The Power of Connection: Latin American National Research and Education Networks (NRENs)

National research and education network (NREN) organisations are specialised internet service providers dedicated to supporting the ICT needs of the research and education communities within their country. OEB20 speaker and Executive Director of RedCLARA, Luis Eliécer Cadenas, highlights the role of successful, interconnected NRENs that are serving their constituents.

RedCLARA is the Latin American space for collaboration and development in education, science, and innovation. Since 2004, RedCLARA provides regional interconnection and connection to the world. We do so via the pan-European advanced network GÉANT, via the US network Internet2 and via Africa’s advanced networks (UbuntuNet Alliance, WACREN, ASREN) and those of Asia (APAN, TEIN, CAREN) and Oceania (AARNET) too. RedCLARA has formed the largest academic community in Latin America, actively connecting international peers working on a wide range of projects.

RedCLARA’s member networks are our richness, our heart, and our motor. We interconnect the NRENs of Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Uruguay. And in turn, we connect these academic networks to those from all over the world. It is our aim to improve the development of science and academia across borders and to generate capabilities for intra-regional and transcontinental research. Above all, RedCLARA works tirelessly to connect all countries in the region.

NRENs are of crucial importance to provide critical communication infrastructures for universities and research institutes. Such a global interconnected network supports and develops capacity of all its members. Today, one example is the coordinated action of Latin American NRENs and RedCLARA in response to needs of stakeholders and national health authorities in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The capacity of our networks has supported universities and research centres that are playing a vital role in combating the virus.

There is only one way forward to foster the development of science and education within our complex and diverse region. At RedCLARA we know that we can overcome societal problems and crises through better collaboration. The pandemic has put an immense stress on our universities, schools and education centres, not only in Latin America. We all needed to rapidly pivot to online learning and were forced to face and manage unknown scenarios and even the risk of system-wide failure, for instance due to connectivity issues in neighbourhoods, cities & regions.

Through closer collaboration across countries and institutions we are able to empower and support our universities and research centres. We are looking forward to strengthening bonds, building new relations, liaising and sharing visions and strategies to do so even better and even more closely, with others at OEB.

Written for OEB20 by Luis Eliécer Cadenas , Executive Director of the Cooperación Latinoamericana de Redes Avanzadas (RedCLARA)

One Response

  1. Paul Bacsich

    Will be very interested to hear more about the value of Latin American National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in the schools (K-12) and vocational education situations where connectivity issues are often a problem.

    Reply

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