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Lebanon Joins Global Research and Education Networking Community

Building on an on-going  dialogue among the Lebanese Ministry of Education and the Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research CNRST, GEANT Association, and the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN), the American University of Beirut (AUB) has signed a cooperation agreement to link its ICT infrastructure to the Europen GEANT, the US Internet2, and other world advanced research and education networks. With support from GÉANT and ASREN, AUB has allocated 10 Mbps of its existing Internet bandwidth to a dedicated link to interconnect with GÉANT via ASREN PoP in London. The link allows AUB to integrate seamlessly with advanced computing facilities, resources, and repositories available in many advanced research institutions across the globe.

“With AUB linkage, the cornerstone of developing the Lebanese National Research and Education Network connecting all Lebanese Universities through a dedicated network at the national level in between them and to the Arab, European, American and the world research and education networks. This will support advancing research, improving education, accelerating progress, providing hope, and enabling better opportunities for the young scientists in Lebanon’ Said Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman of ASREN.

The setup of AUB link will serve as a nexus for the development of a Lebanese Research  and Education Network based on the European best practice NREN model and on the examples of the National Research and Education Networks already implemented in many Euro-Mediterranean countries.

In welcoming the connection to ​​​GÉANT, Steve Cotter, CEO GÉANT, commented:

“The American University of Beirut and other Lebanese institutions have a long history of academic and scientific excellence. The connection to GÉANT will open up further opportunities for their researchers and students to engage in exciting international collaborations with their peers in Europe, and allow​​​​​ Lebanon to be an active partner in the EUMEDCONNECT3 project in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

This step accelerated efforts to set up an NREN in Lebanon. Discussions are underway between AUB and 10 universities and research centers across Lebanon to formally establish LERN (Lebanese Education and Research Network).

Value-added services like eduroam, the secure, world-wide roaming access service, have been a key in the benefit debate about LERN.

”It can be challenging to convince institutions in Lebanon about the value of an NREN, especially when the infrastructure, tariffs and political climate are all but favorable,” explained Yousif Asfour, CIO at AUB.

"But by moving the NREN discussion away from how can we build a fast and cheap network,” he continued, “it opens the doors to putting the focus on providing shared services to build a community and then using this community as leverage to build the high bandwidth. The implementation of eduroam at AUB has delivered a key argument to secure a critical mass of support.”

To accelerate the process of formalizing LERN, AUB intends to open the current connection to other Lebanese institutions and to jointly take up additional services such as eduGAIN (interfederation). The current link capacity is therefore expected to be increased in the near future. 

Background 

Lebanon is a partner in the EU co-funded EUMEDCONNECT3 project which aims to connect Eastern Mediterranean countries to GÉANT, providing a gateway for international R&E collaborations.

GÉANT partners up with regional networking organization the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN)   to support the creation of regional networks in the Eastern Mediterranean (through the EUMEDCONNECT3 program) and North Africa (through the AfricaConnect2 project) and their interconnection with the pan-European GÉANT network. 

To learn more about eduroam and other services provides by GÉANT, visit www.geant.org/Services

For more information about AUB visit www.aub.edu.lb