First experimental E-Lecture takes place in Vienna
It may look like an empty room but this was an experimental E-Lecture organized by staff from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna together with leading international experts in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice to reach out to thousands of people worldwide on the topic: "Sport, Violence and Crime Prevention".
The E-Lecture was hosted by the United Nations Information Service in Vienna (UNIS) in a room usually used for UNIS-organized lectures on United Nations topics to around 6,000 people every year. The project is also associated with the recently launched Academic Impact initiative of the Department of Public Information which is aimed at creating new partnerships for the Organization by engaging the academic world.
The two-hour E-Lecture started with welcome video remarks from the Executive Director of UNODC, Yury Fedotov, the Special Adviser to the UN-Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, Wilfried Lemke and the President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge. The E-Lecture was moderated by Professor Hans-Jürgen Kerner, the Director of the Institute of Criminology at the University of Tübingen in Germany.
With the support of the Information Technolgy Service (ITS) in Vienna the E-Lecture was a live video stream on the Internet.
In the room there were a handful of UN staff and others interested to see how this 'webinar' format would work. Meanwhile there were people from Lithuania to Japan logged onto the E-Portal site listening and participating in the E-Lecture.
It began with a series of prerecorded presentations by a range of experts from around the world on different aspects of the topic. Then came the question and answer session with a panel in the room alongside other experts participating remotely via Skype. Questions were asked by participants from Spain to Australia where it was late in the evening, showing the amazing global reach of such a format.
In his welcome remarks posted on E-Lecture Portal, the UNIS Director, Maher Nasser said that this experiment would be watched closely by colleagues in the UN around the world, keen to see what lessons could be learnt from this interesting experiment: "Today they are offering an E-Lecture, tomorrow the same format could be used for training law enforcement officials in different countries. This new format has the potential to reach new audiences around the world and we wish you all every success with this project."
After the E-Lecture was over Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, Slawomir Redo, the driving force behind the idea, was pleased with how it went: "So many experts contributed to the prerecorded lectures, at no cost to the United Nations and we enabled this global expertise to reach individuals around the world. It supplements the practial tools produced by UNODC like Handbooks and manuals on criminal justice topics."
The online E-Lecture series is supported by the Faculty of Law and the Institute of Applied Computer Science and Information Systems of the University of Vienna, Austria. Other co-sponsors are: the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace, International Action Network on small arms (IANSA), the International Olympic Committee, the Austrian Federal Security Academy (SIAK, Sicherheitsakademie), the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Italy, the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime, the University of South Africa, the University of Tübingen, Germany and Washington and Lee University School of Law.
The E-Lecture will be archived on the website.