This is a very moving story because it reflects the feelings of people that, although far from their homeland, they take in their mind and heart a big affection for the country that they left behind. The reasons for that emigration are varied, the reason for the creation of QUIPUNET is only one: Love for Peru!
On the Internet, there are what is commonly called discussion lists. These "Lists" are like clubs where people share common interests. The Peru List: is frequented by Peruvians, almost all living away from Peru, with residences in places like Australia, Taiwan, Japan, Brazil, and many other countries. In this list, messages of all subjects are common, such as "I need to know the cheapest fare to go to Lima”, “How do I make Arroz con Leche (rice pudding)", and even criticisms of the government, criticisms of religion and criticisms of those who criticize. We also have serious debates and discussions. It was in such a debate: "The Essence of being a Peruvian", started by Jorge Osterling, where the idea of QUIPUNET was born.
Jorge put forth two questions:
- To define what is the Essence of being a Peruvian
- How would one unify Peru, keeping in mind the diversity that we have in races, topographical areas, languages, customs, etc.
The first question had many different answers, but it was the second one that generated more interest when they began to answer that Education would be the form to unify and to create a better Peru. It was in this debate that the idea of Education at Distance, was born, and when call for volunteers went out, a rash of messages with "count with me" began and continued growing day by day. When more than 70 volunteers had answered, we understood that we had to become organized in more formal way. A committee of 6 people was formed: Alberto Delgado Japan, Herbert Luna Brazil, Fernando Hermoza in Peru, Ricardo Corzo in Virginia, Felipe Polo Wood in North Carolina, and Martha Davies in Washington State. Six people who hardly knew each other, with a task of organizing this group in a virtual environment.
The first few days, we all had excuses; Independence Day, trips, weekends, etc. Nobody wanted to be the first one in taking the initial step. I believe that we all wondered, "What do we do now? Even today, I don't know who began first, but once we started, there was no stopping us. 186 messages later, 6 complete corrections, and the draft of the Statutes, the Plan of Action, the Chronogram and even the Inscription form was finished! All this in 3 weeks! It was an experience that we will never forget! And so much so, even those that had experience in the Internet, the neophytes such as me, we were amazed in seeing these documents coming together line by line, day by day. The most remarkable in this experience, is that there was never a fight for power, nor resentments. We all accepted the corrections, suggestions, etc. only wanting to do the best for this nascent Organization.
The "draft" was presented to the rest of the volunteers who now surpassed 90. There were corrections, and although we all knew that the Statutes were not perfect, we decided to continue. The elections were another aspect that showed us what one could accomplish in this virtual environment. And so, QUIPUNET, was born, on October of 1995, as a virtual Organization, with Statutes, Plan of Action, etc. and a Board of Directors made up of the 6 members that had participated in the creation of organization, plus two new Directors: Luis Lira in Peru, and Arthur Hervias in New York.
San Francisco State University, which was hosting the Peru List, was asked to provide a separate list for QUIPUNET. They gave not only gave us the List, but also a Domain and server space for web pages. Massachusetts Institute of Technology also gave us a List firstname.lastname@example.org, which became our work list.
Georgia State University had also given us a list, in which our "Brigade of Technical Aids", formed by highly qualified members in technical computation used as their working list.
QUIPUNET offers: Education, Information and Assistance. The way that has been adopted for working is the following:
- Forming Work Groups for any project and that must be presented through an application to the Board of Directors for their approval.
- The Work Group can have a single person or an unlimited number of members.
- The duration of the work of the Work Group is up to the one who formed the group.
None of this would have been possible without the power of telecommunication. The desires to help have existed from before, but if one took the time to think about the time, effort and money it would take to organize something similar at a world level, it is not impossible, but yes, very difficult. We admire, and we congratulate the Organizations that made it under those conditions. And we offer our help and efforts so that together with others; we can double the results that help that Homeland that needs us.
Presented by Martha Davies, August 1996