As a follow-up of the Ministerial Conference in Rome in May 1996 on the "Construction of the Euro-Mediterranean Information Society", the Government and University of Cyprus, in March 1998, have organised the EuroMed Net Conference, in collaboration with the European Commission. Professor George Papadopoulos was invited at ITIS'98 to report on this event and talk about the people who will constitute the future Euro-Mediterranean society; its inherent potential that has to be generated through successful interaction; the cultural, educational, financial, and organisational issues; and the various pilots projects that will be set up.
The EuroMed Net'98 organisation offered a lively forum of invited talks by expert guest speakers, several round tables for discussion, and a number of special tracks for specific items. From the beginning, a set of well defined goals were determined for the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean Information Society. First, the conference attendants tried to achieve a general consensus on the strategic objectives which have to be implemented. Second, they expressed the urgent need for profound interaction between industries, operators, research communities, public bodies, and the citizens. Third, they agreed to ask the European Commission for a funding capital of 2.5 Mecu to support telecommunications actions.
In the field of telematics and telemedicine, the conference concentrated on preventive medicine as well as the creation of awareness and training facilities. Current problems relate to the lack of digital libraries, graphical user interfaces and standardisation profiles. The participants recognised that other areas have to deal with these issues too. Therefore, it was decided to work on the establishment of a telecom infrastructure by means of satellite services; the general access to evidence-based medicine; the development of networks to provide centres of excellence; and to optimise effectiveness.
The Cyprus gathering constituted the first in a row of regional conferences on the Euro-Mediterranean Information Society. Other conferences will be organised in Malta, Istanbul, Cairo, and so on. You can find more news on the telemedical aspects of EuroMed Net'98 in the May Issue of the Virtual Medical Worlds Magazine. For a complete report of this event, we refer to the official conference site.