December 7, 1998
Release No. 079-98

CONTACT: Kelly A. Lees
PHONE: (202) 619-4355

United States InformationAgency- News Release



Washington, D.C. -- The heads of national programs for tackling the Year 2000 computer problem will meet for the first time on an international basis at the United Nations on Friday, December 11 at a session organized by the UN Economic and Social Councilís (ECOSOC) Working Group on Informatics.

The December 11 meeting is designed to address many countriesí lack of national response to the problem, the need for a reliable overview of worldwide preparedness, and to facilitate a useful exchange of experiences between those countries that are mounting vigorous efforts to solve the problem.

The United State Information Agency (USIA) has been charged with the responsibility of raising international awareness of the global Y2K challenge. Jonathan Spalter, Chief Information Officer and Associate Director for Information at USIA, chairs the Working Group for International Public Diplomacy on the Presidentís Council on Y2K Conversion and will participate in the day-long conference along with Y2K experts from the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Telecommunications Union, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Joint Year 2000 Council, and the International Technology Association of America, as well as permanent representatives of the missions to the UN.


On Thursday, December 10, Ambassador Ahmad Kamal (Pakistan), Chairman of the Informatics Working Group, will join John Koskinen, Chair of the U.S. Presidentís Council on Year 2000 Conversion, and Friends of the Chair Ahmad Kamal, in a press briefing at the New York Foreign Press Center to discuss the international implications of the Year 2000 problem and the UN meeting. The steering committee is comprised of heads of national Year 2000 programs from Bulgaria, Chile, Mexico, The Netherlands, The Phillippines, Republic of Korea, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States.

The meeting of the ECOSOC Working Group on Informatics opens at 10:00 am on December 11 in the Trusteeship Council at UN Headquarters. Although the exchange of experiences and frank assessments of national preparedness necessarily are closed to the press, a United Nations report on the state of worldwide Y2K preparedness and contingency planning is to be presented publicly at the 10:00 am opening of the meeting.

In addition, there will be a press conference with national experts and UN officials on December 11 at 2:30 pm in Room S-226 at UN Headquarters.

The following is an schedule to be used for press planning purposes:

Thursday, December 10 (New York)

12:00 noon Press Briefing with Ambassador Ahmad Kamal, Chairman of the UN ECOSOC Informatics Working Group; John Koskinen, Chair, Presidentís Council on Year 2000 Conversion; and other members of the steering committee

The New York Foreign Press Center

150 East 52nd Street, 5th Floor

New York, NY

(212 ) 317-8325

Friday, December 11 (New York)

10: 00 am Opening Session of ECOSOC Working Group on Informatics Meeting,

UN Delivers Report on the State of Y2K Preparedness

Trusteeship Council, UN Headquarters

UN Plaza

New York, NY

2:30 pm Press Conference with UN Officials and National Experts

Room S-226, UN Headquarters

3:00 pm UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan Address

UN Headquarters

MEDIA NOTE: Journalists without UN credentials who wish to attend the December 11 press conference should fax a letter of assignment to 212-963-4642, and follow-up with a call to the UN Media Accreditation Unit at 212-963-7164. Those planning to attend the December 10 briefing are asked to confirm by calling 212-317-8325, or by sending a fax to 212-317-8355.

The United States Information Agency, headed by Dr. Joseph Duffey, is an independent foreign affairs agency within the executive branch that explains and supports U.S. foreign policy and national security interests abroad through a wide range of information programs. The Agency promotes mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through a series of educational and cultural exchange activities.

USIA's programs include the Voice of America, Radio and TV Mart≠, the WORLDNET satellite television system, the daily Washington File newswire, the Fulbright scholarship program, the International Visitor Program, the Speakers and Specialists Program, three Foreign Press Centers in the United States, and a network of overseas resource and cultural centers. The Agency has 190 posts in 141 countries.

The USIA domestic server can be accessed through or through most search engines on the Internet.

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The USIA domestic server can be accessed through or through most search engines on the Internet.

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