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Background Information
The End of Geography As We Know It
        “As we look at the challenges of poverty, it’s clear that money alone is not what is needed. We need colleagues who can learn and share experiences with each other. Distance learning is the tool that will enable this and benefit us all.”
                ---- James D.Wolfensohn, Former President of the World Bank
        In the beginning there was a vision: that decision makers in developing countries would have the same technologies for communication and connections at their fingertips as the titans who run the largest companies in the richest countries of the world.
        It was a vision that looked at sophisticated tools, such as interactive videoconferencing, advanced Internet resources, and the use of the World Wide Web as a virtual meeting room, and at technologies to support connectivity for those tools, ranging from fiber optic to satellite networks.
        It was also a vision that was challenged with limitation in the infrastructure of many countries in the developing world: access to electricity, connectivity permits, availability of advanced technology, and appropriate maintenance services.
        The man who had this vision, and who began to fight for it, is James.D.Wolfensohn, then president of the World Bank. Wolfensohn was inspired by the Bank’s early success in linking its own staff in often remote parts of the world through an advanced satellite communications network. He wanted to make sure that such tools and technologies would be available to the Bank’s counterparts as well, to those who influence, make, and implement decisions and who must choose right path for the future of countries in which poverty and hunger cry out for fast and lasting change. He wanted to end the barriers of “geography as we know it,” as he used to point out to other development agencies and partners who struggled with the physical distance that often make development work so difficult.
        Quickly it became clear that those tools and technologies would become affordable more rapidly if they were used in the wider context of development. They would become available to a variety of agencies and organizations, ranging from ministries to development consulting firms, whose daily jobs are to find the right solutions.
        The idea of the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) was born.

GDLN
         The Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) is a worldwide partnership of learning centers (GDLN Affiliates) that use technologies and distance learning techniques innovatively to connect organizations and people working in development around the world.
         GDLN was launched by the World Bank in June 2000 and has grown from 11 affiliated learning centers to more than 110。Its main objective is to carry out flexible distance education through Distance Learning Centers (DLC) and to build learning and
        Development communities to facilitate resource sharing and accelerate the process of poverty reduction through cooperation with government agencies, enterprises, NGOs and research facilities around the globe using various advanced distance education means and approaches.
       GDLN is constantly expanding its function and diversifying its service scope, which include:
       • Videoconferencing-based dialogue, distance training and forum;
       • Web-based E-learning;
       • Mixed training services, i.e. face-to-face learning combined with multiple teaching formats such as videoconferencing, E-learning, video tape, CD, etc.
       Typical clients of GDLN include academic institutions holding short course s through GDLN, development agencies seeking dialogue with key partners across the globe, government agencies seeking to coordinate with partners on trade issues, and NGOs Planning major point initiatives with partners.
       Today, the World Bank continues to support the Network. GDLN team in the Bank’s regional departments works with Affiliates and partners in their respective regions. The Bank’s Information Solution Group (ISG) provides the technology backbone for setting up video conferences and facilitates access to connectivity providers for those Affiliates that would otherwise not have the necessary services.
       GDLN’s anchor unit, housed in the World Bank Institute (WBI), coordinates strategy and business policies and offers logistical assistance and systems for setting up GDLN events.
       GDLN has grown tremendously over the last 5 years. It has evolved from a distance learning tools to a global partnership of learning centers. GDLN means:
       Continuity- keeping our partners involved;
       Connectivity – crossing borders of countries and continents; and
       Reach –reaching more and more of the right ones.”
       ---- Frannie Leautier, Former Vice President of the World Bank Institute
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