Catalyzing the growth of the Kenya tech community

Fire Side Chat with Dr. Vinton G. Cerf

By Leo Mutuku
iHub
  Published 30 Sep 2011
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Fire Side Chat with Dr. Vinton G. Cerf

As the Internet Governance Forum 2011 week here in Kenya culminates, the iHub was privileged enough to host the Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist of Google , Dr. Vint Cerf for a fireside chat. This fire side chat was part of an all-afternoon interactive session with different panels themed Synergistic Communities.

The Session began with some opening remarks by Erik Hersman. Jessica Colaco, the moderator of the sessions, then explained the idea of synergistic communities. Synergistic Communities is mainly about bringing together communities and networks with different backgrounds to work together in synergy and promote innovation and cooperation. It was thought to be a fitting theme for this IGF week as the Internet is one of the largest promoters of synergy within different networks.

In line with Synergistic Communities, the first panel was diverse, consisting of Vinton Cerf, Adel El Zaim of IDRC, Cairo and Engineer James Rege, Member of Parliament, Kenya and chair of the Parliamentary Energy, Transport, Information, Communication and Public Works committee. After a brief introduction by each member of the panel the floor was opened for a Q&A on the Internet, Technological advancements and Youth Innovation. A few questions were asked based on cloud computing, and general ownership and governance of the internet space which the panel endeavored to answer accordingly.

This session, which lasted about an hour, was soon followed by another interactive session on ‘African Internet Oldies: Sharing with the Young community’ with a different panel this time round. The panel was made up of Stefano Trumpy of ISOC Italy, Adriana Lazzaroni of Institute for Informatics and Telematics, Italy, George Sadosky and Laura Abba of the RINAF project. They were also joined by Vint Cerf. The panel shared on their experience during the genesis and implementation of the Internet in Africa and, in particular, Kenya. This was through the RINAF project in partnership with UNESCO and the setting up of the framework and implementation took place between 1991-1998. This panel also welcomed questions from the community on the genesis of the Internet in Kenya and if the structure they laid down has since changed.

After a short tea break, the Fire Side Chat began where Dr. Vint Cerf chronicled the story of the internet, from conception up to now, 30 years later and gave a humorous account of his involvement in its evolution and growth as a founding father and evangelist. As a sign of appreciation for gracing the event and his efforts in technology, the iHub community gifted him with a spear and shield. We are glad to have met and interacted with such a great visionary.

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