Tim Unwin (born 1955) served as Secretary General (formerly Chief Executive Officer) of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) from 2011-2015, and is Emeritus Professor of Geography and Chairholder of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D at Royal Holloway, University of London. From 2001-2004 he led the UK Prime Minister’s Imfundo: Partnership for IT in Education initiative based within the Department for International Development, and from 2007-2011 he was Director and then Senior Advisor to the World Economic Forum’s Partnerships for Education initiative with UNESCO. From 2004-2014 he was a Commonwealth Scholarship Commissioner, serving as Chair of the Commission between 2009 and 2014. He was appointed a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St George (CMG) in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours list in 2016 for his services to the Commonwealth.
He was previously Head of the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London (1999–2001), and has also served as Honorary Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) (1995-1997) and as Chair of the IBG’s Developing Areas Research Group (1990-1993). He has written or edited 15 books, and more than 200 papers and other publications, including “Wine and the Vine” (Routledge, 1991), “The Place of Geography” (Longman, 1992), as well as his edited “Atlas of World Development” (Wiley, 1994) and “A European Geography” (Longman, 1998). Much of his research draws on his reading of the work of Critical Theorists in the Frankfurt School, and especially the writings of Jürgen Habermas (especially Theorie und Praxis and Erkenntnis und Interesse). His research and practice have taken him to more than 40 countries across the world, from Estonia to Sierra Leone, and Ethiopia to Sri Lanka, and he has worked on subjects as diverse as the role of banknotes as expressions of national identity, and the historical-geography of viticulture and the wine trade. He first programmed in Fortran in the mid-1970s, and over the last 20 years his research has concentrated on information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D), focusing especially on the use of ICTs to support some of the poorest and most marginalised people and communities. He has written two major books on ICT4D: the first was a collaborative book, entitled simply ICT4D, and was published by Cambridge University Press in 2009; and his second, entitled Reclaiming ICT4D was published by Oxford University Press in 2017. He started using WordPress for blogging on 18th December 2008.
Links to his main current activities are as follows:
- Chairholder, UNESCO Chair in ICT4D and Emeritus Professor of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London
- Honorary Professor, Research School of Arid Environment and Climate Change, Lanzhou University, Gansu, China
- Chair of the Advisory Board of the United Nations University Computing and Society Institute (UNU-CS)
- Co-Investigator on UKRI GCRF South-South Migration Inequality and Development Hub
- On the editorial boards of
Further information about Tim is available as follows:
For further links on ICT4D, visit the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D at Royal Holloway, University of London at http://www.ict4d.org/