EU committed to building connectivity with Asia: envoy

Published: July 9, 2019
EU Ambassador Jean-Francois Cautain speaks at Asi@Connect launch. PHOTO: APP

EU Ambassador Jean-Francois Cautain speaks at Asi@Connect launch. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: The European Union (EU) is committed to building result-oriented connectivity with Asia including Pakistan, EU Ambassador Jean-Francois Cautain said on Monday.

“Asi@Connect will help bridge digital divide between Europe and Asia-Pacific,” he said at the launch of the high-capacity internet service for research and education.

Asi@Connect was launched by Higher Education Commission (HEC) in collaboration with the European Union and Trans Eurasia Information Network*Cooperation Centre (TEIN*CC).

The project aims at bridging the digital divide across Asia Pacific by developing a dedicated regional high-capacity Trans Eurasia Information Network for research and higher education, and leveraging the e-infrastructure developed for public service projects.

Asi@Connect provides dedicated high-capacity internet connectivity for research and education communities across Asia-Pacific, operating at speeds of up to 10 Gbps, which currently interconnects universities and research centres in 23 countries across the region.

It also connects 50 million European researchers and academics served by GÉANT network (Pan European Data Network for R&E Community) and supports collaborative programmes in areas such as earth observation, disaster warning, climate research, food security, delivery of e-health and e-learning.

New chapter of Pak-EU cooperation opens

The ceremony was graced by Jean-Francois Cautain, Ambassador of European Union to Pakistan as chief guest and Wajiha Akram, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training as guest of honour. Dr Tariq Banuri, Chairman HEC, Lt Gen (Retd) Muhammad Asghar, Executive Director HEC, Yong Hwan Chung, President TEIN*CC and a large number of professionals and academics were also present on the occasion.

Wajiha Akram said: “Despite financial constraints, I strongly believe that the Pakistani nation is resilient and will bounce back to glory.”

Dr Banuri underlined that the globally connected world has brought about great opportunities which could not be dreamt of in the past.

“PERN has made it possible to have 24-hour connectivity for education and research purposes,” he said adding that the Digital Library project provides researchers with online access to research database.

He informed the audience that HEC plans to initiate National Challenge Fund and Local Challenge Fund in collaboration with the World Bank.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2019.

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