Two decades ago, a group of professors from the Universidad de Los Andes in Merida, Venezuela, faced the challenge of developing in our university the technology of computer networks that were poised to have a major impact in many areas, particularly in education, research and human development.
We were convinced from the beginning that the main constraints faced were not about hardware, software, or economic limitations, but rather the lack of human resources with the knowledge necessary to implement these new technologies.
Therefor we began training a select group of students at our institution who showed great enthusiasm and dedication, but we soon realized that it was necessary to engage international experts if we wanted to advance towards our goals.
The issue was how to obtain the support of international experts without any budget?
The solution was a bold initiative to convene, in a provincial university, a "Latin American School of Networks" following the steps of the "First International School on Computer Networks Analysis and Management" held in 1990 at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy.
At the time, our only capital was a great enthusiasm and the certainty that other countries in the region also had the need to train staff in these areas. With these initial assets we obtained support from ICTP, the OAS, the authorities from our university, Fundacite-Mérida and private organizations. This support allowed us to assemble, in November 1992, a group of 14 international experts that shared their knowledge with 40 participants from 10 Latin American countries during 3 weeks of classroom and field training covering the state of the art of information and communication technologies.
The success of this activity paved the way to persevere in the task of spreading the technologies that, without a doubt, have had the greatest impact on the development of our countries. Moreover, the event promoted lively exchanges among people interested in the application of these technologies in their specific milieus.
The three-week format has been transformed into a one-week experience, but with several simultaneous workshops in which specific technologies are discussed in depth while preserving the theoretical-practical orientation.
2012 was the year of our 20th anniversary. It was particularly significant that for that opportunity we had the thriving Panama City as the venue for WALC 2012, a symbol of the meeting of Latin American countries.
And in 2020, already with twenty-eight years of tradition, we continue our task of research, dissemination and training in Latin America and the Caribbean.