I drop by the "Internet Cafe" every day to check my emails. The place is crammed with people, most of them under 16 years old, often 4 to a computer, laughing, communicating with new friends all over the world. The internet is cutting away ignorance, cutting away barriers to information, and making the world seem to be smaller and less mysterious.
Me, I had to travel 16 hours with an overnight and another 3 hours to get here by airplane. These kids "travel" the world by internet without having to get on an airplane. What a new world and what a blessing.
In Mongolia, in an internet cafe it is not unusual to see two, three or four people huddled around a computer screen. It is indicative of the enormous interest and energy this country has in internet technology.
Mongolia's youth amaze me. Some of these children still live in Ghers (round traditonal tents), where there is no running water. Yet, they are internet savy. It is as if the entire world is open to them through the net. And the Mongolian youth seem to have a particular aptitude for computer and technical skills. Perhaps it is because that this nation traditionally was so remote and so focused on agriculture and nature, that they have responded so enthusiastically to IT.
I.T. and communications are progressing at at amazing pace. I carry with me a "Blackberry" telephone/internet device. From Mongolia, can make and receive phone calls and messages from throughout the world. Over 300,000 cell phones are in use here. Everyone seems to be carrying a phone. Our company recently introduced "handless" blue tooth technology to Mongolia, and the phone company is asking for a larger variety of offerings. Our company promoted a new law that taxi drivers must use "handless" cell phones, through blue tooth wireless systems...that law was passed to the chagrin of the nation's taxi drivers.
Leaders in Mongolia, such as Amarjargal (member of Parlliament) have told us that they wish to promote the skills and techincal education for the youth of Mongolia to make them equal to anyone in the world. From my observation, Mongolian youth already can compete with the youth from any nation, and have the potential to be leaders in technical knowledge and skills.
In a recent presentation, where business and government leaders were present, I suggested that the government of Mongolia fund an "Army of internet youth" to lead the nations technical future. I noticed that one prominent government leader was nodding in agreement and taking notes.
The youth of any nation are the future and so filled with optimism and promise. It is our role as those "slightly" older, to give them every opportunity to achieve their highest destiny. When I see 2, 3, or 4 children smiling and eagerly watching the computer screen, it is a joyful step in that direction.