In order that RedCLARA become a reality that benefits the Latin American Academy and Science, many people and actions had to be articulated. Using the links in this section, we invite you to learn about the history of RedCLARA.
With the objective of analysing the possibilities for direct interconnection between the pan-European research network GÉANT, and its national counterparts in Latin America, the year 2002 witnessed the birth of the union between the national research and education networks (NREN) from Portugal and Spain (FCCN and RedIRIS, respectively) and DANTE to work on the development of a feasibility study called CAESAR (Connecting All European and South (Latin) American Researchers).
Funded by the European Commission though the Directorate General for Information Society Technologies (EC DG IST), CAESAR was developed between March and October 2002. Only eight months were necessary for the vision to be absolutely clear: it was essential to create a regional core network in Latin America and link it to GÉANT.
During the first CAESAR meeting, held on 1 March 2002 in Madrid, none of the representatives from
FCCN, RedIRIS and DANTE could imagine what would happen only a few months later; we are talking about the Toledo Workshop, held on 13-14 June at the Castilla-La Mancha University (Toledo, Spain), with the financial support of RedIRIS.
The Toledo Workshop gathered and joined together 15 senior representatives from organisations devoted to the development of research and education networks (or other related networks) in twelve Latin American countries, as well as representatives from the Policies Commission of the European NREN, from DANTE and delegates from the European Commission, to discuss around the issue of continental interconnection. Only two days were necessary to produce what seemed a long-term dream: the representatives from the Latin American networks committed themselves to collaborate in the creation and organisation of a regional infrastructure for research, education and innovation.
The initial impact of this Workshop did not dissolve over time. Quite on the contrary, only two weeks after Toledo, the Latin American networks organised their own association, CLARA (Latin American Cooperation of Advanced Networks) and, joined under this new figure and only one month after the workshop which had motivated their illusions they met up in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) on 15-.16 July in order to further the agreements adopted as part of the Toledo meeting. Such was the progress made that on 16 July, the networks participating in that meeting and which had not participated in the June meeting but already part of CLARA, also adhered to “Toledo Declaration”:
On Research and Education Networks in Latin America
“Gathered in the city of Toledo, on the 13th and 14th of June, 2002, as part of a European Commission initiative, the signatories, members of networks from Latin America, acknowledge:
"1. The importance for the Latin American academic and research community of having a regional structure for data communication, based on advanced networks which allow for a better collaboration in the academic and research field.
"2. The efforts made by the European Commission for the development of Global Information Society project, where the academic space is regarded in a special way.
"3. That it is necessary to make a similar effort for integration, not only in our respective countries, but at a regional and global level.
"Because o the aforementioned statements we declare:
"1. That the existence of national research and education networks (NREN) is necessary.
"2. That it is desirable to establish a Latin American research network, based on the existing networks in various countries.
"3. That we agree on collaborating in the development of national networks in those countries where there are no such networks, and in the creation of a space for coordination their coordinated regional integration and development.
"4. That considering the possibility of obtaining funding from the European Commission through @LIS, it is necessary to coordinate efforts in terms of the interconnection of research and education networks, and to propose for this aim the creation of a Latin American regional coordination group. To this end we appoint Nelson Simões (Brazil) and Sidia Sánchez (Panama).
"5. That previous to the next workshop that the European Union proposes to organise with members from the Latin American networks in September, the Toledo representatives agree to hold two regional meetings to establish organisation criteria for the Latin American network. The first of these meetings will be held in Brazil, on 15 July 2002, and the second one a month later.”
Apart from the signing of the Declaration, the meeting in Rio de Janeiro featured the establishment of work groups to address the themes related to the future presentation of the project of the Latin American network and its interconnection with Europe for the European Commission’s @LIS Programme (Alliance for Information Society). These
June 3rd, 2003: The ALICE (Latin America Interconnected with Europe) project, is officially launched, an indisputably demonstrating that the mission developed by CAESAR had been accomplished.
June 3rd was a Tuesday in which the officers from the European Commission and the representatives from DANTE gathered, as part of the @LIS programme, to sing the contract that, with €12.5 million, would serve for the creation of an infrastructure which promised to connect the Latin American research networks at an intra-regional level, and interconnect them with the pan-European network GÉANT. The European Commission was thus giving its final approval to 80% of the funding for the ALICE project (€10 million), committing the Latin American partners to contribute with the remaining 20% (€2,5 million). And the world could see how the declaration made by the Heads of State and Government during the last Summit between the European Union and countries from Latin America and the Caribbean (Madrid, June 2002) became a reality: “Scientific research and technical development are key elements in our relations and are an essential condition for the successful incorporation of countries into a globalised world. It is advisable to share the knowledge, the technology and the information by taking advantage of the infrastructure’s connectivity and by fostering the achievement of universal access”.
The signature of the ALICE contract also represented the first definite step towards the establishment of a wider collaboration for the development of the World Research and Education Network, exactly as proposed in the European Commission’s Communication on the UN World Summit on the Information Society, which would take place in Geneva in December 2003.
@LIS Programme - logoALICE, was trying to create a research networks infrastructure in Latin America and interconnect it with its European counterpart GÉANT through the Internet protocol (IP). In order to achieve this great objective, DANTE –institution in charge of GÉANT’s management- as part of its role as ALICE project coordinator, associated in Europe with NREN from Spain (RedIRIS), France (RENATER), Italy (GARR) and Portugal (FCCN). On the other side of the Atlantic, in the heart of a Latin America that was about to experience the wonders of transoceanic connection, ALICE associated with CLARA and with the NREN from the 18 countries whose participation was admitted by the regulations of the @LIS programme: RETINA (Argentina), ADSIB (Bolivia), RNP (Brazil), REUNA (Chile), University of the Cauca (Colombia), CRnet (Costa Rica), RedUniv (Cuba), CEDIA (Ecuador), RAICES (El Salvador), RAGIE (Guatemala), UNITEC (Honduras), CUDI (Mexico), CNU on behalf of RENIA (Nicaragua), RedCyT (Panama), ARANDU (Paraguay), RAP (Peru), RAU (Uruguay) and REACCIUN (Venezuela).
If CAESAR had demonstrated that there was no direct connectivity between the Latin American NREN, even less a connection between them and the pan-European research network GÉANT, and that this lack made research collaboration difficult both within Latin America and between Latin America and Europe, ALICE would demonstrate that those issues could be overcome through collaborative work. To do this, it would have a time frame that extended until April 2006. Certainly, history would have something else to say in this respect and thus the Project obtained authorisation for two time extensions (the budget was maintained according to the contract from 3rd June 2003), and its completion was scheduled for March 2008.
Prior to the signature of the contract which established, within the context of the already established Information Society, the beginning of a new era for Latin America, the leaders from the existing Latin American NREN, and those who had been appointed in their countries to create them, held four meetings during the second half of 2002 aimed at the creation of CLARA: Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) 15-16 June and 25 September, Buenos Aires (Argentina) 10-11 October and Santiago (Chile) 18
-19 November. As could be expected given the evident commitment, the members from CAESAR and officers from the European Commission also participated in these meetings.
The agreements had to be established in accordance to the interests of all the parties involved. Nothing could be left up to fate. The future of collaboration in Latin America and between Latin America and Europe was the great bid that was being placed on the table.
On 10 June 2003, barely seven days after the official launch of the ALICE project, great news is launched from the Mexican city of Valle del Bravo towards Latin America, Europe and the rest of the world: CLARA has been born; the Constitution Act has been signed by the representatives from thirteen Latin American countries:
“ACT No.1. In the city of Valle de Bravo, State of México, in the United Mexican States, on the tenth of June two thousand three, the undersigned people gathered in a session chaired by Carlos Casasús López Hermosa, who certifies his personality with the Mexican passport number 00370039662, and where Ida Holz Bard acted as Secretary, certifying her personality with the Uruguayan identity document Nº 670.625-8, with the aim of founding a non profit, non governmental organisation which will be called: LATIN AMERICAN COOPERATION OF ADVANCED NETWORKS (CLARA) and whose Statutes, which were previously known by the attendees, and unanimously approved by those present, are transcribed below:
CONSTITUTION ACT OF
LATIN AMERICAN COOPERATION OF ADVANCED NETWORKS,
DENOMINATION, ADDRESS, NATIONALITY and DURATION
ARTICLE 1. Under the name of LATIN AMERICAN COOPERATION OF ADVANCED NETWORKS, known in abbreviated form as CLARA, we hereby create a Civil Association (henceforth, CLARA or the Association) which will be governed by the present Statutes and by the applicable laws and regulations, with seat in Montevideo, Uruguay. The Association will be able to open, when it finds it suitable, to open offices or any other sort of facilities in any other city in every country in order to meet its aim.
ARTICLE 2.- CLARA is a non profit organization which will be able to perceive income, which will be entirely applied to promote educational, scientific and cultural activities which constitute its aim.
ARTICLE 3.- The duration of the Association is indefinite.
ARTICLE 4.- The aim of the Association is: a) Coordination between National Academic Networks within Latin America and with other blocks; b) Cooperation for the promotion of scientific and technologic development; c) Planning and implementation of network services for regional interconnection, and d) Development of a regional network (henceforth Red CLARA) to interconnect national academic and research networks, and which will be operated by its Associates. In order to meet its objectives CLARA will be entitled to perform the following: a) To collect, via fees contributed by its Associates, the necessary resources for the operation of the network; b) To promote the integration of academic and research organizations and serve as a link for collaboration, exchange of experiences and information on these; c) To establish mechanisms for face-to-face or remote participation to have the active engagement of the aforementioned Associates; d) To develop all sorts of activities which are relevant or related to the development of academic and scientific networks in Latin America and the Caribbean; e) To acquire, build or possess all sorts of movable and immovable property and necessary rights in rem to meet its aim; f) To celebrate all the acts and contracts, execute the operations and provide the documents that are necessary for the fulfilment of its aim, all of these in compliance with these Statutes; g) Receive collaborations and donations to contribute to the fulfilment of its aim. Similarly, to look for funding from organism for scientific-technologic promotion and international technical cooperation; h) To organise meetings, forums, workshops, congresses and any other sort of event which serves to promote, at a regional level, the activities, projects and developments on academic and scientific networks and i) To keep and publish updated statistical information on the development of the Internet in the region, in the areas and themes which are part of its jurisdiction and knowledge.”
NOTE: These Statutes were abolished on June 29, 2011, when the current Statutes of the Corporation were signed.
Forty seven articles and four transitory dispositions, agreed upon on 9 June, were signed on that Wednesday 10 of the sixth month of 2003 by the highest authorities in academic networks which, on that date, were outlining the avant-garde path of the Latin American continent, namely:
- Carlos Francisco Frank, RETINA – Argentina.
- Nelson Simões Da Silva, RNP – Brazil.
- Florencio Utreras, REUNA – Chile.
- Guy F. De Teramond, CRNET - Costa Rica.
- Marcos Molina Jurado, FUNDACYT – Ecuador.
- Rafael Antonio Ibarra Fernández, RAICES - El Salvador.
- Ramón Alberto Sarmiento Castro, UNITEC – Honduras.
- Carlos Casasús López Hermosa, CUDI – Mexico.
- Azael Barrera Garrido, REDCYT – Panama.
- Blanca Troche de Trevisan, ARANDU – Paraguay.
- Manuel Burga, RAP – Peru.
- Ida Holz Baird, RAU – Uruguay.
- Jorge Luis Berrizbeitia Ponce, REACCIUN – Venezuela.
As part of the @LIS2 programme, on November 30th, 2008, the European Commission (EC) signed an €18 million contract with RedCLARA for the implementation of the ALICE2 project. The Project’s promise was that it would give continuity to the enormous achievements of its predecessor, ALICE (which had been led by DANTE, institution run by the pan-European network GÉANT), and would consolidate and expand RedCLARA in Latin America, improving connectivity between Latin American and European researchers.
To provide an enduring and front-line e-Infrastructure for collaborative research and education, and support Latin American development through them were the outstanding goals and the Project accomplished them.
ALICE2 would work on disseminating the potential of RedCLARA’s use for the creation and implementation of applications that have an impact on the region, thus helping to reach the goals agreed by Governments in the UN’s MDG Plan (Millennium Development Goals) and the goals of the EC’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
December 2008 marked the beginning of ALICE2 and although its completion date was scheduled for September 2012, the @LIS2 Programme granted an extension for the implementation to continue until January 2013.
The Project was coordinated by RedCLARA and its members were the National Research and Education Networks (NREN) from 14 Latin American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, all of them beneficiaries of @LIS2), 4 European countries (Spain, France, Italy and Portugal) and the international organisations RedCLARA and DANTE (non-profit organisation that works in association with European NRENs to plan, build and operate advanced research and education networks in Europe with joint funding from the EC).
On November 30th, 2008, ALICE2 committed itself to accomplish five outcomes:
2. A group of user communities (researchers, educators, students) who work together to solve MDG-related issues and who participate in the ALFA and FP7 calls.
3. A strong, well-managed, inclusive and sustainable organisation, with a clear funding model.
4. A network with vast coverage across the Latin American region, with strong links with the Caribbean.
5. A large group of technicians, managers and community leaders, with the skills to collaborate with their European counterparts and take advantage of funding opportunities.
These five outcomes would be materialised through the implementation of the actions aimed at reaching the Project’s goals, namely:
1. To sustain and further the development of RedCLARA’s infrastructure through the provision of a permanent, inclusive and persistent environment for electronic collaboration for research and education in Latin America, with an emphasis on supporting collaboration spaces for higher education and research between Latin America and Europe. This enhanced version of RedCLARA will be based on long-term (IRU: Indefeasible right of use) contracts for the use of dark fibre and wavelengths in order to ensure low recurrent costs.
2. To create user communities in order to ensure the use of RedCLARA in MDG-related applications, and promote collaboration within Latin America and with European researchers in FP7 priorities and strengthen collaboration with European initiatives such as the ESO Astronomical Observatories, the Pierre Augier Observatories and others.
3. To develop a funding model that provides stability and long-term sustainability for Latin American regional research and education networks. This model will be based on a stronger RedCLARA organisation, on a widely adopted cost-distribution system and on a solid financial administration.
4. To consolidate RedCLARA’s long-term existing geographical coverage and try to expand it in order to include developing research and education communities in Latin American countries, and continue contributing to the region’s digital inclusion through its research and education communities. To do this, the Project will attempt to engage all Latin American countries in the initiative and create synergies with NRENs, by creating a terrestrial communications infrastructure which can also be used locally to build or expand NRENs.
5. To strengthen NRENs and their user communities so they become active members of the community of world research and education networks, providing training and tools for their technical, administration and academic communities.
The Visibility goal, related to all dissemination actions of the Project’s activities, was naturally added to the goals above.
The goals were all accomplished.
The current Statutes of the Latin American Cooperation of Advanced Networks (Cooperación Latino Americana de Redes Avanzadas, RedCLARA) , were approved on June 29, 2011, by the Assembly. Before this date, the governing statutes were those signed along to the Constitutive Act in June 9, 2003, in Valle de Bravo (Mexico).
Statutes of the Latin American Cooperation of Advanced Networks (June 29, 2011; PDF format, in Spanish).