City of Knowledge: Promoting Global Partnership and International Cooperation

While reading Chapter 5 of Unwin, I was intrigued by the heavy influence he put on cooperation and coordination between the public sector, the private sector, and civil society in the promotion and implementation of ICT4D. Recently, I have been doing research on a Panamanian organization called Ciudad del Saber (City of Knowledge), which has developed a university-like campus in the midst of Panama City. The purpose of the city is to bring together international, notional, governmental, and civil society organizations to promote development in Panama. There are organizations focusing on biosciences, environmental management, human development, business management and entrepreneurship, and information technologies.

These organizations use the City of Knowledge campus to hold conferences and collaborate in order to foster innovation in all the fields mentioned above, which provides an atmosphere for ICT innovation to work together with other development interests. The city also emphasizes education, which Unwin also mentions as a field that can benefit immensely from ICT4D. The city has various universities on site, which exchange research and internships with on site organizations.

I believe that this model of bringing multiple actors in development from different fields and sectors into the same environment is a very efficient strategy of creating cooperation and cohesiveness while promoting development. The dedication of an entire sector of the city to information technologies demonstrates a commitment to promote ICT innovation as well as integration into other aspects of development. I encourage you to navigate the Ciudad del Saber website and decide for yourself how effective this strategy is. Does it effectively accomplish a multi-stakeholder partnership? Could the concept be replicated elsewhere? Is it being used to its full potential? I believe that the City of Knowledge has huge potential to become a hub of knowledge for not only Panamanian development, but development of the entire hemisphere.

Fun fact: Scott Cowen and other Tulane reprisentatives visited the City of Knowledge last year to see what it was all about. Check it out.

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4 responses to “City of Knowledge: Promoting Global Partnership and International Cooperation

  • fiftakesmaroc

    This is an intriguing concept and an interesting post. I have reservations, however. Why must organizations fly all the way to Panama to collaborate and exchange ideas when they have the most effective “community of knowledge” on the internet. I do think universities should strive to become progressive knowledge centers, but I don’t think such extensive travel is necessary (it is actually counterproductive to the environmental goals they seek to solve)

  • laurenparmley

    I slightly disagree with the comment above. The internet is a great resource to gain knowledge but the community aspect is lacking. The point of conferences is to have human contact; knowledge can be communicated over the Internet but the experience is different. Going somewhere with a specific purpose allows you to focus on just that. Learning via interactions is different and I would argue much more effective.

  • dbarnes4

    In my opinion, once the organizations are established in the same place, it creates a unique atmosphere that can foster collaboration and learning opportunities that mere online communication cannot.

  • eturner1

    This organization sounds like such a good idea. I completely agree with Unwin and think that in order for ICT4D to be efficient and sustainable, there needs to be partnerships amongst government, NGOs, public sectors and private sectors. By having a organized and uniform organization addressing the need for ICTs there is far less room for confusion and failure.

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