LACNIC honours Wooding with 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award

CAPTION: Bevil Wooding receives the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award while LACNIC Executive Director Raúl Echeberría looks on, at the international LACNIC 21 conference, held from May 4th to 9th in Cancun, Mexico. Photo courtesy: LACNIC

NEWS - The Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC) honoured Caribbean-based technology expert and philanthropist Bevil Wooding with its 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Wooding, who wears many hats in his work around the world, is the Chief Knowledge Officer at the international non-profit Congress WBN. He received the award at a special ceremony during the international LACNIC 21 conference, on May 8th in Cancun, Mexico.

Since 2009, LACNIC has presented the award to individuals who have a significant impact on the development of the Internet and the information society throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Wooding, an Internet Strategist and Caribbean Outreach Manager for the US-based research non-profit Packet Clearing House, is globally recognised for his tireless work in improving Internet access and resilience, particularly in developing countries.

Raúl Echeberría, executive director of LACNIC, lauded Wooding's work in the areas of improving Internet connectivity and building capacity in the region.

“His selection as the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Awardee was unanimous,” he said.

Echeberría, LACNIC's chief executive from its inception in Uruguay in 2002, singled out Wooding's work in strengthening Internet infrastructure, particularly in supporting the development of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in the Caribbean.

“Wooding has earned the trust and respect of the global community. The community values his dedication, his integrity and his consistency. It is clear his work is his life mission and the region has benefitted enormously as a result.”

He also praised Wooding for his role in designing and spearheading the Caribbean Telecommunications Union’s Caribbean ICT Roadshow, which promotes novel uses of technology across all sectors of society.

In the development of technology solutions and educational resources, Wooding’s involvement has been far-reaching. He is a founding member and chair of the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG), a volunteer group which provides a forum for the technical community to exchange ideas and experiences.

He is also founder and Executive Director of BrightPath Foundation, a non-profit organisation focused on technology education solutions for young people and communities across the world. The foundation provides youth-focused mobile app development and digital training programs. In 2012, BrightPath facilitated the development of the Caribbean Examination Council's first-ever digital media syllabus.

In thanking LACNIC for the award, Wooding said that he felt his work is far from done.

“There remain communities to empower, policies to develop, stakeholders to educate, IXPs to deploy, local content to create, and research to conduct on how the Internet and our actions are impacting our region. My commitment is to continue working and to continue believing in the power of the Internet as a driver for development and as a force for good."

His Technology Matters column appears in the weekly Business Guardian magazine.

Incubating the Caribbean: CTU brings CARCIP Innovation Workshop to Grenada

A series of workshops rolling out across the Caribbean is intended to spark and harness the power of Caribbean innovation as an engine for technology-enabled development and enterprise.

The workshop suite is part of a broader World Bank-funded initiative called CARCIP, the Caribbean Communications Infrastructure Program, which is coordinated by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU). The next CTU CARCIP Innovation workshop will take place in Grenada on March 24th and 25th.

Building on the foundation of upgraded critical Internet and telecommunications infrastructure, CARCIP aims to clear the path for local innovators and entrepreneurs to develop world-class, locally driven, technology-enabled services that address the needs of Grenada and the wider Caribbean. The thrust by CTU to accelerate Caribbean entrepreneurship through technology-driven innovation builds on the work of their Caribbean ICT Roadshow, which has been held 21 times in 18 Caribbean countries.

“The CTU has been the regional pioneer for initiatives designed to foster innovative and beneficial use of ICT in Caribbean countries for national and regional development,” said Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the CTU.

The underlying philosophy of the CTU’s engagement with the region through CARCIP, Lewis said, is that the very same conditions that present severe challenges for the region are also creating unique opportunities for the discerning and capable.

“As twentieth-century international relations frameworks are dismantled, the emerging economies of developing regions find themselves uniquely placed to take advantage of new rules of engagement,” she said.

In the case of Grenada, the CARCIP workshop is an opportunity to deepen the Government’s ongoing thrust to develop the country’s ICT sector.

“We are extremely proud to be the next host of the CTU’s CARCIP Innovation Workshops, and we look forward to discovering new ways to apply technology to everyday challenges,” said Jacinta Joseph, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication, Works, Public Utilities, Physical Development and ICT, Grenada.

The CTU has established a record of bringing substantial value to Caribbean governments and citizens through aggressive regional public education activities. The two-day Grenada workshop will bring together local professionals in the field of telecommunications and regional experts in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), entrepreneurship, leadership development and innovation.

Bevil Wooding, Internet Strategist with U.S.-based non-profit, Packet Clearing House, is the lead facilitator.

“Caribbean problems are real but those problems have real solutions. Caribbean innovators must respond to our challenges by using and creating technology to discover and design relevant solutions,” said Wooding.

Against the backdrop of global economic uncertainty, the Caribbean now faces serious challenges, such as its outmoded physical and institutional infrastructure, diminishing global competitiveness and the hemorrhaging of its qualified human resource and the climate change, flight of intellectual capacity and the dismantling of preferential trade arrangements for agricultural products.

In response, the regional programme aims to improve the efficiency of telecommunications infrastructure development in the Eastern Caribbean and ultimately, throughout the wider Caribbean. Through the World Bank’s International Development Association, CARCIP was allocated a total disbursement of US$25 million, including loans to the three countries and a grant to the CTU.

CARCIP is a partnership between the World Bank and the governments of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and Grenada, alongside regional organisations such as the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) and the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN), all under the coordination of the CTU.

The Grenada workshop will be the third in the ongoing series. Among the workshop presenters are Dr Farid Youssef, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine; and Norman Gibson, an expert in rural development and environmental management in the Caribbean region.

The first CTU CARCIP Innovation Workshop was held at the Bay Gardens Resort, Gros Islet, Saint Lucia on February 10 and 11, while the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines event was held at the Buccament Bay resort on February 26 and 27.

Wooding receives LACNIC lifetime achievement award

The Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC) has announced that Trinidad-born technology expert Bevil Wooding is the 2013 recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Established in 2009, the LACNIC award honours people who have contributed significantly to the development of the Internet and the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“It’s an honour to receive this prestigious award from LACNIC. This was completely unexpected. This recognition strengthens my resolve to continue working to ensure that our people, institutions and governments are fully empowered to use technology for the development of our region,” Wooding said.

A pioneer in the development of technology solutions and educational resources, Wooding wears many hats in his work across the region and around the world. As an Internet Strategist and Caribbean Outreach Manger for the US-based research non-profit, Packet Clearing House, he has been the leading advocate for the proliferation of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in the Caribbean. His efforts have led to the establishment of IXPs in Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica and Barbados.

He is also the Chief Knowledge Officer at the international non-profit Congress WBN where he has pioneered the development of Internet streaming and software applications now used across the world. He has also worked with the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) to develop the Caribbean’s first-ever Digital Media syllabus.

In addition, he is one of the co-architects and the Program Director of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union's Caribbean ICT Roadshow. The Roadshow has helped emphasise issues ranging from Internet infrastructure and broadband access in the Caribbean to cybersecurity and the impact of social media on parenting and education.

Reflecting on the award, Wooding said, "In spite of the many challenges, I am convinced that the Caribbean and Latin America has the creativity, and the capacity to make a meaningful and significant impact on the Internet and on global society."

A virtual technology ambassador, Wooding regularly represents the interests of the region at international fora. He has also come in for wide praise for his innovative initiatives to introduce young people to digital content creation through his BrightPath Foundation, a technology education non-profit.

“His efforts have been distinguished by a deliberate commitment to collaboration and an emphasis on linking building regional communities,” said Bernadette Lewis, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union.

Lewis sat on the panel of judges for the award, alongside noted Internet experts such as Ida Holz, Rafael Ibarra, Carlos A. Afonso and Rodrigo de la Parra.

Wooding is a founding member of the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG). Through his contribution as Program Director, CaribNOG has become a dedicated community of computer network operators and technical stakeholders. The volunteer based group now provides a unique regional forum for sharing technical experiences and building human resource capacity.

“It is an honour to have the support and friendship of so many incredibly talented and extremely committed individuals and organisations from the region and across the world," Wooding said.

Where Dreams Take Flight: Curacao plans for space travel in 2014

Commercial space travel could come to Curacao as early as 2014.

Curacao Airport Holding managing director Maurice Adriaens announced the projected launch date for the ambitious project, during his presentation at the Caribbean ICT Roadshow, which took place at the Curacao World Trade Centre from September 9-10.

 The island of Curacao is tipped to host SXC’s second launchpad, the first being located in an Air and Space Port in the Mojave desert, United States. Spaceflight participants will be launched from the Curacao spaceport into suborbital space above the surface of the Earth and then safely looped back to Earth, according to an online promotional video on the Space Expedition Corporation (SXC) official Web site.

 Addressing a multi-stakeholder audience on the second day of the Roadshow, Adriaens’ presentation highlighted the downstream economic benefits that would flow from the development of an indigenous commercial human spaceflight industry. The prospect of transitioning the island’s economy from traditional tourism to space tourism generated great interest in the room and amongst the foreigners represented at the regional gathering.

“It’s a good dream, isn’t it?” he asked. “So…who wants to be a Curanaut?”

Adriaens was among a number of local and international presenters from a range of backgrounds demonstrated the potential of ICT to impact e-health, e-learning, e-commerce, cyber security, telecommunication, and youth.

The spaceflight presentation was part of the CTU’s emphasis on technological innovation as an engine for Caribbean development. Organised by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), the Caribbean ICT Roadshow is now into its third year, having visited 17 countries across the region.

According to CTU secretary general Bernadette Lewis, the programme is “designed to foster a spirit of innovation in the adoption of ICT-based practical solutions to development challenges”.