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Special Session of ITU Focus Group on metaverse

Time and date: 12 September 2023

Venue: Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC), Arusha, Tanzania


Vincent Affleck

Co-chairman, FG-MV Working Group 6 on Security, Data & Personally identifiable information (PII) Protection

Vincent Affleck has spent over 20 years in regulatory matters relating to telecommunications. First, from the early 1990s, as Deputy Director at Oftel, he worked on developing the world’s first interconnection regime between BT and other operators following the liberalisation of telecommunications in the UK and subsequently was responsible for resolving interconnection disputes and complaints of anti-competitive behaviour. Then from 2003, as Director of International Standards, he was responsible, inter alia, for the UK’s engagement with ITU-T leading the UK delegation to WTSAs in 2008, 2012 and 2016. For eight years, he chaired the OECD CISP (Communication and Infrastructures Services Policy) Working Party. Since 2019, he has been an expert consultant on standardisation issues to the UK Department of Science, Innovation and Technology. As part of that role he represents the UK in ITU-T Study Groups 11 (Signalling Requirements and Protocols) and in ITU-T SG 16 (Multimedia and Related Digital Technologies). Although a classicist by background, Vincent Affleck obtained post-graduate qualifications in Economics and Competition Law from Nottingham University in the 1990s. ​

Cristina Bueti​​

U4SSC Focal Point and Counsellor, ITU

Cristina Bueti is the ITU Focal Point on Smart Sustainable Cities. She is also the Counsellor of ITU-T Study Group 20 “Internet of things (IoT) and smart cities and communities (SC&C)” and the Counsellor of the Focus Group on metaverse at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). She also serves as TSB/ITU focal point for Latin America. Cristina Bueti graduated from the Faculty of Political Science, Law and International Cooperation and Development of the University of Florence, where she completed postgraduate studies in International Cooperation and Telecommunications Law in Europe. She ​also holds a specialization in Environmental Law with a special focus on Telecommunications. In 2003, Ms. Bueti built on her academic credentials by completing a specialized course in peace keeping and international cooperation with special focus on telecommunications at the Faculty of Laws, University of Malta, before joining the International Telecommunication Union in Geneva in January 2004. As part of the International Women’s Day 2016, she was named as one of the twenty Geneva-based inspirational women working to protect the environment. She has authored over 40 reports on telecommunication issues. A native Italian speaker, Cristina is also fluent in English, French and Spanish.​​​

Radia Funna

Futurist, Creator, xHuman Theory & Vice Chair, ITU-T FG-MV WG6, Security, Data &PII Protection

Radia Funna is an internationally recognized theorist whose xHuman theory explores the impact of frontier technology on people, institutions, and societal structures.  She is the founder and principal at Build n Blaze, an 11-year-old consulting firm advising on strategy, policy, and transformation in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  Radia holds leadership positions blending emerging technology and policy, most recently in metaverse related standardization at ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector’s Focus Group on metaverse, where she is Vice Chairman, Working Group on Security, Data & Personally Identifiable Information (PII)​ Protection; Chairman, Task Group on Building Confidence and Security in the Metaverse including PII Protection, Ethical Issues, and Standards; and Chairman, Task Group on Implications of People in the Metaverse.  She is a member of Stimson Center’s Alfred Lee Loomis Innovation Council (a forum for technology leaders and policymakers in the United States to share expertise, build innovative solutions to 21st century problems, and consider the future of U.S. technology policy); and the Trust and Safety Teaching Consortium (launched by Stanford University’s Internet Observatory to share open access teaching material on online trust and safety).   Radia is an informal advisor to the UN and an advocate of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Shin-Gak Kang

Chairman of ITU-T FG-MV(metaverse)

Shin-Gak KANG is the Assistant Vice President of ETRI, Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute in Republic of Korea. He received B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electronics engineering from Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Korea in 1984, 1987, and 1998, respectively. He joined ETRI in 1984 and is currently Head of the Standards and Opensource Research Division. He is also Adjunct Professor of ETRI School of University of Science and Technology in Korea. He has actively participated in many international standardization activities of many SDOs including ITU-T SG 7, SG 8, SG 17, SG 11, SG 13, SG 16, SG 20, GSC, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 6, IETF and IEEE, as Rapporteur, Convenor, Editor, and major contributor since his first joining to ITU-T SG 8 meeting in 1988. He served as ITU-T SG11 Vice-Chairman and its WP Chairman from 2013 to 2021. Since 2004, he has been working as Convenor for ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 6/WG 7 on Future Network. He is also currently serving as Vice-Chairman of ITU-T SG16, Co-chairman of WP1/16, and Co-Chairman of the CG-Metaverse in SG16. He has been appointed as the Chairman of ITU-T Focus Group on metaverse in December 2022 by TSAG.​

Alyssa Keast

Virtual Experience Consultant, Virbela

Alyssa Keast is a Virtual Experience Consultant at Virbela that focuses on helping enterprise’s organizations move into the metaverse! Specializing in events, remote and hybrid collaboration, and gamifying learning, Alyssa helps customers use the metaverse to bring together distributed teams and communities to build culture in a new era of technology!

Stella J Kipsaita

Ag. Deputy Director / Standards and Type Approval, Communications Authority of Kenya

Stella Kipsaita currently work with the Communications Authority of Kenya as an Ag. Deputy Director / Standards and Type approval. Her work entails identifying and ensuring industry standards are suited for the Kenyan scenario through projects and activities that improve industry standards. She also ensures the scarce resource in the numbering plan is managed well and manage the type approval of all equipment coming into the country. She also participates in ensuring only Type approved equipment is brought into the country through the TradeNet system which is a government driven portal.  

Stella Kipsaita is a lawyer by profession specialised in the ICT space. She holds a Masters in Communications Management from the University of Strathclyde and an BA (Hons) Law and Management Science from the University of Keele in the UK. 

She has participated in drastically driving industry growth through various activities including participating in coming up with the Universal Licensing Framework that suits our country’s needs. She was also a member of the team that coordinated the Universal Access Study, in collaboration with IDRC, which spurred increased investments that has driven globally-admired sectoral growth. 

Finally, She has been an avid player in the ITU space as a Rapporteur where she has been a vice rapporteur in Study Group 1 Q 5/1 on rural access. This has seen me being involved in the various activities of the study group over a span of 10 years including compiling reports and executive briefs and contributing in various aspects. She is currently working on the Metaverse conversation as a Chair of WG 9 on collaborations.

Yong Jick Lee

President, Center for Accessible ICT, Korea

Dr. Yong Jick Lee is a president and an ICT accessibility researcher at Korea Center for Accessible ICT, a research center that concerns information and communication technology accessibility for persons with disabilities, persons with age-related disabilities and those with specific needs. The research center is conducting research on assistive technologies for persons with disabilities, and developing tools used in rehabilitation treatment areas, including occupational therapy and speech therapy.  Dr. Lee is also participating in developing ICT accessibility international and domestic standards through ITU-T, W3C, ASTAP(Asia-Pacific), and TTA(Korea). He played a role as an editor in developing ITU-T Recommendations, including Y.4204 Accessiblity requirements for Internet of Things applications and services, Y.4211 Accessiblity requirements for smart public transport, and Y.4219 Accessibility requirements for user interface of smart applications supporting IoT. He also participated in researching the status of mobile accessibility in Asia-Pacific regions through APT ASTAP.  Prior to joining Korea Center for Accessible ICT, he worked as a professor in Jungwon University and JEI University in Business Administration, majoring in Information Systems. His current research interest includes accessibility services in disaster management services, accessible IoT and smart cities, accessible mobile applications, metaverse accessibility, etc.

Emmanuel C. Manasseh

Lecturer, Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) Arusha

Dr. Emmanuel C. MANASSEH a Lecturer at Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) Arusha. Prior to his current position, he was a Director, Industry Affairs at Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA). From April 2013 to March 2014, he was an Assistant Professor at Hiroshima University in the Department of System Cybernetics. Dr. Manasseh began his career at Celtel Tanzania Limited (Now Airtel Tanzania), as a Telecommunications Engineer, working on Operation & Maintenance of all 2G/3G Base Station Subsystem (BSS) from 2005 to 2007. Dr. Manasseh holds different leadership roles, including Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Tanzania Education and Research Network (TERNET); Board Member of Maendeleo Bank PLC. and a Vice Chair of ITU -T Study Group 20, Internet of Things and Smart Sustainable Cities.

He is also a member of professional institutes and bodies including, Engineers Registration Board of Tanzania (ERB); Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Dr. Manasseh holds Doctor of Engineering (Dr. Eng.) from the department of System Cybernetics, Hiroshima University, Japan in 2013; Masters of Engineering (M.Eng.) from Hiroshima University, Japan in 2010; and BSc. degree in Telecommunications Engineering from the University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in 2005.

Seizo Onoe

Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU

Seizo Onoe took office as Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on 1 January 2023. Known in the industry as “the father of LTE” (Long-Term Evolution mobile broadband), he now aims for global outreach to bridge standardization gaps, deliver the benefits of technology widely and speedily, and ensure meaningful and affordable broadband access for everyone. Before his election as TSB Director by ITU Member States, he completed an over 30-year career with Japanese mobile operator NTT DOCOMO. In 2021, he became Executive Vice President and Chief Standardization Strategy Officer for NTT Corporation and a Fellow of NTT DOCOMO. From 2017, he served as NTT DOCOMO’s Chief Technology Architect and President of its subsidiary DOCOMO Technology. From 2012 to 2017, he served as NTT DOCOMO’s Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President, a Member of the Board of Directors, and Managing Director of R&D Innovation Division. Earlier, he served as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of NTT DOCOMO’s R&D Strategy Department and Managing Director of the company’s Radio Network Development Department. Mr Onoe holds a Master’s degree in electronics from the Kyoto University Graduate School of Engineering.

Sarah Segrest

Virtual Urban Planner, Virbela Open Campus

Sarah (she/her) is an emerging technology specialist, humanist, learning futurist, artist, community leader and equality advocate. She has led corporate and education strategies for future planning and technology adoption for over a decade. Her main project right now is leading the Open Campus Community in partnership with Virbela, in which she serves as the VIP of Community and drives strategy for building community in the free, public, professionally-oriented virtual world of Open Campus, built on the Virbela platform. Sarah founded her consultancy, Octosmos LLC, in 2021 to narrow her focus of work specifically to technology and organizations that benefit humanity, enhance learning and support equity, with a specialization in XR technology, virtual worlds, AI, Web3 and blockchain. She also serves as the Chief Learning Officer for the National Collaborative for Digital Equity (NCDE), advising and supporting the non-profit on emerging technologies for equity.

Yining Zhao

Junior Communication Officer, ITU

Yining Zhao works as Junior Communication Officer at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in the domain of metaverse and digital transformation for cities and communities. She supports the activities of ITU Focus Group on metaverse (FG-MV), the Regional Group for Asia and the Pacific of ITU-T Study Group 20 “Internet of things and smart cities and communities (SG20RG-AP), and a United Nations initiative, United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC). Prior to this role, Yining works as an Engineer at the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) for various research projects related to digital transformation. Yining holds a Master’s degree from the University of Bristol and two Bachelor’s degrees from the Renmin University of China.