Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Day 3

Day 3

Today was a long and interesting day. We went to Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology (GIKI) in Topi in the North West Frontier Provinces about 100 kilometers from Islamabad. This gave me a chance to see a bit of the Pakistan countryside. Part of the way the roads were excellent (high speed motorway). But, for at least half the journey we traveled over narrow roads, sometimes bottoming out our car (wrong choice of vehicle).

Even a short distance out of Islamabad, there is a significant change in the country. Fewer cars, more things being transported via horse and donkey carts. Goats and cattle (big water buffalo, not little baby cows) graze near the road and sometimes on it. Almost all women are covered, so much so that it becomes not unusual to see. People are moving about, dong their business. But, it is a developing country business…lots of physical labor, many people walking. In some places the road narrowed to a single lane occupied by carts, people and goats. You just wait your turn to go forward. I was a little nervous, but people were very friendly (even when we got lost…sigh…)

The visit to GIKI was excellent. I believe they will be very receptive to our new network connection. But, they are quite separated from central Pakistan (the entire university is self-contained). This was a good visit.

We next visited the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) back in Islamabad. It was on the way from GIKI to NUST that we got lost in the North West Frontier area…

NUST will be a huge university complex in Islamabad. Pakistan is combining several separate organizations. The campus itself will be about the size of IUB. But, it is all being constructed now…a pretty amazing (and expensive) undertaking. The NUST faculty have a number of collaborations with US investigators and a quite knowledgeable and receptive.

The last stop of a long day was the Shifa International Medical College. This is a medical school associated with a large hospital in downtown Islamabad. They were less certain how this new network connection would benefit them. My lack of medical research knowledge made our discussions difficult. I will talk with my NIH contact when I return to the US.

That was it….long day….I am tired….

Plans for Day 4

Wednesday is the day of the big kickoff event. It will be broadcast via VC in Pakistan and hopefully, Steve Egyhazi will be able to capture the first part of the ceremony (speeches and dedication and such) and create a web/podcast file at UITS.

After the morning speeches, the workshop in the afternoon will have 2 parts….Part #1 – a simple explanation of the network connection intended for the non-engineering attendees. Then we will have lunch. Then Part #2 will be more detailed and interactive for universities and research groups who might make immediate use of the connection (the more clueful…) I have my remarks prepared for both sessions and it should be pretty straight forward.

No comments: