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Will Obama be the only President of the United States in 2009?

ObamaThere’s no doubting the Obama magnetism. I’m a Brit living in Brussels but next week, like much of the rest of the world, I will be eagerly watching as Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America. While the world has been focused on Washington, however, developments at a meeting of the heads of state of the 27 countries of the EU in December may have paved the way for another President of the United States to emerge. Back in June, the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty -the EU’s efforts to redefine its remit and structures -by the Irish voters had thrown the EU into a crisis. However, in the December deal, described by the Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen as a”major achievement for Ireland”, it was agreed the country will vote again before the end of October, paving the way for the Treaty to enter into force before the end of 2009. Before those who foam at the mouth at the mere mention of the EU get excited about my headline, I hold my hands up to a bit of hyperbole. No direct comparison can be made between the envisaged structure under the Treaty and the federal system in the US. Countries such as Finland will retain more autonomy than states such as Florida; Austria more than Alaska. Moreover, it’s no given that the Irish will vote yes, while the Czech Republic, Poland or the UK could all yet throw a spanner in the works. Read More »

Happy Collaborative New Year

January 2009 -While the end of December usually provides a brief moment for a retrospective of the past year, the beginning of January always manages to usher in additional time for a more contemplative deliberation of our hopes and aspirations for the upcoming year. This year is no different. Most hope that current world affairs will improve with the installation of new political leaders; that the global economy will recover quicker than financial experts predict; and efforts to improve the environment will not be supplanted by issues now deemed more important in the short term.But where does technology fit into the grand design of things? Read More »

Public Services Summit

Several hundred people representatives from the public sector in around fifty countries came together in Sweden last week in an event organised by Cisco and the City of Stockholm. The theme this year was”Sustainability, Innovation and Inclusion.” The summit is specifically targeted at senior policy advisors and key decision-makers in education, healthcare and government and focuses on ways the internet and networking technologies can change the way you do business. Read More »

I-powerment!

I am fascinated by the revolutionary social entrepreneurs who have used the Internet to build a capability that did not exist before. I am a long time supporter of Kiva.Org, which has changed the traditional model for micro lending by using the power of the Internet. Kiva defines itself as the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.

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One Million Acts of Green – Yes We Can

Firstly I must acknowledge my bais, but this is a great idea. Cisco has partnered with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to support a movement that fosters positive environmental change. One Million Acts of Green starts with just one act. One person. Just walking or biking to work can make a difference. Switching a light bulb or recycling the morning’s disposable coffee cup. Browse the pages and join the program. There’s no reason why this should just be limited to just Canada. Watch the video and see what you can do. Visit the website and register your act.