Mada center hosted the third edition of the annual GREAT conference in a slightly different and more innovative way, with a unique presence of more than 1,300 people from 18 different countries. The event took place on the 25th and 26th of August as a carefully planned step for the Center despite the challenges posed by the current circumstances in the world and the reality posed by the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). The event is a key component of Mada’s strategy, in line with Qatar vision 2030 aimed at consolidating the meaning of digital inclusion and building an digitally accessible society for people with disabilities – and the elderly and unlocking the potential of ICT and by building capacity and supporting the development of accessible digital platforms.
In line with its innovation strategy, Mada organized the event and introduced it under the theme “Digital Inclusion”, which highlighted the latest innovations in Arabic and best practices and topics in the field of ICT access.
Although GREAT Talks 2020 was a virtual event for this year, Mada was keen to create the environment and all the necessary means that made it a distinguished and accessible event. Sign language interpretation was provided, enabling people with hearing disabilities to follow the workshops. Translation into English and Arabic was also provided, in addition to applying digital accessiblity standards to the event website at all stages, starting from the registration page; By choosing sessions; all the way to the conference agenda.
Given the accelerating pace of technological change at the current time, which is driving people to access all kinds of information and perform most activities online, a key component of the event was to highlight the digital divide that can easily lead to the exclusion of some groups of society that can’t communicate effectively or access technology easily. GREAT talks focused on this theme and the efforts it has made to bridge the digital gap to ensure the digital divide doesn’t widen and lead to further inequalities in society. The event included nineteen sessions, the topics of which varied from the initiatives and achievements in the areas of digitally inclusive education, culture and digitally inclusive society.
In addition to this the event focused on the work Mada does to promote digital access and innovation in solutions for access to information and communication technology in the Arabic language, in addition to research projects that Mada has carried out.
GREAT Talks highlighted the importance of empowering the education sector to ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and continuous learning through ICT. The event focused on a series of sessions on the importance of digital access to curricula in the Arabic language, and the challenges of distance education for students with disabilities. In addition, a number of workshops focused on empowering the community and culture sector to ensure an inclusive digital society for all by adopting the concept of digital access in organizational policies and highlighting innovative concepts and methods of accessing media, means of communication, as well as transportation.
In the field of digital access, GREAT Talks was keen to present a number of sessions that dealt with best practices and international standards in digital access, accessible design, the most important accessible user interfaces, and the extent to which Qatar keeps pace with universal digital access. The event also dealt with the innovation ecosystem in the field of ICT access to promote localized and localized assistive technology in the Arab region and the latest assistive technology solutions in the Arab world. To keep abreast of the latest technological developments and the best ways to deal with ICT and global digital access in a more efficient and effective manner; Especially in light of the ongoing global crises, challenges and changes.