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Internet2 Engaging with the NREN Community in Ecuador

Dec 04, 2015, by Urszula Chomicka
Tags: International, International Community

This week, Ana Hunsinger and I had the extraordinary opportunity to attend, the third annual conference on ICT organized by the Ecuadorian NREN CEDIA. In the beautiful city of Loja, tucked away in the southern mountains of Ecuador, we participated in the event, which attracted more than 600 CEDIA staff, faculty, students and international speakers from the US, Canada, Spain and Portugal.

Ana opened the conference with an inspiring keynote speech about women in technology and the need for diversity. She walked the captive audience through her journey as a Latina woman in the world of IT and Communications, illustrating the main themes with images and photos that spoke to the listeners, and started a warm discussion about the challenges women face in IT.

As for me, I was able to present in Spanish about Internet2 – who we are as an organization – and our global programs, particularly our collaboration with countries in Latin America such as Ecuador. I thanked the audience – and CEDIA – for their warm welcome and for allowing me to practice Spanish… before a very important trip to meet my Spanish-speaking in-laws!

We were very warmly received by the hosts of the event, the rector and his staff from the Universidad Tecnologica Particular de Loja, who gave us a unique glimpse into the activities of the university, including an innovation incubator where students (and others from the surrounding areas) do fascinating work ranging from robotics to marketing a delicious soy milk with maracuya pulp beverage. And, what’s best, they are all connected by eduroam!

CEDIA was founded in 2002 in response to a need identified in Ecuador higher education and research for networking support. Less than 15 years later, CEDIA is a strong network with an enthusiastic staff, serving a growing community of members (35 and counting – universities, technology and research institutes), as well as supporting government ministries (i.e. Ministry of Health) and collaborating with international organizations such as COAR (Confederation of Open Access Repositories). The fiber optic ring CEDIA provides that connects 35 institutions is currently 1 Gbps, but will expand to 10 Gbps in 2016.

CEDIA has done amazing work in the past decade – as evidenced by their successful events – and we look forward to continuing this strengthened collaboration! We invite you to read more about the event on their website.