NUANCE – December 2011

A New Year’s message from the CEO

I will start with a caveat: while 1st January 2012 marks the first day of the New Year, this really applies only to those who use the Gregorian Calendar (and this includes the Alliance).  I am aware that in many parts of the world with at least twenty different calendars (including our own Ethiopia where 2011 is 2003-2004), the year is reckoned differently.  Still, the New Year Message!

I will approach this from a personal perspective. After all, organisations are simply the synergetic total of the individuals involved in their strategy and operations.  How does one decide if one has made positive progress in the previous year, and how does one set new horizons for the following year?

I personally approach this by asking myself a few questions: Have I been available to my family?  Have I been available to my friends?  Have I reached out to those I do not know to make new friends and where necessary to lend a hand? (As someone said, “There are no strangers.  Strangers are friends we have not met yet”).  Has my existence made a positive difference to those I know and those I do not know?  What I find interesting in these questions is that they actually capture the ethos of the UbuntuNet Alliance, based on the Ubuntu philosophy: the community is the responsibility of the individual, and the individual is the responsibility of the community.  I do not always come out with positive answers to all the questions, but I do try to improve from year to year.  As the Alliance, both the organisation and the member NRENs, we need to do the same.

What about setting horizons for the next year?  I happen to have been discussing this with a group of young people (actually Rotaractors – google it) just a few days ago.  I told them that I have never permitted my dreams to be constrained by resources (time, skills, money, etc): I rather always start with my dreams which then motivate me to find the necessary resources to make them happen.  And in many ways, the Alliance has been the same since it was founded by a small bunch of people who set out to achieve the impossible.  The small bunch has now grown into a movement, and this sometimes leads to some hesitation, sometimes to too many “what ifs”, and occasionally to the “I” rather than the “we” approach and focus.  This is natural and normal as organisations grow.  We must all consciously not let this slow us down because we have a promise to deliver to Africa.  As we start 2012, let us maintain and sustain our founding ethos, and let our ability to dream be the only limit to what we can achieve.

UbuntuNet Alliance Annual Report 2010 out

The 2010 Annual report for UbuntuNet Alliance, approved by the Council of Members early 2011, has been formally published.  This is the first physical annual report to be printed since the establishment of the Alliance in 2005. The previous annual reports were only published in electronic form on the UbuntuNet website. The physical report will be used as a marketing tool as the Alliance is strengthening its communication and dissemination strategies.

The Annual Report 2010 entitled ‘Rolling out the Regional Infrastructure: from dreams to achievement,’ which was also the theme for UbuntuNet-Connect 2010, gives an overview of the activities carried out during 2010. The report follows the structure of the Dar es Salaam Strategic Plan and reports on its progress focusing on the six key result areas, which also form the basis of six development programmes being undertaken by the Alliance. These are: development and capacity building of NRENs; high speed and affordable connectivity; assured institutional sustainability; conducive policy and regulatory environment; and interconnections within Africa and globally. The other half of the report includes the financial statements for the year.

The Annual Report 2010 is available on our website for download at If any of our readers would like a physical copy of the Annual Report, please contact us.

On to Jordan for e-AGE

Hard on the heels of the successful UbuntuNet-Connect 2011 in Nairobi was e-AGE 2011: 1st International Platform on Integrating Arab e-Infrastructure in a Global Environment which took place in the lovely city of Amman in the Kingdom of Jordan from 11 – 12 December 2011.  It was held by our fellow REN for Arab States, ASREN.  ASREN states:  “e-AGE 2011 is meant to lay the foundation for a dream of many of today’s leaders towards a global e-infrastructure for R&E based on real life broad inclusiveness beyond any political protocols.”  The event was streamed live so that those who could not participate physically could follow the proceedings

Mrs Margaret Ngwira was invited through the EU FP7 CHAIN project to make a presentation. She was to chair a panel on Perspectives on regional e-Infrastructure which included CLARA, CANARIE, TERENA and ASREN (who was represented by Dr Salem Al-Agtash, who also participated through CHAIN in the Nairobi meeting).  Her presentation on UbuntuNet within the framework of the CHAIN activities was on the theme “Enabling Researchers & Research Collaboration in Africa.”  Due to unforeseeable circumstances, this was presented by John Dyer, the good friend of the Alliance from TERENA who also chaired the session.

Several of the CHAIN team who so ably participated in Nairobi were present: Dr Federico Ruggieri, Dr Roberto Barbera, and Dr Ognjen Prnjat. An EPIKH training was run prior to the conference.

UbuntuNet member NRENs SudREN and SomaliREN also participated and were received into ASREN.  UbuntuNet welcomes this opportunity for overlapping membership as it will assist the network implementation at both human and technical levels and flatten our globe.

Kamuzu College of Nursing launches a research repository

 By Rose Chisowa- UbuntuNet Alliance

Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN), one of the constituent colleges of the University of Malawi, has launched a digital repository for research with an aim of encouraging staff, academics as well as researchers from other institutions to share their research experiences, research papers, theses and articles which can benefit Malawi.

Speaking during the launching ceremony, Kondwani Wella, the College Librarian, (also a co-researcher in the ACU Arcadia study) said that the college realized that its staff is publishing extensively and the College Library therefore decided to seek funding from Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) to conduct an advocacy campaign for the repository so that research output could be shared and made accessible. Research participants at the launch event were asked to submit their research output for uploading into the repository.

The repository was presented to the audience that was made up of researchers, lecturers, graduate students and other interested parties; and the process of submitting articles was demonstrated. The repository is searchable and also includes access to electronic resources from other journals free of charge.

Currently the repository has few articles and staff as well others are being asked to subscribe and deposit articles.  Underscoring this, the Principal of the College, Dr Address Malata, urged all faculty to submit their theses, publications and presentations so that they could be made available to the wider community. “I am aware that some research documents are lying idle in your office drawers and files. Please submit them for uploading into the repository. Your work could help others who are doing studies relating to the same topics,” she said.

The research repository is expected to be helpful during Staff appraisals at the College, lessening the job of going through piles of files and drawers looking for papers, or articles. The repository will also help the College to showcase, both locally and globaly, what is happening within the institution. Other constituent colleges of the University of Malawi like Malawi Polytechnic, Bunda College, Chancellor College and College of Medicine already have repositories.

UbuntuNet Alliance CEO Appointed Chairman of the Board of the National Information Technology Agency of Uganda

It is becoming the norm that those who serve on the Board of the Alliance end up serving their countries in other capacities.  Victor Kyalo is Deputy CEO/Programs Manager of the Kenya ICT Board; Americo Muchanga is Director General at ICNM, the Mozambique Telecoms Regulator; Albert Nsengiyumva is the Minister of Infrastructure, Rwanda; and; Margaret Ngwira is Board Member of the National Library Service in Malawi.  More recently, the CEO of the Alliance, Tusu (or more formally Eng Dr F F Tusubira) has been appointed as Chairperson of the Board, National Information Technology Agency – Uganda.  Tusu has served on other national Boards in Uganda before, including the Uganda Communications Commission, the Electricity Regulatory Authority, and the National Citizenship and Immigration Board.  He is also a member of the Boards of: TENET, the NREN of South Africa; RENU, the NREN of Uganda; the Global Development Learning Network under the World Bank Institute; and the Internet Educational Equal Access Foundation.

The question in the Alliance circles: Who is next?!

Call for applications: Internet Governance Capacity Building Programme 2012

A good opportunity for NRENs! DiploFoundation is currently accepting applications for course participants for the 2012 Internet Governance Capacity Building Programme (IGCBP12). This online programme is designed to improve Internet policy and IG-related knowledge and skills for participants from both developed and developing countries and to assist them in participating in the global decision-shaping debates on IG. The programme also facilitates community building among individuals with different national, cultural, and professional backgrounds.

The 2012 programme offers 30 places for professionals from diverse stakeholder backgrounds in IG-related fields and is open to individuals from around the world. Three phases of the four-phase programme will be conducted entirely online.

The 12-week Foundation Course in Internet Governance (6 March–1 June 2012) introduces IG policy and covers five thematic areas: Infrastructure and Standardisation, Legal, Economic, Sociocultural, and Development aspects, and a section on IG processes and actors. Discussions will cover issues such as broadband policy; management of domain names and IP addresses, including the transition from IPv4 to IPv6; network neutrality; jurisdiction, intellectual property rights, open source and piracy; privacy protection; data security and cybersecurity; child protection; human rights; content management; digital signatures; emerging issues such as policies related to social networks and cloud computing, and more, with space for regional and other issues raised by the participants.

Learning activities take place in an online classroom and include the analysis of course materials; interactive group discussions using a variety of communication tools, assignments, and exams; and other dynamic methodologies. Successful participants of the Foundation Course will receive a certificate of completion.

For more information you can read on…

To apply, fill in the registration form,…. The deadline for applications is 1 February 2012, by midnight UTC/GMT

Friend of the Alliance is New CEO for CENIC

Many in the Alliance family will know Dr Louis Fox: from the USAID/IEEAF workshop in Kampala; the USAID/IEEAF design charrette in Nairobi; from visits to the Pacific Northwest Gigapop, University of Washington, Seattle; from UbuntuNet-Connect 2010 in Johannesburg, and UbuntuNet-Connect 2011 in Nairobi.  Somehow, he is always around, giving input, quiet guidance, interacting.  NUANCE was therefore excited to hear of his appointment as the new CEO of the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) with effect from February 1, 2012.

Formerly Associate Vice President of Computing & Communications at the University of Washington, Fox’s background includes over 20 years as a faculty member and administrator at the University of Washington and, more recently, leadership roles at Duke University, Internet2, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, and the Pacific Northwest Gigapop. He has worked extensively across all sectors of education and with all levels of government, and he has developed numerous partnerships with private sector telecommunications and technology companies in the US and abroad.  He succeeds Jim Dolgonas as Chief Executive Officer, who joined CENIC in 2002 and guided the corporation to its current position of global prominence.

CENIC is a non-profit corporation created in 1996 by California’s research and education community in order to obtain cost-effective, high-bandwidth networking to support their missions and answer the needs of their faculty, staff, and students. Members of CENIC include the California K-12 system, all 114 campuses of California’s Community Colleges, all 23 campuses of the California State University, all 10 campuses of the University of California, and prestigious private universities including Caltech, USC, Stanford, and others.

CENIC designs, implements, and operates CalREN, the California Research and Education Network, a high-bandwidth, high-capacity Internet network specially designed to meet the unique requirements of these communities.  CalREN consists of a 3,000-mile fiber-optic CENIC-operated backbone to which schools and other institutions in all 58 of California’s counties connect via leased circuits obtained from telecom carriers or via CENIC owned fiber-optic cable.

For more information on CENIC, please visit 

Working Group on Broadband & Science (WG – Sci)

The Working Group on Broadband & Science (WG-S) created in January 2011 brings fresh perspective to the Broadband Commission, because the requirements of many advanced scientific applications are often considerably greater than what is usually talked about in the context of standard broadband services. The WG-S has examined the requirements of broadband research and education networks (e-Infrastructures) for data-intensive scientific activities, and has drawn attention to the need for such e-infrastructures in developing countries; as well as the link between such networks and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The WG-S has produced an insightful and thorough report highlighting the issues in relation to global connectivity for science, access and interoperability of computing networks and capabilities, the role of National Research and Education Networks (and the need to support them), the need for open access to data, the impact of Broadband for Science on public services, and the role of regulation in the telecom markets in many developing countries.

The report offers a comprehensive set of recommendations for policy-makers, ministries and regulators which focus on raising the profile of e-infrastructure on national and regional agendas, especially in developing countries, and in view of supporting the MDGs.

In its report the WG-S recommends that Research and Education Networks (RENs) should be given high political visibility towards governments, regulators and academia given their role in the transformation of developing economies into knowledge societies. National authorities and the relevant international organizations should promote affordable and fair access to broadband e-infrastructures via the establishment and consolidation of national, regional and global RENs.

The WG-S adds that broadband e-Infrastructures should be explicitly referred to and appropriately funded in national research, innovation and education policies and in development aid plans. And also RENs should spearhead technological and service innovation in partnership with industry.

Open Access to data and results emanating from publicly funded research should be ensured, enabling Open Science with major socio-economic benefits.

ICT capacity building initiatives require urgent support, in particular for computational scientists and telecom engineers, and for RENs to operate broadband infrastructures.

The WG-S also identifies four elements of the Recommendations as short-term targets which could realistically be achieved by 2015. these are: (1) to launch an International Task force for scientific data access and interoperability; (2) to reflect e-Infrastructures in national policies; (3) to leverage e-Infrastructures for public service; and (4) to enable open access to scientific publications.

The CEO of the Alliance was a contributor to the report and the discussions, including participation in a workshop in Paris under the auspices of the EU.

Read more on:

Call for Participation: Winter 2012 ESCC/Internet2 Joint Techs

The agenda for the Winter 2012 ESCC/Internet2 Joint Techs, hosted by LONI on January 22-26, 2012, has just been posted! Featuring talks on cloud computing (Monday), enhancing infrastructure support for data intensive science (Tuesday), and software defined networking (Wednesday), the agenda is packed with talks and discussions that will affect applications/services under development, best practices, and deployment policies in the future.

Tuesday’s agenda features Jim Bottum, Clemson’s CIO and Vice Provost for Computing, as the discussion moderator; through the course of the day, presenters from campuses, national labs, and funding agencies will weigh in on Enhancing Infrastructure Support for Data Intensive Science, an increasingly demanding area of networking. As an outcome of this discussion, in which the audience is actively engaged in validating recommended policies, Jim will work with a small group to develop a white paper on Best Practices to Support Data Intensive Science on campuses.

The remainder of the meeting will focus, largely, on Software-Defined Networking and Cloud Computing. As always, this meeting offers opportunites for face-to-face discussions as well as several in-depth tutorials, side meetings, two co-located meetings (GLIF and NetGurus) and one hands-on workshop. This year’s offerings include a full-day NSF-sponsored tutorial on OpenFlow, a full-day collaborative tutorial on Achieving the Science DMZ, and a 1/2-day hands-on tutorial on practical aspects of colo/telco facility installations sponsored by the GRNOC.

Registration for Joint Techs, ESCC, workshops and tutorials is now available. Note: Rates increase after December 21! Information on the hotel room block and other travel-related issues has been posted — the block closes on January 4!

Keep checking the ESCC/Internet2 Joint Techs website for updates and we hope to see you in Baton Rouge this January!

For more information:

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