ICASIT Receives Another Mellon Grant

Posted: September 20, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Elena Barbre

The International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology (ICASIT) has done it again. The center’s latest grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, for $600,000 over the next three and a half years, brings ICASIT’s total funding from the foundation to more than $2.6 million, according to Stephen Ruth, director of the center and a professor in the School of Public Policy.

With this grant, ICASIT adds five new countries–Jordan, Vietnam, Guatemala, Cuba, and Ethiopia–to its roster of more than 20 developing nations across the world that benefit from its international connectivity projects. The new funding extends ICASIT’s efforts to spread Internet connectivity to organizations that are central to the Mellon Foundation’s programs in population and forced migration. Other Mellon-funded efforts include solution-based studies of Internet linkages for technology centers in developing nations; return-on-investment studies of university-based distance learning; and international connectivity studies and implementation for centers in Africa, South America, and Asia.

“The human and technology-related variables surrounding Internet deployment in developing nations are a rich source of research opportunities,” says Ruth. A study ICASIT recently completed in Romania showed significant differences in outcomes, differentiated by gender, academic orientation, age, and other variables. A similar study is underway in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Kampala, Uganda. “This is vital information in planning for the diffusion of Internet technology in a developing nation,” says Ruth.

ICASIT’s contributions have not gone unnoticed. Earlier this year the Center for Forced Migration Studies, an African organization supported by Oxford University, named ICASIT assistance as the most important factor in the improvement of its ability to do refugee studies. “Several members of the UNESCO Forced Migration Network have benefited from Stephen Ruth’s help with electronic connectivity,” says David Turton, director of the center. “The centers in question have clearly gained enormously from this help–in fact, I would say that it’s probably the best thing that has happened to them…since this network was formed!”

“Our mission is to deliver the power of the Internet to businesses, underserved markets, and countries of the developing world,” says Ruth. “ICASIT helps organizations worldwide leverage their investments in information technology by proposing and delivering specific projects on everything from connectivity in developing countries to teaching organizations knowledge management processes.”

Write to at