Donors and Collaborators
To recap: in a throwback to the ancient Great Silk Road that connects the two major continents, Asia and Europe, NATO has come up with the Virtual Silk Highway today. The Silk Road spanned 4,000 miles or 6,500 kilometres and reached across countries through Central Asia and Europe and, in fact, was one of the major reasons why civilisations in countries, such as China, India and Arabia developed rapidly during that period. The Virtual Silk Highway is aimed at improving the Internet connectivity for the Caucasian region and Central Asian region, and serve as a catalyst for the establishment of many knowledge societies within these regions.
The Fundamentals of the Project
The Virtual Silk Highway or the Silk Project is aimed at developing the academic and educational communities in its target countries. This project is implemented through the establishment of NRENs or National Research and Education Networks. A look at the list of the different NRENs all over the world yields an exhaustive list of localised or country-based networks. For instance, Asia Pacific has REANNZ for New Zealand and Uninet for Thailand. Latin America is served through CLARA and the European NREN works through something known as DANTE-GEANT2.
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The main focus of these different networks and many other similar
networks in the world is the enabling of communication to flow
freely among many researchers and educators, and the students all
over the country. With Internet connectivity at the helm of things,
this flow of communication becomes easy and instantaneous. It will
also help the country in question interact with similar communities
on an international platform. Among other services, the Silk Project
aims at delivering website hosting, connectivity and networking in
the concerned regions.
1. NATO Science Program – NATO came on board this
non-military project in a funding role in the year 2001 and has
since then established NRENs in many countries in Central Asia, and
is continuing to do so in many other regions as well. It is also
funding some workshops that are conducted across the globe to
further the establishment of such an NREN.
• United Nations Development Program or UNDP –
The UNDP project helped establish NREN in Bulgaria. There were
differing amounts allocated for the same. For instance, the revision
of the project saw a sum of $472,500 being set aside for the NREN
project in 2008. The UNDP has a broad range of activities, like
poverty, environment protection and HIV/ AIDS.
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