NUANCE – October 2013

UbuntuNet Alliance has a new Chairperson

Professor Ssebuwufu, the new Chairperson of UbuntuNet Alliance

Professor John Ssebuwufu, the Director for Research Programmes at the Association of African Universities (AAU) in Ghana, is now the new chairperson of UbuntuNet Alliance. He succeeds Professor Zimani Kadzamira who stepped down on 12th February 2013 after serving the Alliance with distinction for two consecutive three year terms as Chairperson. Professor Silas Lwakabamba had been appointed to succeed Professor Zimani Kadzamira; however after President Paul Kagame appointed him Minister of Infrastructure in Rwanda, he could not take up office.

Professor Ssebuwufu recently served as Acting Secretary General of the AAU. He is a member of several international committees and boards, including the World Bank Millennium Science Initiative, where he is one of the Technical Experts for Uganda. He is also the Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors at CITI BANK (Uganda) Ltd, a subsidiary of Citigroup New York.

Prior to his appointment at AAU, Professor Ssebuwufu served in various positions, the most noteworthy being that of Vice-Chancellor of Uganda’s premiere university, Makerere University, from 1993 to 2004. His tenure saw the total transformation of the university from an institution near collapse to a dynamic computerized institution responding to national and regional research and education needs with a multiplicity of global research and funding linkages.

When the news about the new Chairperson was announced to the UbuntuNet NREN community, CEOs of NRENs sent out welcome messages. “I am very honoured to welcome you to the family. You are joining the Alliance at the time when it is rolling out its backbone.Your leadershipwill assist in the realization of an affordable high speed connection of universities and research institutions of the Alliance members,” said Professor Dibungi Kalenda, CEO of Eb@le and Director of UbuntuNet Alliance.

“Congratulations and a warm welcome to the Alliance, which, I’m sure you are already familiar with. We look forward to working with you and take the Alliance to higher heights,” said Bonny Khunga, CEO of ZAMREN.

“The Xnet Development Alliance Trust (Namibian NREN) is delighted to welcome you at the helm of the Alliance. We are confident that with your leadership, we will continue to achieve greater successes,” said Wilfred Kuria, CEO of the Namibian NREN.

“I congratulate you for your appointment as the Chairman of UbuntuNet Alliance. It would be an honour for KENET if you could visit us at the University of Nairobi next time you are passing through Nairobi,” said Professor Meoli Kashorda, CEO of KENET and Director of UbuntuNet Alliance.

Prof Ssebuwufu replied pledging to do his best in the regional research and education network service.

Prof Ssebuwufu took office on 1stNovember 2013. His first assignment will be to chair the 31stManageent Board Meeting, which will be held in Kigali on 13thNovember 2013 ahead of UbuntuNet-Connect 2013. Dr Iman Abuel Maaly Abdelrahman, the Deputy Chair of the Alliance has been acting as Chair of the Alliance.

Ready for Rwanda?  UbuntuNet-Connect 2013 events cluster

This last month has been extremely busy with the planning for the various activities surrounding UbuntuNet-Connect 2013 and associated events to take place in Kigali from 9-15 November 2013.  The events are hosted by Rwanda Education Network (RwEdNet) through the Ministry of Education.

The cluster of events will start with a five-day Train the Trainers Workshop funded by Network Startup Resource Centre (NSRC), AfricaConnect project and International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP). Capacity building is at the core of the mission of UbuntuNet Alliance, so the Alliance is delighted to partner with these distinguished organisations.

On Tuesday, 11th November, CEOs and CTOs of NRENs will attend separate meeting AfricaConnect Administration and AfricaConnect Technical to be updated on AfricaConnect implementation and input into programmes.

On Wednesday 12th,2013,the Joint eI4Africa / CHAIN-REDS Pre-Conference Workshop will be held on the theme: An African e-infrastructure for Virtual Research Communities. This promises to be an exciting occasion, showcasing the kind of research and services that will be supported over the UbuntuNet regional network.  The Lighthouse demonstrator on e-health should raise a great deal of excitement.  The local organiser, Donart Ngarambe of Kigali Institute for Science and Technology, is working tirelessly to ensure maximum participation from Rwandese researchers. The day will close with a Networking Cocktail.

Then on Thursday and Friday, 14-15 November, UbuntuNet-Connect 2013 on the theme Transforming Education and Research will take place.  Many interesting abstracts were received this year, and for this reason, we will have parallel sessions on Friday, 15thNovember 2013. Twenty four papers that made it through the rigorous selection process will be presented. Presenters come from several African and European countries, the US and also from our South American colleagues.  We willparticipate in panels, enjoy the hospitality of our Rwandan hosts in the form of a cocktail and inspect exhibits from our sponsors and other interested parties.

One comment from a regular participant to UbuntuNet-Connect, Christiaan Kuun of CSIR in South Africa follows: I really think UbuntuNet-Connect is an important conference and we (as community) have to contribute to getting and keeping the quality high.

Rwanda is a country with several tourism opportunities, so plan to spend a few days extra. A link on the Conference website points to the official website of Rwanda Tourism

Nobel Prize: Moving chemistry out of the laboratory and onto the computer

Karplus pictured at home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, moments after hearing the news. Image courtesy Harvard/Stephanie Mitchell.

As part of several e-Infrastructures EU FP7 projects (currently CHAIN-REDS and eI4Africa) UbuntuNet Alliance has endeavoured to show its research community the new ways of doing science utilising e-infrastructures. It was with great pleasure that it was noted that the 2013 Nobel Prize for Chemistry acknowledged the pioneer of computational chemistry. Through the agreement with International Science Grid this Week (iSGTW), we are happy to present more about this landmark award. Read the article here

Brazilian NREN offers cutting edge e–services to health sector

Dr Luiz Ary Messina, Coordinator of RUTE

Since its inception, UbuntuNet Alliance has worked closely with CLARA, its South American counterpart.  One of CLARA’s members with whom the Alliance has interacted is the Brazilian National Research and Education Network (RNP).The UbuntuNet Alliance community enjoyed the participation and presentations from RNP at UbuntuNet-Connect 2012 in Dar es Salaam, and will be pleased to know they will be back in force at UbuntuNet-Connect 2013, It is good to learn more about RNP and how it is helping save lives.

RNP provides advanced communication infrastructure and facilitates the building of communities of users in more than 800 education and research institutions in Brazil, giving access to over 3.5 million users.  The NREN continues to shine as it takes the health sector in the country to another level through the Telemedicine University Network (RUTE). RUTE began in 2006, now with 78 Telemedicine Centers connected and in full operation, expands to integrate – via RNP – 150 Centers in all National University Hospitals, public teaching hospitals. It supports Special Interest Groups in the areas of primary health care, cardiology, radiology, nursing, ophthalmology, child health, rehabilitation, orthopaedics and trauma, indigenous health, among others.

Early this year, Brazil hosted the first broadcast in real time of a heart surgery in ultra high definition (Ultra HD) which was conducted at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN) in Natal. Also known as 4K, the technology used allows one to generate images at a resolution four times greater than the pictures in full high HD.

“RNP is working on applications of 4K in a wide range of areas. We have now made a demonstration related to telemedicine, our next plans are to expand to other areas such as astronomy, digital cinema, dance etc,” explained Leandro Ciuffo, Manager of Research and Development of RNP.

The real time surgery broadcast was monitored remotely on all RUTE Centers by physicians, health researchers and technology professionals.

“The doctors and students were able to see details of the surgery that often are not seen even by the medical team in the operating room. Imagine viewing an enlarged heart at 6 feet, “says Ciuffo. The manager of R & D says the technology has already been tested and is available for use, depending only on investment for its popularization.

The activities of RUTE are receiving attention. The newly created Brazilian Hospital Services Enterprise Ebserh integrates a set of actions taken by the Federal Government in order to stimulate the university hospitals linked to national universities. Ebserh plans to consolidate and expand the practice of this and other innovative technologies.

RUTE’s primary focus is on the creation of Telemedicine Centers, and forming the scientific community on advanced network. In addition to RUTE, Brazil has two other integrated national programs in Telehealth, and these are: the National Telehealth Networks Brazil, focusing on remote primary assistance, and 2) the Open University Health System (UNASUS), focusing on the continuing education of health public professionals.

Photo: Magnus Nascimento

Change in the air: New challenge for MAREN’s Anthony Muyepa

The picture shows Margaret Ngwira, Gift Kadzamira, Anthony Muyepa and Dr Christopher Guta , all long associated with MAREN (Malawi Research and Education Network), the Malawi NREN.  But the institution that brings them together here is quite different from MAREN. The photo depicts the opening of a meeting of the Malawi National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST). The purpose of the meeting was to finalise the Malawi State of Science and Technology Report and Mr Muyepa is there not representing MAREN but performing his first duty as the new Director General of NCST.

The UbuntuNet Alliance community would like to congratulate Mr Muyepa on his new position.  He was one of the three founders of MAREN and a key person at the Internet2 meeting in 2005 where UbuntuNet Alliance was given its name.  He has given technical leadership to MAREN over the years and arranged for the MAREN hosting of the Malawi Internet Exchange Point (IXP) at the College of Medicine in Blantyre where he was ICT Director.  He has participated in many UbuntuNet Alliance events especially those involved in capacity building for many years.  In addition, he has been involved in raising awareness to ensure Malawi Government supports the implementation of the AfricaConnect project.

The domain of Science and Technology can make an enormous contribution to improving so many aspects of our lives in our region.  The new DG has a big job ahead of him.  It is hoped that, nevertheless, in his new position he can still find time to raise awareness of high level issues concerning the uptake and utilization of advanced networks (especially MAREN).This in turn will contribute to his success in his broader mission. Congratulations, Anthony for the last time.  Welcome Bwana DG!

Congratulations to WACREN’s New CEO

Dr. Boubakar Barry, CEO of WACREN

UbuntuNet Alliance would like to congratulate Dr Boubakar Barry for assuming leadership of, the West Africa Research and Education Network (WACREN), the West African sister of UbuntuNet Alliance. He took up office on 1st October 2013 after he had been endorsed during WACREN’s 1st Annual General Meeting on 3rd July 2013 at the National Universities Commission in Abuja, Nigeria.

“Dr Barry became the Coordinator the Research and Education Networking Unit at the Association of African Universities in 2006 and was elected Director of UbuntuNet Alliance in 2011.He has  brought great wisdom to the positions. When advice or information is sought from him, it is always given promptly yet thoughtfully.  WACREN and UbuntuNet Alliance have so much in common and the appointment of Dr Barry will cement this at the infrastructure, service level, as well as the relationship level, “said Margaret Ngwira, the Special Projects Coordinator of UbuntuNet Alliance.

Dr Barry holds a PhD in Nuclear Electronics and a Master’s Degree in Nuclear Physics from the Technical University of Dresden, Germany. He is also a Lecturer of Computer Networks and Electronics at the Faculty of Science and Technology at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar (UCAD.

Africa EU Cooperation Newsletter had an interview with Dr Barry and he talks more about his new position. Read the full interview here.

Vacancy for position of Chief Executive Officer

Dr F. F Tusubira, CEO of UbuntuNet Alliance

Tusu, the CEO of UbuntuNet Alliance, has since 2007 had an enormous role in developing the Alliance organisationally, in terms of infrastructure, and also in positioning it globally. He has drawn on his vast network built up over many years of top level engagement to do this. It is with regret that we note that in July 2014 it will be time for him to move on to new challenges and therefore a vacancy for the CEO position will arise.

UbuntuNet Alliance is inviting qualified and experienced person to apply for the post of Chief Executive Officer, which becomes vacant from July 2014. The Alliance, whose Head Office is based in Lilongwe, Malawi, is a regional not-for-profit organization covering Eastern and Southern Africa. Its core functions are to develop and provide affordable high speed connectivity among its member National Research and Education Networks and with the rest of the world; to develop and share the knowledge and skills of NREN ICT practitioners; and to lead in research aimed at improving networking infrastructure.

This is an excellent opportunity to work with a dynamic and practical organisation and to make a real difference in research and education networking. Applicants should provide details of all their qualifications, including university degrees as well as management and industry certifications. Closing date for receiving applications is 20th November 2013.Interested? Download the full vacancy here.

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