May 21, 2019 - Georgetown Hosts Biennial Conference of the Partnership for Progress on the Digital Divide

This week, the Institute is hosting the biennial conference for the Partnership for Progress on the Digital Divide (PPDD).

The international conference will feature keynote speakers Vint Cerf, widely known as one of the “Fathers of the Internet”, Larry Irving, former Head of the National Telecommunications Infrastructure Administration (NTIA), and policymakers from around the globe.

On Wednesday at 9.30 a.m., FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks will give his first speech since being confirmed as a Commissioner, followed by a fireside chat with Gigi Sohn, now a Distinguished Fellow at the Institute.

Later in the week, the Institute’s Executive Director, Alexandra Givens, will host a panel on Algorithmic Bias and the Digital Divide. Other panels will cover the recently-introduced Digital Equity Act, the 2020 Census, the use of Open Source Software to Increase Digital Engagement, and a wide range of other subjects.

A write-up of the conference is available here. The full list of speakers is available at

Founded in 2002, PPDD addresses the digital divide, referring to the still-existing gap between populations who have access to information and communications technology, and those who lack access. Currently the the only academic professional organization in the world focused on these issues, PPDD brings together policymakers, academics and practitioners who work on closing the digital divide and address the many other challenges and opportunities presented by the digital age.


The conference will take place from May 22-24, 2019 on Georgetown’s Main Campus, and will feature a number of Georgetown experts in key speaking roles, as well as practitioners and policymakers representing academia, government, industry, and the nonprofit sector.

Georgetown’s Provost, Robert Groves, will open the conference on Wednesday, May 22, along with featured panels by faculty members and practitioners from the Tech Institute, the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation, the McDonough School of Business’s Center for Business & Public Policy, and other research hubs.

Georgetown’s representatives at PPDD are key leaders in the university’s new Initiative on Tech & Society, which focuses on developing innovative solutions at the intersection of ethics, policy and governance.

“As technology transforms how we apply for jobs, access opportunities, and engage with the world around us, questions of access and affordability are paramount,” said Alexandra Givens, Executive Director of the Tech Institute, and a co-host of the conference. “We all must engage on the question of how technology can be deployed to create new opportunities--not deepen existing inequality. We are proud to host this important convening at Georgetown, where many of our faculty and policy centers are deeply engaged on this key issue.”


This year’s conference at Georgetown marks the 25th anniversary of the recognition of the digital divide through social scientific research, and is set to be the largest ever worldwide gathering of experts on technology, disability, and the digital divide.

The speaking sessions of the conference will be available to the public via livestream at

Individuals interested in attending the conference may register at

Members of the press are requested to contact Susan Kretchmer at