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  International Activities - Fall 2005  

Progress and Challenges in Building National Research and Education Networks In Africa : A View from the Field

Organized by Internet2 in collaboration with The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, Canada 's International Development Research Centre, the Network Startup Resource Center at the University of Oregon

Special Thanks to the following organizations for their support of this meeting!
Microsoft Research for their financial support.
The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa and Canada's International Development Research Center (IDRC) and the EUMEDCONNECT for supporting African participants' travel to the meeting.



Sunday, 18 September 2005
8:30AM - 5:30PM


Philadelphia PA
Wyndham Philadelphia at Franklin Plaza - Philadelphia North
Details on hotel and lodging are here:


Rationale: Knowledge production is a collaborative endeavor and relies upon active and open communication across knowledge producers. Today's technological environment enables knowledge producers to share information and ideas more easily, but only if the technology is available to them. Education and research institutions in Africa are grappling with the challenge of access, from the institutional through to the continental levels. Considerable progress has been achieved in some cases, particularly at the institutional level, with a number of universities across the continent now on line. A few countries, primarily in North Africa as well as South Africa and Kenya, have established effective national research and education networks; other networks, such as in Malawi and Nigeria, are emerging in various forms. Regional initiatives are still in their infancy, with a number of plans being discussed at different forums. Notably, NEPAD has made regional networking a priority, albeit not with academic networking explicitly in mind.

Still, significant challenges remain, from ensuring that universities and other educational and research institutions have functioning institutional networks, to closing gaps in national infrastructure and policy environments, to linking national research and education networks to one another and to the rest of the world. Overlaying these challenges is the large task of building sufficient human capacity to construct and manage networks at all levels and to design and implement conducive policies.

This workshop builds on three previous gatherings—the General Conference of the Association of African Universities, held in Cape Town in March 2005; the session on Enhancing Research and Education Network Connectivity to and Within Africa held at the Internet2 Member Meeting in Arlington in May 2005; and the Africa Connectivity and Open Access Conference, held in Maputo in May 2005—and will provide input for two more—the CERN workshop in Geneva in late September and the World Summit of the Information Society in Tunis in November. It will assess both the progress to date and the challenges that remain. Comparative perspectives across African countries and across continents where new networks are forming will be featured. Efforts will be made to craft an agenda for future action.

Objectives: 1) To acquaint Internet2 members and representatives from interested North American and other agencies with the status and future prospects of research and education networking in Africa; 2) To offer an opportunity to African research and education networking professionals to share experiences with peers from other continents, broaden their network of contacts, and participate in sessions held at the Internet2 members meeting; 3) To further develop an agenda for action, begun at the AAU conference in Cape Town with continued development in Arlington and Maputo, in support of the establishment and strengthening of national research and education networks in Africa, including exploring ways to coordinate existing initiatives and to identify productive roles for interested individuals and agencies that can provide technical, human, or financial resources.

Primary audience: Internet2 members and representatives from North American and other agencies that can bring technical, human, or financial resources to bear on NREN development in Africa.

Format: Roundtable consisting of ten to twelve African participants involved in research and education networking and three to four participants from national or regional networks in other continents. Sessions will be organized by level of networking (institutional, national, regional), with the themes of physical infrastructure, human capacity, and the policy/regulatory environment addressed at each level. Roundtable participants will remain the same throughout the day. For each session, a subset of the participants will make short (10-minute) presentations on the topic. Other participants will then be invited to comment, after which the audience will be engaged.


The meeting is open to interested individuals. VIEW ROSTER


Click Here To Register


A preliminary agenda with topics and speakers is available please click here.

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