Bevil Wooding to receive Caribbean American Heritage Award



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High praise for NorthGate winners at Cubes in Space awards

NorthGate College Form 2 and 3 students, from left, Brian Ripoll, Charise Laveau, Zachary Joel, Chaela Wooding, Shanade Ali, Deron Khelawan, James Mohammed and Arendele Owen celebrate after receiving the Top Design Award in the Cubes in Space global competition in a formal ceremony held at the residence of the Canadian High Commissioner, Fairways, Maraval, on September 26. PHOTO: ANDRE ALEXANDER A former NASA astronaut, the Minister of Education and the Canadian High Commissioner were among several high-profile voices to praise Northgate College at the award ceremony for the global Cubes in Space programme.

Cubes in Space is an international contest in which teams of secondary school students compete by developing science, technology, engineering or mathematics-based (STEM) experiments for launch into space. NorthGate College’s T&T-based campus won the top prize for its experiment design.

Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh applauded the school’s students, teachers, principal and parents “for encouraging our students to move into the realm of STEM education”, adding that said STEM was also a strong point of focus for his ministry.

Seventeen NorthGate College students received awards personally handed out by the former US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut Dr Robert Crouch at the ceremony, which was hosted at the High Commissioner's residence in Fairways, Maraval on September 26.

“I understand that your design was quite spectacular,” High Commissioner Gérard Latullipe said. “To impress NASA astronauts really speaks volumes about your innovation.”

Each student got a signed lithograph from Crouch, who delivered the keynote address. The NASA scientist said the students’ experiment was “totally unique”. He commended them for doing the “the amount of hard work” needed to research and develop the idea behind the proposal, and lauded their persistence in designing and building the experiment, which was eventually submitted to NASA for space launch.

The experiment, which sought to measure how much electricity is generated by an object moving through the ionosphere, fit into a cube about the size of a baby's fist.

But NorthGate College Director Yolande La Pierre said the real value harvested from the exercise went far beyond the science experiment itself.

“The lasting lesson from Cubes in Space 2014 is the value of helping our children to be critical thinkers and to push past the boundaries of our geographic limitations. These children have become better students and indeed better persons as a result of the hard work, diligence and thoroughness they had to develop to emerge as winners and they did this as a team.”

Robert Sowah, founder of iDoodleSoftware, the Canadian company behind the global contest, congratulated La Pierre and her staff for distinguishing T&T among a field of global competitors, pointing out that NorthGate’s winning submission was “chosen from among hundreds around the world”.

The level of complexity in the experiment made it stand out from every other entry, said Chief Education Officer of idoodleSoftware, Amber Agee Dee-Hart, who founded the Cubes in Space initiative.

Dee-Hart showed the experiment to “several NASA scientists and they were blown away by the complexity of thought, the eloquence with which they spoke in the presentation video that they submitted.”

“It was quite exceptional,” she said.

The Cubes In Space program is a partnership between idoodlesoftware, Rubik Learning Initiative, the Colorado Space Grant Consortium’s RockSat-C program and is supported by the Sounding Rocket Program Office at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. Bevil Wooding, speaking on behalf of founder and chairman of NorthGate College Dr Noel Woodroffe, described NorthGate's achievement as "a testament to the potential that exists in all our young people".

"This is also a powerful reminder of the importance of providing our youth with leadership examples and a nurturing, values-based environment to inspire them to achieve their very best,” Wooding said. The prizegiving doubled as the global launch of the 2015 Cubes in Space programme, which targets 11- to 14-year-old students.

The award ceremony was held in conjunction with the launch of BrightPath Foundation’s TechLink, a science and technology education event, held on September 27 at the Cipriani College of Labour and Cooperative Studies, Valsayn.

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.

Nurturing Caribbean ingenuity: Technology Innovation Forum heads to St Vincent

Eastern Caribbean small-island developing states face the threats of rising crime, porous borders, climate change, the flight of intellectual capital and the dismantling of preferential trade arrangements for agricultural products, spurred by the contagion of the global financial crisis.

But if necessity is the mother of invention, then adversity seeds an abundance of human resourcefulness. Significant challenges have not prevented the sub-region’s governments from working together to equip their citizens to discover, create and exploit opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation.

OECS leaders, seeking to identify new sustainable models for development, have recognised that telecommunications technologies present new opportunities for fostering social and economic development. The governments of St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia and Grenada are finding new ways to harness the sub-region’s innate creativity and stimulate a culture of innovation through the application of appropriate technology to real-world problems.

On February 26th, stakeholders from various sectors of St Vincent and the Grenadines will gather for a national technology innovation workshop, as part of the ongoing Caribbean Communications Infrastructure Programme (CARCIP), coordinated regionally by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU). Roxanne John, based in the Ministry of Telecommunications, Science and Technology, is coordinating CARCIP in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“We are very proud to host this Innovation Workshop and look forward to discovering new ways to apply technology to everyday challenges,” John said.

The workshop is the second in a regional series. On February 10th, St Lucia held the first workshop, coordinated by its Ministry of the Public Service, Information and Broadcasting. The inaugural event brought together some of the region’s leading minds in the fields of entrepreneurship, information and communications technology, leadership development and innovation.

Through CARCIP, the governments of the three countries have been working toward harmonising the development of their telecommunications infrastructure to maximise synergies and avoid inefficiencies. CARCIP addresses gaps in submarine cable infrastructure and landing stations, domestic backbone networks and national Internet exchange points (IXPs).

CTU Project Coordinator Junior McIntyre described the scope of the overall CARCIP project as “comprehensive”.

"The ultimate aim of CARCIP is to improve the efficiency of telecommunications infrastructure development not just in St Vincent but across the whole Caribbean. The lessons we learn in St Vincent will benefit the entire region,” McIntyre said.

The World bank-funded programme was allocated a total disbursement of US$25 million, including loans to the three countries and a grant to the CTU. In recognition of the critical requirement to promote innovation in Caribbean societies, the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank is working along with the CTU and other stakeholders within the Caribbean region to support a regional approach towards technology-driven innovation.

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.

TTEITI to host open data workshop on oil and gas revenues

Software developers, journalists and innovators with an interest in technology and transparency will benefit from a one-day open data workshop to be held Thursday.

The event, hosted by the the Trinidad and Tobago Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TTEITI), will use data published in the first TTEITI report, published on September 30.

The report contains details about the way the energy sector operates, and reveals for the first time the individual payments made by oil and gas companies—both private and state—to the Government on an annual basis.“

The special open data workshop will guide participants in building web and mobile applications, generating custom reports and building data visualisations. It will be facilitated by international technology expert Bevil Wooding,” said Mark Regis, head of the TTEITI secretariat.

“Open Data is an approach to promote the ideal that certain data should be freely available in formats that allow anyone to use and republish as they wish, without restriction. In this workshop, we’ll be discussing the benefits of open data in improving transparency and accountability in governance.”

The data produced from the TTEITI’s first report will be made available in an open format and will be used to demonstrate some practical ways to extract valuable information from open data sources,” said Wooding, Chief Knowledge Officer of Congress WBN and founder of the BrightPath Foundation.

Trinidad and Tobago was the first country to release a mobile app as part of the publication of the internationally accessible report.

The Trinidad and Tobago Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative is an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded program.

The Open Data workshop is part of TTEITI’s roadshow designed to share the contents on the first report with the general public.It will be held at the Kapok Hotel, Port of Spain from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Copies of the report can be downloaded from the TTEITI Web site or via the TTEITI mobile application available in the Google Play store.