize digital tools for sustainable development and societal change. Meet the leaders and representatives from these entities who have recognized and supported the work and contributions of WSA.

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Gerd Müller

Director General - UNIDO

This year, the Global Congress is specifically celebrating the innovative spirit that drives progress around the world, echoing UNIDO's motto of 'Progress by Innovation'. The pioneering solutions presented at this congress show the transformative potential of digital technologies. Our shared task is to bridge
digital divides that threaten to leave many behind, especially in developing countries. The importance of sustainable development powered by digitalinnovation cannot be overstated. From enhancing food security to optimizing clean energy, digital technologies enable and scale solutions to our most pressing global challenges.

Digital transformation and the leveraging of technologies, especially Artificial Intelligence, are revolutionizing diverse fields like healthcare, agriculture, education and energy. However, we must work together so these innovations do not widen inequalities, but reduce them and ensure that the fruits of digital transformation are accessible to all.

Entrepreneurship and startups are at the heart of this transformation. UNIDO prioritizes nurturing these innovative forces, recognizing their capacity to introduce groundbreaking solutions to our most pressing challenges. Our focus extends to bolstering innovation ecosystems within developing countries, where enhancing manufacturing productivity through digital integration can propel economic growth and development, marking significant strides towards achieving the SDGs.
The WSA Global Congress 2024 is more than a celebration of technological advancement; it is a commitment to an inclusive, sustainable future powered by collaboration, creativity and innovation. As we move forward, let us continue to foster this spirit, ensuring that the advancements we champion today lay the foundation for a brighter, more equitable and sustainable tomorrow.

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​​​​​​​​​​Tomas Lamanauskas

Deputy Secretary General - International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

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​​​​​​​​​​Tawfik Jelassi

Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information - UNESCO

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Felipe Paullier

Assistant Secretary-General - UN Youth Office

50% of the world’s population is under 30, compared to just 2.8% of parliamentarians globally. If this proportion were reflected in a year, the views of those under the age of 30 would stop being represented just 10 days into the year. This is a stark reflection of the fact that millions of young voices are excluded from decision-making spaces at a time when the world is facing extreme systemic challenges.
Young people must be included in the decision-making spaces and their recommendations and innovative solutions must be meaningfully supported. Initiatives to support young people’s leadership and efforts to shape our world’s future to be better, safer, and more sustainable are critical avenues to engage with young people as equal partners to achieve Agenda 2030. I therefore would like to congratulate the work of WSA and, more importantly, the work of the WSA Youth Community in contributing to these efforts.
Congratulations once again to all WSA Young Innovators and the Global Youth Ambassadors of WSA

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Amandeep Gill

Assistant Secretary-General - United Nations

As recognized at the outset of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS), building a people-centered, inclusive, and development-oriented information society is a joint-effort among all stakeholders. Young innovators are at the heart of this effort. They are the ones who will help us
realise the promise of technology for driving progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) inclusively, impactfully, and responsibly.
As part of its remit, the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology (OSET) is supporting the digital track for the Summit of the Future in September 2024. The Global Digital Compact proposed for adoption at the Summit is a once in a generation opportunity to align efforts for a human-centric digital transformation that serves the SDGs, and is firmly anchored in respect for human rights, dignity, and human agency. It is gratifying to see the large number of contributions from around the globe to the Global Digital Compact consultations co-facilitated ably by Rwanda and Sweden.
I would like to thank the World Summit Awards community for its contribution to Agenda 2030 and congratulate the winners of the 2023 awards. As we work toward a Global Digital Compact, the WSA community will have a valuable role to play in taking forward the vision of an open, free, secure, inclusive, and sustainable digital future.

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Ursula von der Leyen

President - European Comission

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Alexander Van der Bellen

President - Austria

Previous Patrons

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Jayathma Wickramanayake

Former Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth - United Nations

Today’s young people are interconnected more than ever before. In fact, they have more access to information than any other generation. Consequently, it should be natural to include young people in decision-making processes that affect their lives. Young people are change-makers, innovators and leaders. Among other factors, technology is crucial to unleash young people’s creativity and power to actively contribute to solving global issues. Young people used ICT and social media to do amazing things: amplify their voices; discuss global issues; lead opinions; spread positive energies; start movements; build campaigns. Therefore, it’s important for us and the society to recognize their potential and encourage them to actively engage in the implementation of the SDGs and #Youth2030, the UN youth strategy.

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LI Yong

Former Director General - UNIDO

The difficult employment situation of many young women and men has become one of the most important challenges of our times. Estimates show that in the next 15 years, 600 million jobs will need to be created for young people worldwide.

It is imperative that we empower young people as the demand for new skills increases in an era of rapid technological progress driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. More than one-third of the skills relevant for today’s socio-economic development are anticipated to change by 2020. Our young people must be equipped with new skills to prepare them for the future of work and skills. They need to be provided with possibilities for continuous learning, and an enabling environment for innovative ideas to be converted into concrete practical solutions on the ground. It is encouraging that many young people today are already contributing to inclusive and sustainable development, by turning their innovative ideas into new businesses that also benefit the society at large.

The World Summit Awards (WSA) initiative provides a platform to showcase the potential of youth, their innovative solutions and their entrepreneurial spirit, ultimately bringing about social change. These new innovative business models will become more important than ever, as we find ways to tap into the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to create win-win situations for our young people, and in particular for those who live and work in developing countries. UNIDO commends the WSA for providing visibility to these talented young entrepreneurs and stands ready to support young people worldwide to realize their full innovative potentials.

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Getachew Engida

Former Deputy Director-General - UNESCO

Young people under the age of 30 have unprecedented opportunities to engage their imagination toward building Knowledge Societies, by addressing development challenges through widely accessible digital solutions such as apps, social media, as well as blockchain applications, the Internet of Things, robotics and artificial intelligence.

Amidst the grave challenges facing humankind, we must find hope in all the young women and men who are applying their creativity toward local and global digital solutions to build a world of the future that will be more at peace and as one. We must urge the young innovators at the World Summit Awards to continue forward in their lives to help build a greener and more sustainable planet whose mission is to leave no one behind.

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Ahmad Alhendawi

Former Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth - United Nations

Young people are powerful drivers of change in political, economic and social developments around the world. They have asserted themselves as critical partners in sustainable development, proposing innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Using the power of ICTs and social media, young people have a vehicle like never before to engage and participate. From entrepreneurs developing new technologies, to creating green jobs and more sustainable economies, young people are at the forefront of development. We must continue to recognise the valuable contributions of young entrepreneurs and work together to ensure the success of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

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Frank La Rue

Former Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information - UNESCO

Local content is indispensable for the use of information and communication technologies for sustainable development. With the recognition of innovative, digital solutions to development challenges, the World Summit Awards (WSA) encourages women and men's creativity, helps to share applications globally and stimulates young entrepreneurs to find local solutions. I congratulate all finalists, who contributed with their innovations to peace and sustainable development.