California To Host World’s Leading Tamil Internet Conference

Tamil Internet 2002 To Focus On E-Governance, Multimedia Content, The Digital Divide, Entrepreneurship and Technology Standards To Be Held On September 27-29 at Foster City, California, US

Chennai, India: May 1, 2002 – The world's leading Tamil Internet Conference & Exhibition 2002 (Tamil Internet 2002) will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Foster City, California from September 27 to 29, this year.  The decision was announced today by Professor M Anandakrishnan, the Chair of the International Forum For Information Technology In Tamil (INFITT), the custodian of the annual international conference. 

Tamil Internet 2002 is the fifth in the conference series which began in 1997 in Singapore. The second conference was held in Chennai in 1999, the third in Singapore again in 2000, and the last one in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last year.  

Centred on the theme ‘Bridging The Digital Divide’, this conference will focus mainly on technical, professional and business issues related to Tamil Internet and Tamil computing.  Some of the hot topics which will be discussed at this conference include Digital Tamil archives, Eradicating Digital Divide, Open Source Development for Tamil, web- and multimedia –assisted learning of Tamil, E-business and E-governance.   More than 40 international experts are expected to present their papers and findings at the conference.

Anandakrishnan said, "in organizing TI2002, INFITT is very fortunate to have the close collaboration of the Center for South Asia Studies and the Chair in Tamil Studies of the University of California, Berkeley."  He added that when the conference was first conceived in the late nineties, no one had the confidence that it would grow so big so fast.  "It is a reflection both of the technological advances in Tamil computing and the growing appetite among the Tamil diaspora for such technologies," he added.  "Our ability to handle Tamil related materials in a native way using Tamil scripts has progressed significantly during the past decade, as seen in its implementation in different computer platforms, development of sophisticated application software and information exchange through internet via Tamil mailing lists, portal sites etc. Tamil internet, multimedia-assisted remote and online education, mobile platforms and digital libraries are some of the front end areas where Tamil has been the pioneer amongst all Indic languages," he said.

Anandakrishnan also announced today the setting up of the International Organizing Committee (IOC) for Tamil Internet 2002: 

Mr. Mani M. Manivannan, USA (Member, Executive Committee, INFITT)

Deputy Chair:
Dr. Steven M. Poulos, USA (Vice Chairman, Center for South Asia Studies, UCB)

Prof. M. Anandakrishnan, India (Chair, INFITT)
Mr. Muthu Nedumaran, Malaysia (Vice Chair, INFITT)
Mr. Arun Mahizhnan, Singapore (Executive Director, INFITT)
Dr. K. Kalyanasundaram, Switzerland (Member, Executive Committee, INFITT) 
Dr. M. Ponnavaikko, India (Director, Tamil Virtual University)

IOC Chair, Mani M Manivannan, an American citizen and a founder member of INFITT, said he was especially pleased to have the opportunity to host the conference in US. "California's Silicon Valley is the cradle of the IT civilization in some sense and we the American hosts are very pleased and honoured to be able to bring the INFITT family to our home.  We are also hoping to show that September 11 notwithstanding America is alive and well and ready to work with the rest of the world," he added.

Anandakrishnan said that the US conference will be an eye-opener and a morale booster for most non-American Indians as they will see at first hand the tremendous progress the Indian diaspora has made within Silicon Valley, the most competitive arena of the IT world.
Tamil Internet 2002 comprises an exhibition component as well, featuring Internet technologies, products and services from around the world.  Manivannan said that the exhibition will try to reach the 150,000 Indian-Americans of the San Francisco Bay area most of whom speak Indian languages and bring the developments in the Indic language computing with an emphasis on Tamil computing.
In addition to the above, Tamil Internet 2002 also plans to focus on four specific groups using Tamil language.  There will be facilities for children to learn to use the online resources to improve their Tamil language skills and the parents will learn to use the online resources to teach Tamil.  The youth will learn to use the online resources to learn about their Tamil heritage and contribute their skills to help bridge the digital divide.  The elder Tamil Americans will learn to use computers and be able to communicate with other Tamils in Tamil.

Anandakrishnan said the INFITT Secretariat will be releasing more information in the near future detailing the conference agenda, registration process and travel and accommodation arrangements.

For further media enquiries, please contact:
Mr Mani M Manivannan at ti2002@infitt.org or Mr A Narayanan at Tel: 65-62111141 or secretariat@infitt.org
You can also visit our website at http://www.infitt.org