The Ethiopian computer network, popularly known as, Cleo, is now almost 3 years old and has, in this short time, made dramatic and far- reaching influence the way the Ethiopian "virtual" community interacts with each other and the way this rather small community contributes positively and constructively to the wider Ethiopian community residing at Home and abroad. As the 20th century winds down, the high-paced and increasingly revolutionary global information technology has presented the developing countries a new opportunity to narrow the immense social, economic and technological disparity that exist between them and developed nations.
The Ethiopian "virtual" community both at home and abroad finds itself in the unique and remarkable key position of as a possible and, perhaps, the only "gateway" to the information age the more than 50 million citizenry of Ethiopia currently has. While the "ground-truth" and practical considerations will always put constraints to what this "virtual community" can achieve as a collective group, the potentials for making modest but far-reaching and long-lasting contributions to the wider Ethiopian citizenry in the areas of education, research, language, culture and new ventures in information technology are immense.
With this vision in mind, the Ethiopian Computing & Information Technology Association (EthCITA), a professional organization that has been coordinating the effort of networking among Ethiopians for the past three years in different forms, is currently working on setting up short and long-term strategies for providing some type of guidance and leadership to this "virtual community" to help it in getting involved in projects that target the technological needs of the community in the particular areas of Ethiopics software development and electronic networking.
This pilot e-mail conference is one such step which provides a platform for peer-review and discussion for Ethiopian experts who are actively involved in the electronic networking and Ethiopics software areas. This e-mail conference summarizes the thoughtful insights and visions of Ethiopian networking champions and Ethiopic software developers. Even though bringing together such an immense pool of trained manpower on-line is, by itself, an unqualified success, its long- lasting success will be measured by the follow-up discussions and possible joint projects the conference gives rise to. The EthCITA conference was made possible by the vision, enthusiasm and cooperation of a lot of Ethiopians. The authors of the papers presented deserve a special recognition for the valuable times they spent and their desire to share their pool of knowledge with their compatriots. The "virtual" Key- note speaker for the conference is Ato Terrefe Ras-work of the International Telecommunication Union based in Geneva, an Ethiopian with an impressive record of years of service to his people and country in the areas of telecommunication. The Editorial Board is indebted for his acceptance to be the key-note speaker in a such a short notice.
The EthCITA E-Mail Conference Editorial Board
In connection with the conference, the Board would like to bring to the kind notice of the Cleo community the following points:
1. The proceedings of the conference are copyright protected like any academic work. No part of the conference proceedings may be reproduced and transmitted by any mechanical or electronic process in the form of hard-copy text, E-Mail or any other form for public use without the written permission from the Editorial Board. The works presented in the conference papers may be quoted following the standard practice in academia.
2. The proceedings to be posted each day constitute an average file size of 20-40 KB of data collectively. Please make sure that your systems can handle such size of large files. The papers have been formatted to 72 columns to enable users of VT100 terminals receive the papers intact. In the event, all or some part of the daily conference proceedings are missing, please contact the Editorial Board.
3. Discussions in the form of questions, feedback, etc. should wait until the completion of the conference by Thursday November 3, 1994. The Editorial Board recommends that most discussions be on-line for the general public. However, if authors and interested parties prefer off-line discussion, the Board still recommends that some kind of summary of fruitful discussions be posted on Cleo.
The Editorial Board
Introduction to the Conference Key-Note Speaker, Ato Terrefe Ras-Work
The Editorial Board of the First EthCITA E-mail Conference had unanimously selected Ato Terrefe Ras-Work to be its "virtual" guest-of-honor and key-note speaker in recognition of his years of outstanding contribution to the people and culture of Ethiopia in the fields of telecommunication.
Ato Terrefe Ras-Work studied at the University College of Addis Ababa and subsequently at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute (Troy, New York) obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. Ato Terrefe first worked at the Imperial Board of Telecommunications of Ethiopia as a Transmission Engineer. He then joined the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Geneva and initially served as Africa Division Head of Technical Cooperation. He currently holds the position of Director of External Relations of the ITU.
Ato Terrefe invented the Ethiopian Telex keyboard, developed new Amharic teaching methods (HaHu Bekelalu) and recently produced the bilingual telex terminal keyboard.