Lifetime Achievement Award 2012

Celebrating its 10th Anniversary, LACNIC Highlights the Careers of 10 Internet Leaders

LACNIC announces the launch of the 2012 edition of the Lifetime Achievement Award, the purpose of which is to recognize those individuals that have contributed to the permanent development of the Internet and the Information Society in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Since 2009, this honor is presented each year to members of the Internet community of the LACNIC service region who have consistently produced relevant contributions in benefit of the development of the Internet and the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean.

As part of LACNIC's mission to promote and articulate collaborative efforts within the region and in support of LACNIC's commitment to the constant development of the Internet and the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Board of Directors believes that it is important to honor those individuals who have long devoted their efforts to the consecution of these objectives, for their concrete achievements and for the example they set for the rest of the community.

In the year of its tenth anniversary, LACNIC decided to present a 10th Anniversary edition of the Life Achievement Award, which will recognize ten personalities from around the region.

This year's honorees are:

Marcos Galperín: (Argentina, Private Sector)

Founder and CEO of Mercado Libre.

Mercado Libre has changed the lives of many people in the region and their way of doing business. Galperín's initiative has had a huge impact in Latin America.

Immersed in the culture of Silicon Valley, Marcos founded an eBay-style website in Argentina. was launched in May 1999 (NASDAQ: MELI), emphasizing local content and regional best practices to outperform its nine rivals in the market.

Today, Mercado Libre is the leading online marketplace for Spanish speakers. While most of its competitors have gone out of business, Mercado Libre continues to thrive. The company expanded to 9 countries in the Americas and Europe and, in 2002, eBay bought a stake in the company, making Mercado Libre its official partner in Latin America. In the summer of 2007, the company went public on the NASDAQ with a US$400m IPO, Endeavor's first US IPO.

In 2011, Mercado Libre's market cap reached US$3 billion. The site has over 50 million registered users.

Luis Furlán: (Guatemala, Academia).

A Guatemalan electrical engineer, in 1992 Luis Furlán introduced the Internet to his country and is thus regarded in Guatemalan media as the "Father of the Internet in Guatemala". He is the Director of Guatemala's ccTLD, .gt, at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. He has been a professor of Computer Science since 1970, and has been working as the director of the University's management of .gt since 1992. He is the chair of the University's Computer Science Department and the Director for its Center of Interactive Technologies. He is also a member of ISOC, IEEE, and LACTLD.

Prof. Furlán was elected as the president of CLARA, the advanced network for Latin America, in August 2010. Throughout his career he has received many honors:

  • Inductee, the Academy of Medical, Physical and Natural Sciences of Guatemala, 2010.
  • Nominee, The Guatemalan Congressional Medal of Science and Technology, 1999.
  • Declared Outstanding Pioneer in Guatemalan Computing, 1995.
  • LASPAU scholar 1966-1970 and 1973-1975

José Soriano: (Peru, Technical Community).

Internet pioneer in Peru, José was general Manager of .PE (the Peruvian ccTLD) for 10 years at Red Cientifica Peruana. Before that, he directed Redalc. In addition to his work in Peru, José was very active in building the regional community. He was, among others, involved in the creation of the Latin American Networks Forum in the early 90s.

José was also the main promoter of the concept of "public cabins" for shared Internet access. This concept later evolved into telecenters.

Since 2000 he worked as National Coordinator of the Mercosur Digital Project - UE-Mercosur Cooperation (government liaison, multilateral negotiations) in Argentina, and provided consultancy services at the Argentinean National Office of Information Technology (ONTI), at EGOV PNUD, EGOV IADB, EGOV UNESCO, LACNIC and FRIDA. 

Ben Petrazzini: (Argentina, Academia and International Organization)

Ben is Senior Program Specialist for Supporting Inclusive Growth at the IDRC. He is an experienced researcher who has focused on how information and communication technologies can improve the lives of Latin America's poor – from strengthening citizen participation to enhancing access to education, health services, and jobs.

From his position at the IDRC, Ben has been a low profile promoter of many ICT and Internet development initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean. He has supported projects in many different fields such as the creation of communities, education, access, research, creation of indicators, etc. He has supported and led projects throughout the region and has created partnerships with all the main organizations in the region.

Before joining the IDRC in 2002, Petrazzini worked with the United Nations as advisor to its ICT agency, the International Telecommunication Union. He has also taught at the Business School of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, served as an advisor to Argentina's National Congress, and taught at the National University of Buenos Aires. As a consultant, he has been a resource to government and private enterprises on ICT matters, and he has published extensively on the subject.

Petrazzini holds a PhD in communications from the University of California, San Diego (USA).

Loretta Simon: (Grenada, Government)

Loretta Simon is the ICT Director for the Government of Grenada with a specific mandate to lead Grenada into becoming a full knowledge society; develop and guide the implementation of the E-Government strategy; align the Government's ICT Strategy to the changing needs of the Government and citizens of Grenada; and secure Grenada's linkage to and participation in regional and international ICT fora. A veteran ICT practitioner with over three decades of experience, Loretta also plays a significant role in technology education development at home and in the region. As Grenada's first Computer Science lecturer, she has been responsible for training in IT at the secondary and tertiary level. She now serves on the Caribbean Examinations Council's Panel on Information Technology and is also responsible for facilitating programs and workshops in digital content creation through special ICT training centers set up throughout the country. She is also a regional e-Tutor/regional course coordinator with the University of the West Indies Open Campus initiative and has served as an OAS consultant on the integration of ICT in the Secondary Schools Curriculum.

Bernadette Lewis: (Trinidad and Tobago, International Organization)

Bernadette Lewis is the Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union since August 2003, a Caribbean intergovernmental organization dedicated to facilitating the development of the regional telecommunications sector. She has accomplished her mission for the organization, which is to ensure that the citizens of the region have affordable access to, and are able to derive tangible benefit from the effective use of information and communication technologies.

Bernadette has had a career in Telecommunications for more than twenty years. She acquired her technical skills working at engineering and managerial levels with the national service provider, Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd.

Ms. Lewis holds a BSc from the University of the West Indies and a Masters Degree from Ashton University in the United Kingdom.

In 2000, with her appointment as the technical Manager for the Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organizations (CANTO), her activities extended to regional information and communication issues.

Anthony Harris (Argentina, Private Sector)

Anthony has been Executive Director of the Argentine Internet Chamber (CABASE) since 1998, a year that had great impact on the future of Internet organizations. He was part of the IFWP global task force (International Forum on White Paper) which was created to outline the organization that would be responsible for critical Internet resources (and which ultimately resulted in the creation of ICANN).

In 1999, this process also resulted in the founding of the Latin American and Caribbean Federation for Internet and Electronic Commerce, eCOM-LAC (Uruguay), an organization in which Anthony has served as Executive Director. In his double role, he was also active in the process of ICANN's recognition of LACNIC.

Anthony is currently a designated member od the ICANN Standing Panel of Experts, Vice-Chair of the ISPCP (Internet Service Providers and Connectivity Providers Constituency), and also a member of the Executive Committee of the Commercial Stakeholders Group, which coordinates the private sector's activities in ICANN.

Valeria Betancourt (Ecuador, Civil Society)

Valeria is a sociologist and political scientist, an activist in the field of ICTs for development and social justice. For the last seven years she has worked on supporting civil society organizations in the strategic use of ICTs and facilitating their involvement in ICT policy processes at national, regional and global level.

She participated in the WSIS process, both during the first and the second phase, facilitating the relationships and articulation of civil society organizations in Latin America and lobbying for the inclusion of their views and priority issues in the Summit's documents and official results.

She has been Project Coordinator for the Latin American ICT Policy Monitor (Association for Progressive Communications, APC), and specializes in studies for development, ICT Policies, and Information and Communication Technologies in the context of developing countries. She is currently serving as Director of APC's global policy program.

Demi Getschko (Brasil, Technical Community)

Demi is director-president at the Brazilian Network Information Center (

He holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from the Polytechnic School of the USP (1975), as well as a Masters degree (1980) and a PhD in Engineering (1989) from the same institution. He was part of the team responsible for the first Brazilian TCP/IP connection, in 1991, between FAPESP and the Energy Sciences Network (ESNet) in the United States, through Fermilab (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory). For this reason, he is considered one of the fathers of the Internet in Brazil.

He served as Director of Technology at Agência Estado, a company that is part of Grupo Estado, for two periods: from 1996 to 2000 and from 2002 to 2005. He also served as Vice-President of Technology at iG from 2000 to 2001.

In addition, he has taught at the Polytechnic School of the USP and is currently Associate Professor at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, where he teaches Computer Architecture and coordinates the Layer 2 Laboratory of the KyaTera Project. Until May 2009, Demi served as a member of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Board representing the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO), elected for the 2005-2007 and 2007-2009 periods.

He has been an Advisor to the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee ( since 1995 and Director-President of the Brazilian Network Information Center ( since 2006. In October 2010, he was appointed member of the Telebras Board of Directors.

Edmundo Vitale (Venezuela, Technical Community)

Edmundo holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from the Universidad de los Andes, Venezuela (1972), and an MSc from Stanford University, California, USA (1974-1976). He was Guest Lecturer at the University of Florence, Institute of Electronics (Italy) in 1982 and 1989. Head Professor at the Universidad del Los Andes, Venezuela, where he retired after more than 32 years of teaching and research. He has been Coordinator of the RedULA University Network, Head of the Circuits Laboratory, Head of the Circuits and Measurements Department, and Director of the School of Engineering at the Universidad de Los Andes, Venezuela.

Founding Member of EsLARed (Fundación Escuela Latinoamericana de Redes) and General Coordinator of the Internet Workshop for Latin America and the Caribbean (WALC). Education Manager at the Venezuelan National Center for Information Technologies, 1998-2005. Member of the Commission on Information and Communication Technologies for Education at FONACIT, the National Fund for Science, Technology and Innovation of the Venezuelan Ministry of Science and Technology, 2003-2005. Member of ENRED, the Network Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean, since 1996. Member of the Board of Directors of REACCIUN, Venezuela's National Academic Network, 1997-1998. Member of the project evaluation committee for the FRIDA Program/LACNIC since 2006.

Coordinator of the RENA project, the national network of content for schools ( Coordinator of Formación en Línea, an on-line training project ( Coordinator of the National Education Portal project ( Coordinator of the program for the remote training of teachers ( Coordinator of the UNESCO-CISCO Computer Networks professorship at Universidad de Los Andes, since January 2004. Member of the Project Evaluation Committee for LACNIC's FRIDA Program since 2004. Member of the following associations and organizations: ISOC, CIV, AVIEM, IEEE.

Since June 2006, Edmundo is the Regional Manager of the Cisco Networking Academy network technology education program for Central America, the Andean Countries and the Caribbean (CANSAC).