Two decades ago, a group of professors from the Universidad de los Andes in Merida, Venezuela, faced the challenge of developing in our university the technology of computer networks that were poised to have a major impact in many areas, particularly in education, research and human development.

We were convinced from the beginning that the main constraints faced were not about hardware, software, or economic limitations, but rather the lack of human resources with the knowledge necessary to implement these new technologies.

We then began training a select group of students at our institution who showed great enthusiasm and dedication, but we soon realized that it was necessary to engage international experts if we wanted to advance towards our goals. The issue was how to obtain the support of international experts without any budget.

The solution was a bold initiative to convene, in a provincial university, a "Latin American School of Networks", following the steps of the "First International School on Computer Networks Analysis and Management" held in 1990 at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy.

At the time, our only capital was a great enthusiasm and the certainty that other countries in the region also had the need to train staff in these areas. With these initial assets we obtained support from ICTP, the OAS, the authorities from our university, Fundacite-Mérida and private organizations. This suport allowed us to assemble, in November 1992, a group of 14 international experts that shared their knowledge with 45 participants from 10 Latin American countries during 3 weeks of classroom and field training covering the state of the art of information and communication technologies.

The success of this activity paved the way to persevere in the task of spreading the technologies that, without doubt, have had the greatest impact on the development of our countries. Moreover, the event promoted lively exchanges among people interested in the application of these technologies in their specific milieus.

The format of three weeks has been transformed into one of a week, but with several concurrent workshops in which specific technologies are discussed in depth while retaining the theoretical and practical orientation.
We are in 2012, the year of our twentieth anniversary. It is particularly significant to be hosted by Panamá, a thriving city which is the crossroad of Latin American countries.


International Sponsors


Thanks to
We express our special gratitude to the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the support granted to WALC and EsLaRed through the Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC).