History repeats: Through Digital Routes

Luis de Castro - a new Vasco da Gama

When Luís Afonso de Castro met me in Geneva, at International Trade Union's cafeteria and requested a copy of my powerpoint presentation that I had just delivered in World Summit on Information Society, I thought it is just one of those mundane requests from the young enthusiast. 

This one turned out to be different Luis had tracked me by wading through the crowd after my presentation in the conference hall and spotted me in the cafeteria where I had scheduled another meeting. He quietly waited in the side-lines and approached me when I finished the meeting. "Sir, your presentation on Smart Campus Cloud Network (SCCN) was like thunder and lightning for me", he said. Then he introduced himself, "My name is Luis from Lisbon's NOVA University in Portugal". His Portuguese accent in English delivery was undeniable. "It is what exactly needed in my university in Portugal', he added.

We had brief discussion on SCCN. Then he got lost in the conference crowd, but not his determination to implement SCCN. He persisted over WhatsApp, Emails and phone calls after the conference, when I was back in India and even when I was travelling around the world.

NOVA University Lisbon is the 15th best in Europe and is among the 50 best universities in the world as per THE ranking. With 20,000 students and nine departments including Science, Engineering, Business management and Information Technologies. It is the youngest of the three state universities in Portugal. 42 research and development units are the hallmark of NOVA (which in English means 'New').

Luis is the product of NOVA and is now Digital Consultant. He held meetings with NOVA faculty and managers when he went back to Lisbon, gave my updated presentation to the faculty and students that he translated in Portuguese (Click here for the translated SCCN Presentation). He skilfully linked SCCN with ongoing UNESCO-supported Cooperation Programme in Europe for Research on Nature and Industry through Coordinated University Studies that promotes sustainable best practices.

He is also planning to integrate SCCN with small-scale projects on environment and smart meters for transportation usage in the campus.

From year 1498, when Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese explorer reached India, spice routes for which he had access boosted Portuguese economy. Now Luis Afonso de Castro is attempting to open digital routes through his access to SCCN to boost youth's energy in Portugal. History repeats, albeit through different Oceans !!

Rajendra Shende,

Chairman TERRE

Former Director UNEP

SIIB Director, Dr. Asmita Chitnis


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