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Doctor Johannes Britz, World Technology Summit & Awards

[Image] Doctor Johannes Britz, World Technology Summit & Awards

Doctor Johannes Britz, dean of the School of Information Studies (SOIS), recently returned from the World Technology Summit & Awards 2009, having been named a finalist for the Ethics Award. Britz, who was nominated anonymously, was notified in February of this prestigious honor. As one of only five finalists, Britz and Assistant Dean Chad Zahrt traveled to New York, the site of the award ceremony, on July 15th – 16th.

The World Technology Summit & Awards are sponsored by the World Technology Network, an organization of global leaders in business and science which seeks to promote emerging technologies. Britz was nominated in part due to his work helping put on seminars in information ethics and e-government in Africa. In February of this year, Britz traveled to South Africa to train government officials from all over the African continent in the use of technology in bringing services to rural communities.

“I see this as true recognition of the emerging field of ethics in African e-governance,” said Britz of the award, “that’s what’s important to me.” Britz admitted that at first he thought the award was a hoax. It was only later when he received a call from one of the directors did he pay attention.

Britz has consistently dedicated himself to information ethics throughout his career. He was one of the founders of Information Ethics in Africa and began teaching the subject at the University of Pretoria, South Africa in 1990. He later moved to the University of Amsterdam where he continued teaching and research in ethics in 1994. Since coming to SOIS, Britz has built on his legacy in the field, serving as co-editor of the International Review of Information Ethics (IRIE) and acting as a consultant to several African governments in the area of information policy.  

The nomination came in a busy summer for Britz and the School of Information Studies. The school is currently in the process of adding three faculty members and increasing research funding throughout the department. The school also just finished hosting a conference in May concerning the ethics of information of organization and is looking forward to playing a big part in the 2009 Internet: Critical conference here in Milwaukee.

Though he didn’t win the award, being a finalist comes as a big honor for the dean and the School of Information Studies. “I think we’re all proud to have him recognized by an international organization,” said Assistant Dean Zahrt.


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