Cairo – Chaired by HE Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh and hosted by the Egyptian Academy for Scientific Research and Technology (ASRT), the Arab States Research and education Network (ASREN) has successfully conducted its 12th annual conference (e-AGE22) in the Conrad Cairo Hotel, during the period:13-14 December 2022.
e-AGE22 provided a window for global collaboration, by gathering more than 50 distinguished speakers and experts from across the research, education and science communities around the world, and more than 120 on-site and online participants from over 40 countries.
e-AGE22 activities concentrated on “Science Cooperation - Taking NRENs Further” as the main theme, featuring 2 days of presentations and discussions spread over 6 sessions on topics related to Enabling Cooperation, NRENs developments and challenges, National, Regional and Global Science Cooperation, Open Science, Open Access and Clouds.
e-AGE22 also presented the efforts and the contribution of NRENs for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through connectivity and dedicated services to R&E communities and beyond, as well as the vital nature of RENs to Climate Action, Earth Observation and more.
The e-AGE22 opening session was attended by a large number of high-level officials and representatives including; Prof. Mahmoud Sakr, President of Academy of Scientific Research and Technology in Egypt, Dr. Farrag Al-Ajami, Minister Plenipotentiary of the League of Arab States, Prof. Basri Saleh, Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Palestine, Prof. Moncef Boukthir, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Tunisia, represented by Prof. Saoussen Krichen, Director General at CCK, Ambassador Christian Berger, Head of the European Union Delegation to Egypt, HE Prof. Abdelmajid Benamara, Secretary General at the Federation of Arab Scientific Research Councils (FASRC) in Sudan, Dr. Nuria Sanz, UNESCO CAIRO Office Director and UNESCO Representative to Egypt.
HE Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman of ASREN and TAG.GLOBAL emphasized the importance of advancing Arab e-Infrastructure towards enhancing education, science and technology as well as developing innovation capacity and the importance of collaboration of research and education leaders across the Arab region and beyond. “In the Arab region, we are proud of the recent development in the field of research and education networks and the services provided in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Somalia, Sudan, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. As we believe in cooperation and joint teamwork, all our work and activities stem from partnership, whether with Arab national, regional and international institutions and organizations, especially Arab NRENs in those countries.” Dr. Abu Ghazaleh said.
He further acknowledged the role of the European Union in co-funding high-speed networks in the Arab region in the context of EUMEDCONNECT projects for more than 15 years; and AfricaConnect projects for 12 years- still continuing.
The high-level opening featured goodwill messages from Regional Research and Education Networks around the globe including; WACREN for West and Central Africa, Ubuntunet Alliance for Eastern and Southern Africa, the European GÉANT Network, Internet2 in the United States and TEIN*CC emphasizing the necessity of cooperation at the global level to support and facilitate research, education and science collaboration globally.
A number of achievement have been witnessed, including; the announcement of the new “MEDUSA” project with a €40 million EU grant to secure direct high-speed connectivity of 200 Gbps between the research and education communities and users in the North African countries and Europe for 20 years.
In the meantime, e-AGE22 has celebrated the signing of cooperation agreements with the Egyptian Academy for Scientific Research and Technology (ASRT) and the Federation of Arab Scientific Research Councils (FASRC) and the coming agreement with UNESCO with an aim of uniting efforts among Arab countries in promoting and enabling scientific, research, educational and academic cooperation.
ASREN also celebrated the signing of the agreement with LA Referencia/ RedCLARA to further Open Access and Open Science in the Arab region and Africa; and it celebrated the cooperation declaration with the European GÉANT and the Latin American RedCLARA into supporting the international Group on Earth Observation towards integrating scientific collaboration across the three continents.
The opening session was concluded with a keynote presentation from the Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) demonstrating the importance of the international dedicated link provided by ASREN, which contributes directly to the success of SESAME and empowering its user communities from all over the world.
At the end, the Tunisian Computing Center al Khawarizmi (CCK) was officially announced as the host of the next e-AGE23 in the wonderful Tunisia in December 2023.