Nepal Research and Education Network (NREN) hosted the 55th Asia Pacific Advanced Network Meeting (APAN55) in Kathmandu from March 13-17, 2023. The first-ever APAN meeting in Nepal was participated more than 450 participants from various sectors, including researchers, scientists, policymakers, network professionals, telehealth practitioners, and experts from the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
The five-day meeting was inaugurated by Mrs. Rekha Sharma, honorable Minister of Communication and Information Technology, who emphasized the need for advanced networks and digital technologies in today’s digitalized world. The minister also highlighted the importance of research for the country and the role of research and education networks. She spoke about the Digital Nepal Framework through which Nepal’s government aims to harness the benefits of ICTs for major development and service sectors.
The keynote theme for APAN55 was the intersection of climate change impacts and technology, with a focus on the potential for advanced networks to address these challenges. The first opening keynote was presented by Dr. Arun Bhakta Shrestha of ICIMOD, who emphasized the need for adaptation and resilience building in the face of climate change impacts in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region. Ms. Purnima Shrestha, a renowned mountaineer who has scaled 7 of the world’s 14 eight-thousanders, provided a mountaineer’s perspective on the current climate change context in the Himalayas. The closing keynote speeches were given by Dr. Erik Huizer, CEO of GÉANT, the pan-European data network for the research and education community and by Dr. Franz A. de Leon, Director of Advanced Science and Technology Institute. Dr. Huizer placed emphasis on fostering community spirit, promoting service, and encouraging innovation in the global research and education network communities. He stressed the importance of adhering to the principles of doing good, doing right, and doing better. On the other hand, Dr. de Leon’s keynote focused on utilizing science, technology, and innovation to strengthen the Philippines’ ability to withstand the effects of climate change.
Over the course of five days, a total of 79 sessions were conducted, covering a wide range of topics from different working groups such as Cloud, Medical, IoT, Network Security, Disaster Mitigation, AI-driven Networks, Identity and Access Management, etc. Additionally, there were several important training and sharing sessions, such as RPKI and MANRS, information centric networking, joining eduGAIN, network engineering workshop, NREN’s activities during the Pandemic, HPC in Asia Pacific, etc., which provided valuable insights and updates to the participants.
The APAN55 conference marked a momentous success after a few years of hiatus in physical meetings. As the local host, the NREN evaluated that the event rekindled the energy within the APAN communities and unveiled diverse opportunities for future activities and collaborations. The meeting not only tracked the current progress of various working groups but also fostered lively discussions on emerging technologies. Importantly, the APAN55 meeting largely supported the visibility of NREN and its efforts in promoting research and education activities in the country. Notable local attendees included high-level representation from the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Nepal Telecommunication Authority, Nepal Telecom, Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, and leaders from various universities.
The success of the event is owed to the valuable support of over 25 organizations, both directly and indirectly involved. The generous contributions of our sponsors played a pivotal role, with Ruijie Networks serving as the Platinum Sponsor, and Asi@Connect and Nepal Telecom as Gold Sponsors. We are also grateful to eHualu, APNIC, and the Internet Society for their support as Silver Sponsors, and to WorldLink and Subisu Cablenet for serving as Internet Partners. Thank you to all for making the event a great success!