ICDL commends Abu Dhabi government’s ‘e-Citizen’ initiative for winning award from ‘World Summit on the Information Society 2014’

Achievement consolidates Abu Dhabi’s leading position in global ICT arena
UAE, June 17, 2014 – ICDL GCC Foundation, an organization that promotes digital skills and cyber safety across the Gulf region and Iraq, has extended its greetings of congratulations to the Government of Abu Dhabi’s Systems and Information Centre (ADSIC) for winning first place in the ‘Best Application of Information Technology (IT) and e-Learning’ category of the recently concluded World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

The award was given in recognition of ADSIC’s successful implementation of the emirate’s ‘e-Citizen’ program—an initiative that aims to position Abu Dhabi as one of the best governments in the world. The ‘e-Citizen’ program falls in line with the vision of His Highness (H.H.) Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of UAE and with the directions of His Highness (H.H.) Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Chairman of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi. Jamil Ezzo, Director General of ICDL GCC Foundation, relayed his greetings to ADSIC and lauded them for their win, which consolidates Abu Dhabi’s leading position in the global ICT arena.

According to Ezzo, Abu Dhabi’s ‘e-Citizen’ initiative is based on an ICDL program that was developed by the European Computer Driving License Foundation (ECDL) and represents strategic importance in the continuing move to fill the global digital gap by introducing, teaching and familiarizing IT literacy across all levels of society. The program provide Abu Dhabi residents with basic computer and internet skills that will enable them to optimally benefit from the UAE’s range of offered ‘e-Services,’ which is considered as one of the most prominent models of transformation into an integrated knowledge-based economy.
ICDL GCC Foundation and ADSIC signed a Memorandum of Association (MoA) in 2011 that allowed ICDL to implement the ‘E-Citizen’ program across the UAE capital on a ‘Free of Charge’ basis. The landmark agreement aims to teach local residents on how to use and access basic ‘e-Services’ offerings like e-government, e-banking, job search websites, social media and others. The program also allows training and improving their e-participation skills and equipping them with the necessary tools needed in using computers and the internet efficiently–allowing easy access to various information resources online.
Furthermore, the strong partnership between ICDL and ADSIC has also resulted in the successful launch of various awareness programs, particularly targeting women and the youth segments, that seek to increase more awareness on the many benefits and advantages to be gained in learning digital skills and overcoming the challenges presented in the internet world.
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About ICDL:

The International Computer Driving License (ICDL) is a global computer literacy initiative developed to provide knowledge about Information Technology (IT) and enhance competence of using personal computers and common computer applications for all the citizens of the world. The ICDL GCC Foundation is the sole body to implement and disseminate the program across the GCC States and Iraq with the support of leading educational institutions and accredited bodies. The Foundation mission is to enable proficient use of Information and Communications Technology that empowers individuals, organizations and society, through the development, promotion and delivery of quality certification programs around the world.

Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Organization joins forces with ICDL to raise IT awareness among volunteers and personnel

Strategic partnership to promote humanitarian work in line with rapid IT developments
 The ICDL GCC Foundation has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Riyadh-based General Secretariat of Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Societies. The strategic partnership aims to raise digital awareness among Red Crescent and Red Cross establishments and further support their efforts to promote humanitarian work and volunteerism.

The agreement was signed at the Movenpick Hotel in Dubai by Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hazza, Secretary General, Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Societies, and Jamil Ezzo, Director General, ICDL GCC Foundation; as part of the 39thmeeting of the General Authority of the Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Organization.

Under the partnership, Red Crescent and Red Cross personnel in the Arab world will be able to obtain the ICDL certification, which is recognized as a global standard for end-user computer skills, and receive incentives that will further motivate them to help in achieving the objectives of the MoU. Both parties have also agreed to cooperate in awareness campaigns targeting Red Crescent and Red Cross personnel about the importance of ICDL for both personal and professional development. The partnership also demonstrates a shared commitment to introduce pioneering projects that drive the economic and social development of GCC countries, focusing primarily on empowering the families of volunteers as part of a social responsibility effort with mutual support from both organizations.
Abdullah Al Hazza underlined the importance of the agreement with ICDL GCC Foundation to support the Organization’s efforts in enhancing computer skills and promoting IT awareness within Red Crescent and Red Cross establishments, while helping them promote humanitarian work and volunteerism in the Arab world with the use of modern technology and devices. He further noted the critical role of ICDL in the success of the partnership, being a leading entity in raising IT awareness and skills among all members of the society. Al Hazza also expressed his satisfaction with the cooperation with ICDL GCC Foundation to implement the ICDL program, which is the only IT certification in the world to be endorsed by United Nations Organizations. He said that the partnership will positively influence the performance of the Organization and enhance the impact of humanitarian work and volunteerism in the Arab world. He added: “We are confident that this move will provide a solid foundation for our efforts to improve the IT skills of our personnel. This will ultimately help improve the performance of the Organization and further drive our efforts to promote humanitarian activities in the Arab region.”
Jamil Ezzo stated that the strategic partnership with the Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Organization is in line with ICDL’s commitment to cultivate the IT culture and support efforts to establish a knowledge-based economy. ICDL is fully committed to provide necessary support for the successful implementation of the ICDL program within the Red Crescent and Red Cross establishments, while raising greater IT awareness among volunteers and supporters of its charitable initiatives.
Ezzo added, “The Red Crescent and Red Cross Organization further strengthens our network of strategic partnerships with ministries, governmental authorities, major academic institutions, private organizations and civil society organizations in the GCC region and Iraq. Leveraging our expertise in implementing the ICDL program at the local and international level, we aim to promote digital competence within different Red Crescent and Red Cross departments and organizations. In light of the rapid advances in IT, we also look forward to further expand our cooperation with the Organization to serve more members of the community in line with our continuing efforts to establish strong partnerships, support economic growth, strengthen relations within local communities and enhance the quality of life in the Arab world.”

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ICDL’s new ‘IT Security’ certification program.

Cybercrime is a growing threat for active Internet corridors in the Middle East, ICDL’s new ‘IT Security’ certification program designed to arm computer users against today’s digital dangers.
 Recent high profile cyber incidents in the region have highlighted the increasingly complex, sophisticated and organized nature of cybercrime. According to a Symantec Internet Threat Report 65% of adults globally have fallen prey to cybercrime; the incurred costs of these cyber attacks amount to nearly $114 billion annually as highlighted by another Cybercrime report published by Norton. More than two-thirds of adults who spend time online have been a victim of cybercrime in their lifetime. Cybercriminals attack by the second, resulting in more than one million victims globally every day; that is two citizens every minute in the UAE alone, second only to Saudi Arabia.

These facts underline a growing threat in a region experiencing a rapid surge in technology use by individuals. As of December 31, 2011, the Middle East has posted the second highest regional increase in Internet usage for the period 2000 to 2011 at a rate of 2,244.8 per cent. The GCC region posts the highest Internet growth in the Arab World with around 4 million Internet users that account for a 10 per cent Internet penetration rate.
Individuals at home and in the workplace with low to medium computer experience are especially susceptible to Internet fraud and attacks as they consider themselves adequately protected by their software and hardware, unaware that criminal elements have the advanced skills and persistence to break into their systems.
In response to the growing need for an adapted security awareness programme that addresses these risks at the individuals’ level, ICDL GCC Foundation introduced the new “IT Security” module. This Security focused programme provides the learner with an essential understanding of how to use a computer in a safe and secure manner, protecting personal data and that of other users. With “IT Security”, ICDL will intensify and support government efforts to educate the general public on the best practices of cyber safety.
The new module also provides flexibility and a wider range of options for achieving the ICDL certification. Candidates will now have the choice to take IT Security as an additional module to the ICDL package or replace any of the 7 required modules with this new unit to gain the ICDL Certificate.Individuals can also choose to take IT Security as a standalone certification.
By providing a more flexible approach to certification, ICDL GCC Foundation is responding to market demand; people either want or need to be certified in a broader range of activities from which they can choose.
ICDL-accredited centers will be offering the new ICDL Module 12 – IT Security to impart essential skills on the secure daily use of ICT, such as the use of techniques and applications to protect network connections; data and information management; proper Internet etiquette or ‘netiquette,’ responsible use of Social Media, and Parental Control. Participants will gain a solid understanding of the key concepts related to the importance of secure information and data, physical security, privacy and identity theft.
The module’s content categories include Security Concepts, Malware, Network Security, Secure Web Use, Communications, and Secure Data Management.
“The dangers of the Internet must not be taken lightly. Left untended, security gaps in the home or office network could lead to disastrous results such as identity theft or even physical attacks. The occurrence of cyber-crimes in our region has proliferated due to the lack of awareness, and the lack of educated prevention by the user. The ICDL IT Security module arms computer users with the prerequisite skills to create robust defenses to their offline and online environments, providing them with a valuable asset amidst the surge in Internet activity being experienced throughout the Gulf region,” said Jamil Ezzo, Director General of the ICDL GCC Foundation
ICDL is the world’s most recognized ICT certification widely known and respected for its ethos of not-for-profit and vendor neutrality. Like the program’s 11 other existing modules, ICDL Module 12 – IT Security has been designed to provide real-world examples that make practical skills relevant and deliver content that references relevant studies and statistics. It addresses the need to keep pace with technology advancements and raises awareness on the basics of protecting and preserving data, identity and privacy.
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