UbuntuNet-Connect 2012, the largest Ever!

By the sandy shores of the Indian Ocean at Kunduchi Beach Resort, Tanzania, TERNET, the Tanzanian NREN, hosted the largest UbuntuNet-Connect conference ever, both in terms of numbers, and in terms of the participating countries.  One is tempted to right away dwell on the stunning beauty of the venue; the wonderful evenings by the sea enjoying social discourse, music, and the breeze; the depth and variety of the exciting papers – but no, not yet! Look out for all the details of the November issue of NUANCE.

In this photo: Some of the dancers who made the conference colourful

Madagascar launches NREN, connects 15 institutions

By Rose Chisowa

The UbuntuNet Alliance congratulates Madagascar for launching their NREN called iRENALA: a Research and Education Network for Academic Learning Activities. Like any other NREN, iRENALA is aiming at boosting science, technology and education in the country, and also establishing international presence and collaboration.  iRENALA has been established with the support of the French Cooperation Ministry.  The NREN has 21 institutional founding members and one partner member .

The network currently uses optical fibre to connect 18 public higher education institutions in Madagascar; the Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research; and the Ministry in charge of ICTs. Each institution has a minimum bandwidth of 10Mb/s. Another ten public and private institutions have already requested to be connected to the NREN.

Commenting on the development, Etienne Hilaire Razafindehibe, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, said that iRENALA was created to ensure effective use of the network, but he added that users will have to pay to access the network.

iRENALA is set to connect researchers, students, teachers, policymakers to with each other, to the world, and to international scientific databases and resources in all fields of knowledge. This technological revolution will enable researchers from these centresto benefit from new prospects, research, knowledge sharing and access to international information.

Tantely Randriambololona, who is responsible for communication said the NREN plans to join UbuntuNet Alliance with the aim of regional cooperation and development of common services.
The CEO of UbuntuNet Alliance, Dr Francis Tusubira could not hide his happiness about the developments in Madagascar.“The Alliance looks forward to working with iRENALA as a member of the Alliance family in promoting development in the people in our region.”

Currently,the UbuntuNet Alliance Community has 13 member NRENs, and iRENALA will be the 14th.

Indian NREN, NKN first Annual Conference hailed as a great success

By Margaret Ngwira

From 31 October to 2 November, around 450 participants from member institutions of the National Knowledge Network (NKN), the Indian NREN, gathered at the prestigious Indian National Institute of Technology in Mumbai for the First Annual Conference of the NREN.  A crammed programme of practical presentations, demonstrations and high level papers filled every available minute.  The audience was very participatory and appreciative.  The food, largely vegetarian, was a wonderful introduction to Indian cuisine.  Local culture was also in evidence: the upcoming Diwali, the biggest national festival known as “The Festival of Lights” gave a celebratory atmosphere as people rushed about outside, buying gifts for family and friends. While the vast majority of the participants were from NKN, an international flavour was introduced by the presence of the EU FP7 CHAIN (Coordination and Harmonisation of Advanced e-Infrastructures) project members who were both holding a CHAIN workshop and the final CHAIN Project Management Board. Final because CHAIN finishes at the end of November and CHAIN-REDS (Coordination and Harmonisation of Advanced e-Infrastructures for Research and Education Data Sharing) takes over on 1 December 2012.  Also Internet2 was represented by Ann Doyle and Erik Jan-Bos, and TEIN, the eastern Asia RREN was represented by the Executive Officer, Dr ByungKyu Kim.

For a newcomer to India, it was a superb experience; it was moving to see the dignity of the ceremonies surrounding the event – the bouquets and garlands of flowers, the giving of gifts and the lighting of the ceremonial lamp!  The event was streamed to multiple sites within the National Informatics Centre and across the country.

Presentations on climate change yielded results and methodology that could apply to the UbuntuNet Alliance region. Discussions on e-learning and telemedicine likewise revealed potential for collaboration across the Indian Ocean.

As UbuntuNet-Connect hits its 5th birthday, we extend a hand of congratulations to all our NKN brothers and sisters who have taken a bold first step.  A great future lies ahead.

Call for Papers: IST-Africa 2013 Conference, Nairobi, Kenya

The 2013 IST-Africa Conference will take place from 15 – 17 May 2013, hosted by the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Higher Education Science and Technology, Supported by the European Commission (EC) and African Union Commission (AUC) by IST-Africa Partner Governments each year and it is part of the IST-Africa Initiative, under the Information Communications Technologies (ICT).

IST-Africa 2013 will focus on the Role of ICT for Africa’s Development and specifically on applied ICT research topics addressing major societal and economic challenges, which is part of the European Commission’s Information Communications Technologies (ICT).

The core thematic areas are eHealth, eInfrastructures, Living Labs, Technology Enhanced Learning and ICT Skills, Digital Libraries and Intelligent Content, Open Source Software, ICT for eInclusion and eAccessibility, ICT for Environmental Sustainability, RFID and Networked Enterprise, Cloud Computing, eGovernment, Mobile Applications (including mEducation and Social Networking), Transformation of Research Results into Local Innovation and IPv6.

The Conference is inviting interested presenters to prepare an 8 page paper (4,000 – 5,000) wordsfollowing theIST-Africa 2013 paper guidelinesandpaper template available at the conference website given below.

The deadline for submission is 07 December 2012 and should be done online. All submissions will be double blind reviewed by the International Programme Committee and authors will receive feedback by 06 February. Accepted authors will then be invited to submit a final paper taking account of feedback provided for inclusion in the conference proceedings by 28 February 2013.
This information was published by IST-Africa and is available at http://www.ist-africa.org/Conference2013/

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