Tech Evangelist

Bevil Wooding has long facilitated seminars and workshops on e-government, ICTs and national development in the US, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. More recently, working with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, he has been one of the architects behind the Caribbean ICT Roadshow, a regional initiative now internationally recognized as a model for promoting innovation in the use of ICT at every level of society. Evidently, Wooding’s work in promoting Internet Governance globally and the use of ICTs as a tool for regional development is causing the world to take notice.
For those who have worked with Wooding, his appointment was no surprise. Richard Jimmerson, Chief Information Officer, American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), said of Wooding, “I’ve worked with him on various efforts over the last several years and have always been impressed with his dedication to building Internet infrastructure and the Internet community. In its search for trusted community representatives, ICANN has certainly found the right man.”
Wooding takes the responsibility in stride, stating that the security of the Internet is essential to its role as a major development platform not just for governments and businesses but for social transformation.
“Business innovation, Government service delivery, national and regional competitiveness, social empowerment and human development are all now inextricably linked to the Internet and access to Internet-based technology and systems. The role and selection of the Trusted Community Representatives was conceived with principle squarely in mind,” he said.
The Internet disaster preparedness plan was drawn up by ICANN, a not-for-profit organization based in the US with a mandate to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. Shernon Osepa, Manager of Regional Relations (Caribbean) at ICANN, stated, “Mr. Wooding’s appointment as a Trusted Community Representative is fitting recognition for his substantial contribution and proof that hard work and dedication has reward. Not only has Mr. Wooding been involved in Internet Governance in the Caribbean since its inception, but his remarkable foresight into general ICTs issues puts him amongst the top regional visionaries I have met.”
Wooding effectively represents the Caribbean and Latin America in this elite, global chain of trust. Upon news of Wooding’s appointment, Sebastian Bellagamba, Regional Bureau Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean at The Internet Society (a non-profit based in Geneva, Switzerland that provides leadership in addressing issues that confront the future of the Internet), said, “Mr Wooding is not only one of the leading Technology speakers to emerge from the region; he is an accomplished practitioner. From his work on promoting Internet Exchange Points and mobilizing the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) to building innovative solutions relevant to the needs of developing countries, he is respected as a man who practises what he preaches. His vision for and passion for leveraging ICTs for Caribbean development are nothing short of inspirational.”
Wooding was the lone representative from the Caribbean to participate in the landmark Internet event. Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), said of Wooding, “His technical expertise, international experience and his clear commitment to regional development make him a unique and invaluable Caribbean resource.”
Wooding, a man of many hats, serves as an Internet Strategist for Packet Clearing House (PCH), a US-based not-for-profit research organization that works to support critical Internet infrastructure for Governments, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), policy-makers, and research communities regionally and internationally. Wooding has been raising awareness in the region of the necessity of facilities and policies to support the growth of the “internet economy” in the Caribbean. His work on promoting Internet Exchange Points (IXP) has taken him to Washington D.C. where he presented to an audience of Caribbean Government Ministers and Permanent Secretaries on the subject. His keynote address there has prompted Governments across the region to take action to support the development of domestic internet content by pushing for IXPs in their countries. An IXP is a physical infrastructure through which Internet service providers (ISPs) exchange Internet traffic between their networks at no cost.
“St Vincent must not be left behind in the digital age,” said Dr Jerrol Thompson, Minister of Telecommunications, Science, Technology and Industry of St Vincent and the Grenadines, addressing the importance of establishing a domestic IXP. Minister Thompson was speaking at the opening of a CTU Symposium last August. He acknowledged that a local IXP is an essential prerequisite for the development of a robust, Internet-based domestic economy and for the delivery of new, citizen-centric Government services.
In St Kitts and Nevis, Glen Phillip, Government Minister with responsibility for Information Technology, reiterated his government’s commitment to supporting the establishment of an IXP in St Kitts as a national development priority. He acknowledged that establishing a domestic IXP could bring tremendous benefit to the Federation, and it must therefore be a top priority if the country’s technology-based development agenda is to be fully realised.
“Countries all across the world have realised and exploited the benefits of IXPs,” said Mrs. Allison Jean, St Lucia’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications, Works, Transport and Public Utilities. Jean declared her government’s intention to facilitate the establishment of an Internet Exchange Point (IXP). She noted that IXPs were conspicuously absent, not just in St Lucia but in the wider English-speaking Caribbean.
“Across the world, people are realising that taking advantage of the Internet and internet-based technologies is not primarily a technology issue; it is a human development issue,” Wooding said. “Technology is supposed to facilitate development. This means the appropriation of technology must ideally be guided by clear leadership and shaped by articulated vision. This is true whether you running a Government, managing a business or at a personal level, inside of your home.”
For years, Wooding has been serving as a de facto Technology Evangelist for the Caribbean by bringing international attention to ICT issues relevant to the region. But as Chief Knowledge Officer at Trinidad-based non-profit, Congress WBN (C-WBN), Wooding’s reach extends far beyond the Caribbean basin. C-WBN is focused on value-based leadership development initiatives, and its operations include networks of professional groups, educational institutions, businesses, churches, individual national leaders and university students in over 95 countries.
Commenting on his work through Congress WBN, the CTU and PCH to promote the development and adoption of the internet in the region, Wooding said, “Our countries should in no way be deprived of the full benefits the Internet can bring. Governments and private and civil society groups must continue to work together to realise this goal of transforming the region from being a net technology-consumer to a net technology-producer. This is vital if we are to preserve our Caribbean identity and if we are to ensure that our children and are not denied the opportunity to be equal participants in the global Internet. I take this responsibility seriously and will continue to bring awareness to both the issues and the opportunities we face in our journey toward a better Caribbean society.”

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