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Global Thought Leaders

"The government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is pushing full steam ahead with its "Intelligent Taiwan" initiative. The ICF is an outstanding platform for helping cities the world over to enhance the online experience of local residents. It named Taipei its Intelligent Community of the Year in 2006, when I was the city mayor. In addition, New Taipei City and Taoyuan County have made it onto the ICF's Smart21 list, and Taichung City has been named to the Top Seven. We will continue working to build intelligent communities that provide optimum convenience to our people, and have every confidence that our world-class ICT industry will always keep Taiwan at the leading edge of intelligent technology."

In 2008, Ma Ying-Jeou was elected President of Taiwan after serving as the Mayor of Taipei from 1998 to 2006, where he led the transformation of the nation's capital into an Intelligent Community.


"Transition to an information society requires a commitment to change, and the need to adopt new networking practices. It is very important to have communities like the ones ICF has energized.  A group like ICF enables the sharing and exchange of best practices which promote sustainable community renewal and growth. I am very honoured to have been recognized as their “Visionary of the Year.” At the same time, this award is also in recognition of my country’s communications policy."

In 2011, ICF named Suvi Linden, Former Minister of Communications for Finland and member of the UN Commission for Digital Development, as its Visionary of the Year for her effort to pass legislation enabling full access to broadband for all of Finland’s citizens and for classifying access as a basic human right.

"We are proud that the Intelligent Community Forum calls New York home."   

In 2001, Michael Bloomberg was elected the 108th Mayor of the City of New York and went on to become one of the most popular political leaders in the city's history.  Prior to his career in public service, he managed the trading information systems of Salomon Brothers and then, in 1981, founded Bloomberg LP, which became one of the world's leading financial news and information services with 9,500 employees in more than 100 cities.  He is also a major philanthropist who has served on the boards of numerous charitable, cultural and educational institutions.


“The work of the Intelligent Community Forum to recognize, study and promote the advancement of communities is essential everywhere, but perhaps most important in communities like those in our nation.  It is in places like Afghanistan where access to the world’s information infrastructure and best practices is the key for helping Afghanistan to determine the outcome of its cultural and religious challenge, political reformation and assurance of prosperity for our children.”  

In 2006, ICF named Afghanistan's Minister of Communications, Amirzai Sangin, as its Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year for his work in bringing modern fiber, microwave and cellular communications to Afghanistan's government, military and major cities, with the support of the World Bank and other funding agencies.


"The ICF is an important advocate of best practices for economic and social development in the 21st Century.  Waterloo, Canada was recognized by the ICF as the world’s Top Intelligent Community 2007 and Waterloo is an excellent example of a community that is succeeding in the global economy and that has embraced many of the ICF’s tenets to foster a collaborative spirit between residents, government, business and academic institutions."  

Research in Motion (RIM) co-founder Jim Balsillie has served as the co-CEO of the world-renowned BlackBerry smartphone manufacturer since 1992.   At RIM, Jim is responsible for driving corporate strategy, business development, marketing, sales, and finance.  He has also chaired the Intelligent Waterloo Leadership Group.


"We were very honored to be named the Intelligent Community of the Year for 2008. The award is especially a proud and memorable one because we are on the verge of entering into the so-called 'second decade of the digital age.' For three consecutive years, we were nominated as one of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities, and this would not have been possible without the ICF's annual requirements and challenges for us to strive for excellence. We have pushed forward our projects based on adaptability, high skills, and innovation in order to provide our citizens with high-quality services, minimize their costs, and enable them to participate in major policy decisions that affect their lives."  

Maeng Jung Ju is the Mayor of Gangnam District, Seoul, South Korea.  Mayor Maeng has spent more than 30 years in public service in positions with the national Economic Planning Board, the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs and as an advisor to the National Assembly.  Prior to his election as Mayor in 2006, he served as the President of the Korea Securities Finance Corporation. 


"I support and encourage the founders of the Intelligent Community Forum in their challenge to innovative regions in the world to learn, improve and develop the crucial role they play in the world economy. In the Southeast Netherlands, the Brainport Eindhoven Region is a highly innovative European region and leads our country's knowledge economy on a global level. It accounts for 45% of Dutch private investments in R&D and 55% of patents. I fully support the Brainport 2020 vision and agenda.  We look forward to our ongoing collaboration with the ICF Alumni across the globe and the chance to adapt best practices from it."  

Maxime Verhagen is the Netherland's Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation and Deputy Prime Minister.


"The work Cisco is bringing forward in the area of Broadband Government, of which Connected Urban Development is an important element, is modeled in part on ideas first introduced by the Intelligent Community Forum.  I consider the work they do outstanding and world-class."   

Nicola Villa is the Global Director of Cisco's Connected Urban Development program.  The program is part of the commitment Cisco provided to the Clinton Global Initiative, and it is aimed at developing innovative ICT & Broadband solutions in large metropolitan areas to stimulate CO2 emissions reductions.  Nicola has a strong focus on Innovation policy and is collaborating with central government agencies, often at Cabinet level, in supporting the creation of national Innovation & ICT strategies, as well as national Broadband strategies. An Italian national, Mr. Villa is a member of the ComOnline e-Board, an innovative shared services eGovernment organization in the Italian city of Como, and he also collaborates with the University of Padua and the Politecnico of Milan as lecturer at MBA courses.


"As our government continues its quest to drive transformational change, perhaps no industry sector plays a more vital role than that of our information, communications and technology community.  These companies are vital not only in our knowledge industry economy but also as key drivers of growth and innovation.  As Premier, being recognized as ICF’s “Visionary of the Year” is quite an honor, but in accepting this award, I did so on behalf of the many vibrant, successful and visionary information, communications and technology companies in New Brunswick."  

Shawn Graham is the 31st Premier of the Province of New Brunswick, Canada.  In 2010, Premier Graham was named ICF's Visionary of the Year for making New Brunswick the nation's first Broadband Province. 


"The founders of the Intelligent Community Forum are visionaries. They, before anyone else in the world, understood the importance of sharing and exchanging best practices to accelerate development within our communities." 

Andre Santini is the Mayor of the City of Issy-les-Moulineaux, a two-time Top Seven Intelligent Community of the Year, as well as France's Minister of State for Civil Service.  In 2009, he was named ICF's Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year.


"With over half the world's citizens now living in cities, our governments, universities and businesses need not only to collaborate, but to invent and innovate in new ways that make our cities more vibrant, prosperous, sustainable, and secure.  At the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, we are pleased to be a partner with the ICF and to support its essential role in designing a better future for the world's urban communities." 

On July 1, 2005, Jerry Hultin was appointed Polytechnic Institute of NYU’s 10th president in its 150-year history.  Before joining Polytechnic, he was the dean of the Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management and professor of management at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. From 1997 to 2000, he served as under secretary of the U.S. Navy, the department’s No. 2 civilian leader.


"For years, the Intelligent Community Forum has been scouring the world to find – and to salute - communities that are remaking themselves through digital and access technologies. I use the Forum as my 'tipster' for where to look for community innovations in broadband activities and apps that the rest of the world will be emulating in a few years. The Forum never fails to teach me things I didn’t know about places that are on the cutting edge."

Lee Rainie is the Founder and Director of the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. In 2010, ICF presented one of its Founders Awards to the Internet & American Life project to honor the substantial contributions it has made to understanding the impact of the Internet on society and individuals.


"I think one of the great triumphs was the recognition of Waterloo as one of the most Intelligent Communities in the world in 2007.  That was not simply the existence here of good ICT tools, it was how well the community was using these tools to improve not simply  the prosperity of the community but the lives of everyone."

David Lloyd Johnston is a Canadian academic and author, and Governor General of Canada.

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